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Wine regions - Margaret River

Margaret River   Western Australia

Margaret River, with its stunning coastline and world-class wineries, is one of Australia's most inspiring wine regions. With its maritime influenced climate, Chardonnay along with red and white Bordeaux-style blends are particularly successful.

Margaret River is synonymous with a new era in Australian wine. As the region has come of age so too has Australia's world standing, exports and domestic consumption. The Margaret River wine story is one of longing, science, daring, creativity and style. The story began with Italian immigrant farmers, Albert Credaro, Jimmy Meleri and Domenic Garuccio planting vines to supply themselves and other Italian families with the table wine they so sorely missed in this the land of the 6 o'clock swill. They were successful.

Margaret River surf

Margaret River has some of the
best wave beaches in Australia

The work of the Italians was supported by science when in the 1960s agronomist Dr John Gladstones and viticulturalist Professor Harold Olmo recommended the region for viticulture citing its climate and soil as being comparable to that of Burgundy.

An indefatigable group of medicos and women acted upon Gladstones's advice and planted vines. Dr Tom Cullity established Vasse Felix, Di and Dr Kevin Cullen, Cullen Wines, Dr Bill and Sandra Parnell, Moss Wood and Drs Eithne and John Lagan, Chateau Xanadu. Ownership has changed hands but these early vineyards became the household names in the Margaret River stable.

As vineyards aged and more vineyards and wineries were established the region began to hone its reputation, winning medals and trophies for their creative blends and distinctive styles. The region has become famous for its fruity, dry whites, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The Shiraz came onto the world stage when Evans and Tate won the "best red in the world" at the 2000 London International Wine Challenge. In 2010 Fermoy Estate lit up the London stage with Gold for their 2009 Reserve Semillon.

The region runs along the coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin in the south. The Margaret River flows east to west through its centre and the Blackwood River flows southwest to Augusta. The region features a ridge running from cape to cape. The land is undulating with maximum elevation at 90m. The soils are gravelly sandy loams. The region is large and varied being divided into six sub-regions (unofficial). The bulk of the vineyards and wineries are in Wilyabrup sub-region near the coastline and south of the Margaret River in Wallcliffe sub-region. Other sun-regions are Yallingup in the north, Karridale in the south and Treeton and Carbunup in the north-west.

The climate is warm maritime with cooling breezes (and sometimes strong winds) off the Indian Ocean. Most rain falls in autumn and winter.

Leeuwin Estate

Leeuwin Estates continues to bring
the great and the good to perform


Wine tourism has also developed along with the wineries and its beginnings were really impressive. In 1985 Tricia and Denis Horgan decided to bring the international stage to Leeuwin Estate by inviting the London Philharmonic Orchestra to perform in the vineyard.. The rest is history; an annual concert that has seen such greats as Ray Charles and Shirley Bassey and recently the great British band Roxy Music. This of course sent news of this great wine region around Australia and around the world. What followed has been the development of a tremendous arts and cultural scene with both international and Australian artists regulary performing and exhibiting in the region. Vasse Felix houses the Holmes à Court art collection and the region has a thriving local arts scene.

There are numerous events at wineries and in the community throughout the region and the renowed Margaret River Wine Region Festival held every April.



Harvest time: February to mid April

Sites with more information: Photos courtesy Western Australia Tourism