There are few more beautiful wine regions to visit anywhere in the world than Western Australia’s Margaret River. Located in coastal hills close to a line of pristine beaches, it is paradise for the wine traveller.
Experience fine wine and tastings at Leeuwin Estate
And the first local vignerons could hardly believe their luck. Here was not only a fantastic place to grow grapes, particularly cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, but also an idyllic location to live. In the early days its isolation bought few visitors, but over time the Margaret River has become a mecca for the wine traveller with tremendous wine, food and tourist attractions in equal proportions.
Whale watching, visiting art galleries, fine dining, surfing and bushwalking are just some of the experiences on offer in Margaret River, outside of wine tasting. However the genesis of Margaret River as a significant tourist destination came in 1961 when researcher Dr John Gladstones assessed the suitability of Western Australia for wine production, and found that the Margaret River showed many similarities with the famed French region of Bordeaux due to its warms, sunny days and cooling sea breezes. And it was not long before word got around, and a number of pioneering families planted vines in the area.
The real key to Margaret River’s success is its coastal location, which gives a high daily temperature range with hot days that inevitably cool with the afternoon seabreezes. It is not unusual to need a jumper at night in Margaret River, even at the height of summer, with cool nights giving freshness and finesse to Margaret River’s powerful fruit-filled wines.
Today the properties founded in those early days continue to be among the region’s best with Vasse Felix, Cullen and Moss Wood now joined by dozen of keen winemakers producing some of Australia’s finest wines.
Grape vines at Cullen Wines
And while dozens of grape varieties are now planted in the region, the original stars of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, semillon and sauvignon blanc continue to remain the cream of the crop.
And on top of tremendous wines Margaret River is also fashioning itself into a food capital with wineries such as Voyager and Leeuwin Estates bringing together high class wines, excellent foods and beautiful locations to create some of Margaret River’s most memorable experiences.
(Image credit: Tourism Western Australia)