|To many, Margaret River is the jewel in the Western Australian crown. A relative newcomer to the Australian wine industry, Margaret River not only combines all the best qualities for viticulture but is also downright beautiful!
There aren’t many places that combine ocean breezes, long white beaches, terrific surf, rolling hills and perfect terroir for grape growing.
Located 290kms south of Perth on a large, rectangular peninsula jutting into the Indian Ocean, Margaret River stretches over 95kms from Busselton on Geographe Bay to Karridale in the south. It is surrounded by water on three sides with the eastern boundary, known as the Gladstone Line, 27kms from the coast. All these things make the region a wine traveller’s paradise.
To the north is the region of Geographe with its shores overlooking Geographe Bay. Vineyards were first planted here in 1973 by Dr Barry Killerby and today the largest producer is Capel Vale.
The Margaret River’s vineyards were first planted in the early seventies by producers such as Leeuwin Estate, Cape Mentelle & Cullen. It was from these early pioneers that the “classic dry white” was born – a blend usually of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc – though many producers now incorporate Verdelho and Chardonnay to their blends, giving the wines greater depth and complexity. These blends have become synonymous with the West and it’s here that it works better than any other region.
Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most successful red variety and, to many producers, makes their icon wines. The blends however, especially Merlot, have proven to produce some terrific wines for both early drinking and medium term cellaring. Margaret River’s ability to produce such a range of varieties of such good quality has created some wonderful blends.