Ranked among the world’s most famous wine regions, the Margaret River Wine Region produces 20% of Australia’s premium wines. The superior growing conditions in Australia's South West have a big part to play in this. The even temperatures throughout the ripening season and the many rain-free days during the growing months ensure consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour.
Dr John Gladstone first highlighted the region's suitability for wine producing in his report "The Climate and Soils of Southern WA in Relation to Vine Growing" released in 1967. Following his recommendation, the first significant vineyard was planted in 1967.
The Margaret River Wine Region is predominantly made up of small boutique wine producers, and even the cellar doors of larger wineries retain a friendly, intimate feel. The best way to determine flavour differences across the region is to visit the wineries and talk to the producers in person over a glass of wine.
From the aquamarine waters of Geographe Bay in the north, down the ancient cave-carved Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, through the picturesque vineyards and karri forests of the heartland, to the desolate beauty of Cape Leeuwin in the south, this is a place of splendid natural contrasts. Surrounded by water on three sides, the ocean forms the life rhythms of the land between the capes, its many moods governing everything from the lovely climate to the subtle nuances of another world-beating vintage.
While the backbone of the Margaret River Wine Region’s wine industry is its cabernet sauvignon, the area is also renowned for making some of the country’s best chardonnay. Other varieties that have attracted worldwide acclaim include semillon, sauvignon blanc, merlot and shiraz. Before setting out on a tasting trip, it is worth paying a visit to the Wine Tourism Showroom, located in the Margaret River Visitor Centre. Featuring sensory displays and fascinating wine making equipment, this centre is the perfect place to get a few tips from the locals..
Things to know about the Margaret River Wine Region
As well known for its exquisite wines and local delicacies as its world-class surfing conditions, Margaret River Wine Region has been a favourite with Western Australians for years. While surfers ride the waves of one of the many famous surf breaks, swimmers and snorkellers can enjoy the calm, clear waters of Geographe Bay. There are many caves to explore and the café strip in the town of Margaret River is a great place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Be sure to have dinner in one of the region’s award-winning restaurants and don’t end your trip without buying some of Margaret River’s famous chocolate and homemade fudge and nougat.
• The region’s climate is said to be similar to that of Burgundy, France.
• The first grape vines were planted in 1967.
• The first of the region’s wine varieties to win acclaim was cabernet sauvignon.
• Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin are the most northerly and southerly points of the Margaret River Wine Region and are linked by the 140km Cape to Cape Walk Track.
• Caves Road is one of Australia’s most scenic tourist drives and links a variety of wineries, galleries, coastal attractions to the north and south of the Margaret River Wine Region.
• It is at Surfers Point that the cream of the international surfing fraternity meets each year for the world series surfing competition the Margaret River Pro.
• Augusta is the most south westerly town of the Margaret River Wine Region and Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
• Yallingup is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of love’.
• Margaret River is in the top four most recognizable wine regions in the Australia.
• Geographe Bay in the north and Flinders Bay in the south have some of the most beautiful swimming beaches in Australia.
• The rugged west coast of the cape enjoys some of best and most consistent surf conditions anywhere in the world.
Visit the local associations' websites:
Augusta Visitor Centre - www.margaretriver.com
Busselton Visitor Centre - www.geographebay.com
Dunsborough Visitor Centre - www.geographebay.com
Margaret River Visitor Centre - www.margaretriver.com
Margaret River Wine Association - www.margaretriverwine.info
Margaret River Regional Producers' Association -www.margaretriverfarmersmarket.com.au