Brought to you by Tourism Western Australia.
The unique terroir of Western Australia’s cool, coastal southwest region provides the perfect footing for producing stellar wines, with French varietals such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and semillion leading the charge. Couple the gifts of nature with 180 years of winemaking expertise and it’s no wonder WA is turning out world-class drops. Want to delve deeper into the wonderful wine WA has to offer? Here are three places to start.
Age hasn’t wearied Swan Valley. In fact, being the state’s oldest wine region has brought wisdom to the green, hilly vale, 25 minutes north east of Perth. There are more than 40 boutique wineries to prove the point – ranging from the country’s second oldest established in 1830, Olive Farm Wines to the more contemporary cultivator such as Harris Organic Wines, which boasts the title of the valley’s only organic wine producer.
The 32-kilometre Swan Valley Food and Wine trail between these varied vintners is the best way to experience the region and stops include breweries, distilleries and cafés for a more full-bodied day among the vines. Keen to just hit the highlights? Sittella frequently scoops up awards from institutions such as the Australian/New Zealand Boutique Wine Awards and the Wine Wise Small Vigneron for their efforts; Tyler’s Vineyard is beloved for its production of 100-year-old non-irrigated Grenache and the friendly farmyard feel of Ugly Duckling is as relaxed as a Sunday afternoon at a cellar door can get.
Pastimes don’t come more inviting than pairing great wine with good food and the Southern Forests area serves up both in abundance. Bordeaux buffs will love Western Australia’s local answer, as pinot noir, Verdelho and sauvignon blanc flood wine listings. Perhaps the biggest treat is experiencing how well these blends match with other delicious produce such as Manjimup’s Superior Perigord Truffles or juicy marron, which are replete in the area’s waterways. Pemberton’s Bellarmine Wines, as well as the certified organic work from Mountford Wines (which also produces cider) and Manjimup’s passionate crew at Peos Estate should top your must-sip list.
Arguably the state’s most recognised wine region – it produces 20 per cent of the country’s premium wine – Margaret River meets its widespread reputation head on with its coastal backdrop and plentiful cabernet sauvignon- and chardonnay-producing vineyards. Just three and a half hours south of Perth, there are over 150 wineries to drop into: on your route, be sure to loop in the biodynamic dynamos of Cullen Wines or McHenry Hohnen, five-star Ashbrook Estate (thanks to James Halliday’s hat tip) and the natural farming-focused Si Vintners.