If you’re near Margaret River, you should take the time to visit a few wineries. Plantings started in the 1960s after research showed it had similar growing conditions to Bordeaux except for more sunshine and less risk of hail. If you’re a keen wine drinker you’ll be familiar with the grape varities Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay. If you’re part of a large group you might not be allowed in some of the wineries so call up before to make sure. If you’re a small group, it’s still best to book ahead. I recommend tasting wines at the below wineries:
Cape Mentelle: This winery is located in a beautiful setting, set back from the car park with a wooden swing out the front. The representatives are attentive and friendly, happy to take you slowly through each of the wines. There is also a gift shop selling decanters, T-Shirts, other memorabilia and of course wine!
Vasse Felix: This recently has been renovated and looks stunning as a result. There is a large and bright tasting room as you enter the building with a restaurant to the side with views of the vineyards. I haven’t yet been to the restaurant but I have heard good reviews!
Cullen: Set back from the road the building is nestled in between the different vineyard plots. Along with a tasting counter, there is also a restaurant that will also serve just refreshments if you need a pick me up after all the tastings!
Evans & Tate: This is perfect for large groups with two large tasting counters in a spacious building with glass windows foot to ceiling overlooking the vineyards. Just next door is Pukara Estate next door selling award winning olive oils and vinegars.
Watershed Wines: A wide open tasting room with stone floors (keeps the place cool!) greets you as you walk into the winery with glass walls floor to ceiling overlooking the luscious vineyards. The staff are friendly and you can taste 6 – 8 wines for free and then have to pay $2 for selected wines which are well worth it!
Stella Bella Winery: This small cosy tasting room is a little hut nestled among the vines but it makes for a lovely intimate setting. When I went here in December 2011 they had just released their first ever sparkling wine and it didn’t disappoint!
Moss Wood: Visits are made by appointment only. There is no tasting room so you taste in a cellar surrounded by past vintages of wines, excellent, there’s no better place to taste I think than in a cellar tasting past vintages of one of the most famous wines!
Brookland Valley: We went here in a large group and they were very accomodating offering 6 wines on tasting. The tasting counter is conveniently located in the gift shop where you can buy photos of local vineyards and scenery, artist paintings, cards, decanters, wines and clothes. Set in an old building with a view of a lake out the back, it is a shame they don’t have a restaurant at such a picturesque location.
Tassell Park: Here we were greeting with a small tasting room in a wooden house nestled up a slight hill. The owners were so friendly and slowly took us through each of the wines on tasting, my favourite was the Private Bin Chardonnay 2010.
- Black Swan
- Jarrah Ridge
- Mandoon Estate
- Edgecombe – host amazing lunch platters
- Jane Brook
- Faber Vineyard