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Wine regions - Pemberton

Pemberton Western Australia

Chardonnay is the most successful variety planted in the Pemberton region. However certain producers have recently demonstrated the heights that can be reached with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Watch this space!

Karri forest surrounding Lefroy Brook weir

Magestic Karri forest surrounding
Lefroy Brook Photo: Alex Bond

The Pemberton Wine Region lies just fifty kilometres inland from the rugged D'Entrecasteaux coast lending the region a warm maritime climate with the cooling influence generated by a gentle rise in elevation from the coast of between 100 and 200 metres. Rain, courtesy of the Southern Ocean falls mainly in winter.

Pemberton is one of Western Australia's youngest wine regions, gazetted in 2006. John Gladstones first recommended Pemberton as a potential wine grape area in 1977. Vineyards were established in the 1980s with another growth spurt occurred in the 1990s.

The Pemberton region was formerly devoted to dairy, hops and vegetables and most importantly timber, having been a major supplier of sleepers for the Trans-Australia Railway built in the early 1900s.

The vineyards are ringed by rivers and forests. Most of the vineyards lie between the Donnelly River in the north and the Warren River which runs through the region's centre. The South Western Highway marks its eastern border. Other beautiful waterways include Big Brook Dam, Lefroy Brook and Waterfall Dam with many smaller brooks and streams taking their own routes to the main rivers.

The region is commonly called 'Karri Country' after its magnificent Karri forests. Supporting these magnificent trees is karri loam a deep, red, fertile soil. The soil is too good resulting in the problem of excessive vigour in the vines which vignerons have had to overcome by stressing the plants using techniques such as lowering irrigation rates and hard pruning.

The breathtaking natural beauty of the Pemberton region and the invigorating climate has resulted in a lifestyle lived outdoors. The wineries have done much to foster this lifestyle with cellar doors, outdoor cafes, theatre in the vines, sailing and horse riding events.

Bellarmine Wines

'Bellarmine Yacht Club' - racing
before the vines. Photo: Alex Bond

Bellarmine Wines hosts an annual sailing event and Shakespeare in the Vines and Smithbrook established in 1988, hosts the annual Smithbrook Showjumping Derby, a major state event usually held in October.

You can traverse this region visiting cellar doors throughout. There are also fine cafés in beautiful settings at Hidden River Estate, Lost Lake, Silkwood Wines, Gloucester Ridge and The Wine & Truffle Co.

The region has a good range of accommodation facilities in towns and in the vineyards at Salitage Wines and the Warren Vineyard.

Its early days for the vineyards in determining which varieties will emerge as the imprematres of the region. To date Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Verdelho represent the white varieties and for the reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.

You can climb 80 metre high trees, eat freshwater Marron, visit the superb Beedelup, Gloucester, Warren and D'Entrecasteaux National Parks and drink the wines reflecting this truely unique part of Australia.

Big Brook Dam

Big Brook Dam exemplifies the relaxation to be
experienced on waters enveloped by forests. Photo: Alex Bond


Harvest time: late February to late April

Sites with more information:

Article photos courtesy Alex Bond

Read a review of Alex's book Pemberton Wine Region

Home page photo courtsey WA Tourism