Margaret River Wine Region

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This Australian wine region is in Western Australia, about 300 km south of Perth. It is justly famous for its Chardonnay and its Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you want to stick to the classical varieties you should try Brookland Valley Chardonnay, Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay, or the Cullen Madeline (A Cabernet based blend) all of which were rated first or equal in their classes in a recent James Halliday’s Wine Companion. These are all world class wines...and there are plenty more where they come from.

There is some debate among wine writers and critics about whether Margaret River will soon be ahead of Coonawarra as Australia’s Premier Wine Region. Some claim it already is.

But, as we shall see, there are other treasures in the region. There are over a dozen alternative varieties grown in the region. A couple, notably Verdelho and Chenin blanc, are old Western Australian favourites but there is plenty of experimentation going on.

Margaret River Wines

The wine region is relatively new, even by Australian standards. The first plantings took place in the 1960’s. Len Evans in his 1973 Australia and New Zealand Complete Book of Wine refers to trial plantings in the region and predicts
“It remains to be seen as to how successful these areas could become.”

We can safely say that the jury has decided in this case.

There are now over one hundred wineries in the region. The best are achieving world recognition for the quality their Chardonnays and Cabernets. About a third of the wineries are using alternative varieties.

The most popular alternative varieties are the old stalwarts of Western Australian white grapes - Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. These are used either blended or as straight varietals to make a range of wines which are typically crisp but full flavoured.

Among the alternative red wine varieties the best known thus far is the Zinfandel made by Cape Mentelle. However there is increasing interest in other varieties as seen in the list below.

Alternative varieties in the Margaret River Wine Region

    Aravina Chenin blanc, Vermentino | Franklin Tate Estate Petit verdot, Verdelho, Viognier | Adinfern Malbec | Amberley Estate Chenin blanc | Arimia Margaret River Grenache, Mourvedre, Petit verdot, Verdelho, Zinfandel | Arlewood Estate Marsanne, Roussanne | Ashbrook Estate Verdelho | Barwick Wines Viognier | Beckett's Flat Malbec, Verdelho | Blue Manna Chenin blanc, Verdelho | Blue Poles Vineyard Tempranillo, Teroldego, Viognier | Brairose Estate Cabernet franc | Briarose Estate Cabernet franc | Brookwood Estate Chenin blanc | Broomstick Estate Petit verdot | Bunkers Tempranillo | Cape Grace Wines Chenin blanc | Cape Mentelle Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Viognier, Zinfandel | Carpe Diem Malbec, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Sangiovese, Vermentino | Cedaro Estate Fragola, Gewurztraminer, Sangiovese | Celestial Bay Malbec, Petit verdot, Ruby Cabernet | Chalice Bridge Estate Savagnin, Viognier | Chapman's Creek Vineyard Chenin blanc | Churchview Estate Chenin blanc, Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre | Credaro Family Estate Fragola | Cullen Wines Malbec, Petit verdot | Deep Woods Estate Nebbiolo, Verdelho | Della Fay Malbec, Nebbiolo, Petit verdot, Vermentino | Devil's Lair Chenin Blanc, Tempranillo | Eagle Vale Petit verdot | Evans and Tate Chenin blanc, Moscato, Verdelho | Fermoy Estate Chenin blanc, Nebbiolo, Verdelho | Flinders Bay Chenin blanc, Verdelho | Flying Fish Cove Barbera, Chenin blanc, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese | Forester Estate Alicante Bouschet, Malbec, Petit verdot | Gherardi Wines Viognier | Gralyn Estate Pedro Ximenez | Green Valley Vineyard Chenin blanc | Happs Bastardo, Cabernet franc, Carignan, Chenin blanc, Cinsaut, Furmint, Gamay, Graciano, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Muscadelle, Nebbiolo, Tinto Cao, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Vermentino, Viognier | Harman's Ridge Estate Grenache, Marsanne | Hay Shed Hill Wines Cabernet franc, Malbec, Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Heron Lake Estate Verdelho | Higher Plane Fiano, Malbec, Tempranillo, Viognier | Howard Park Wines Carnelian, Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Island Brook Tempranillo, Verdelho | Jarvis Estate Cabernet franc | Jerusalem Hollow Roussanne | Juniper Estate Chenin blanc, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Karri Grove Estate Verdelho | Kneedeep Chenin blanc | Knotting Hill Vineyard Verdelho, Viognier | Larry Cherubino Grenache, Malbec, Mourvedre, Pinot gris | MadFish Wines Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Marq Fiano, Gamay, Malbec, Tempranillo, Vermentino | Marri Wood Park Chenin blanc | Marybrook Vineyards & Winery Bastardo, Gamay, Grenache, Verdelho | McHenry Hohnen Grenache, Marsanne, Malbec, Mourvedre, Petit verdot, Roussanne, Tempranillo, Viognier, Zinfandel | Miles from Nowhere Petit verdot, Viognier | Moaning Frog Viognier | Moss Brothers Graciano, Grenache, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Night Harvest Sangiovese, Vermentino | Olsen Verdelho | Palmer Malbec | Peacetree Estate Tempranillo | Pennan Viognier | Plan B Tempranillo, Viognier | Redgate Cabernet franc, Chenin blanc, Verdelho | Rivendell Souzao, Tinto Cao, Touriga, Verdelho | Settlers Ridge Chenin blanc, Malbec, Sangiovese | Seven Ochres Fiano, Petit verdot, Viognier | Stella Bella Moscato, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier | Stellar Ridge Verdelho, Zinfandel | Swings & Roundabouts Chenin blanc, Graciano, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier | Swooping Magpie Cabernet franc, Chenin blanc, Verdelho | Tassell Park Wines Chenin blanc, Petit verdot | The Grove Vineyard Graciano, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Vasse Felix Tempranillo | Victory Point Wines Malbec, Petit verdot | Virage Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel | Voyager Estate Chenin blanc, Viognier | Watershed Wines Cabernet franc, Sangiovese, Viognier, Zinfandel | Willespie Verdelho | Wills Domain Vineyard Malbec, Petit verdot, Viognier | Windance Wines Chenin blanc | Windows Estate Chenin blanc, Malbec, Petit verdot | Wine By Brad Nero d'Avola, Sangiovese | Wise Wine Sangiovese, Verdelho, Zinfandel | Wombat Lodge Malbec, Petit verdot | Woodlands Cabernet franc, Malbec | Woody Nook Chenin blanc, Tempranillo | Xanadu Graciano, Petit Verdot, Viognier

    Visiting the Margaret River Region

    The Margaret River region consists of an area of land bounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean and Southern Oceans.

    It is about a hundred kilometres from north to south, and about thirty east-west. The major towns are Busselton in the north, Margaret River in the middle and Augusta in the South. As well as being a great wine region to tour there are plenty of other attractions in the area. Much of the Indian Ocean frontage of the region is protected by National Parks.

    In the north is the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse overlooking Geographe Bay and in the South is the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse marking the boundary between the Indian and Southern Oceans. Cape Leeuwin was named in honour of the Dutch ship Leeuwin which passed by in 1622. There are ample opportunities for surfing, coastal and bush walking, whale watching and other outdoor pursuits.

    There are many accommodation options in the region. These range from resorts, to motels cottages and camping grounds. Many vineyards have accommodation and dining facilities.

    Use the box at right to explore places to stay in Margaret River.

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