A myriad of fresh produce, great tastes and world-class wineries set in the heart of some of Australia’s most majestic landscapes.
The sheer size of the Great Southern Wine Region, with its five sub-regions of Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup and Albany, means it is blessed with a variety of soil types and weather conditions. This results in distinct characteristics in many of the classic grape varieties.
The area’s diverse conditions – some parts have Mediterranean conditions while others enjoy a maritime climate – have resulted in the Great Southern producing a wide variety of wine styles with something for all tastes. In particular, shiraz and riesling have been standout varieties, while chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon also beginning to receive critical acclaim.
The region also has a strong commitment to fresh, delicious food – and it certainly shows when you visit any one of the fine restaurants and cafes in the city and surrounds. Visit the Albany Farmers Market on a Saturday morning to pick up seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh seafood, organic meats, bread as well as handmade cheeses and yoghurts. After stopping at the market, pack a picnic basket and embark on a journey to the region’s famous national parks. From the cliffs of Torndirrup National Park you can watch the Southern Ocean and maybe spot a seal or whale, or head up to the Stirling Range which has over 1500 species of flora with 87 endemic to the park.
The ancient Porongurup Range is known for its unusual rock formations and there are a number of bushwalking trails to enjoy. Near Denmark, William Bay offers spectacular views, and the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk in the tingle forest is a “must-do” while in the region.
Set among all this are the wonderful wineries, farm gates, cafes and restaurants. It seems the fresh produce and wines of the Great Southern were made to go together. The area is now recognised as among Australia’s best for riesling and is seen as major competition for South Australia’s renowned Clare Valley. The cooler climate is also conducive to the production of brilliant, fruit driven yet tight shiraz and most wineries in the region produce this extremely popular Australian variety. Shiraz devotees can expect a more elegant, leaner style than the mighty robust styles from Eastern Australia. The southern climate and terroir are also ideal for growing superb pinot noir. There are also great things happening with chardonnay, which here again is a leaner more delicate style than the more full bodied styles common throughout Australia.
Things to know about Great Southern
Encompassing the towns of Albany, Denmark, Frankland, Mount Barker and Porongurup the Great Southern Wine Region is the largest of the nine Western Australian wine regions. Boasting rugged coastlines, mountain ranges and many national parks, the region also produces some of the state’s most distinctive wines. An ideal holiday destination for animal lovers, you can whale watch in Albany, catch the seals at play in the Southern Ocean and observe the underwater wildlife while snorkelling or scuba diving.
Visit the local associations' websites:
Albany Visitor Centre - www.amazingalbany.com
Denmark Visitor Centre - www.denmark.com.au
Mount Barker Visitor Centre - www.mountbarkertourismwa.com.au
Great Southern Wine Producers' Association - www.greatsouthernwine.asn.au
Porongurup Promotions Association - www.porongurup.com