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Our Guide to the Best Wineries in Margaret River

Our Guide to the Best Wineries in Margaret River

After many years in the wine industry, I constantly grapple with the question: What defines the best wineries in Margaret River? Is it their award-winning wines, the unparalleled cellar door experiences, or simply what resonates with us as consumers and appeals to our palate and experience?

In tackling this question, let’s explore each of these significant criteria.

Where is the Margaret River Region?

Margaret River

The Margaret River Region, nestled in the southwest corner of Australia, sprawls across the southwestern part of Western Australia. Stretching from the coastal town of Busselton in the north, it extends southward through the town of Margaret River and reaches the coastal shores of Augusta in the south.

To the west, its boundary meets the Indian Ocean coastline, while to the north it encompasses Yallingup and Dunsborough before curving eastward towards Busselton. Blessed with a Mediterranean and maritime climate, the Margaret River Wine Region is renowned for its wine production. For a visual reference, you can check out the map here: Margaret River Wine Region Map.

AWARD-WINNING WINES

Award Winning Wines

The signature grape varietals of the Margaret River wine region are cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, semillon, shiraz and Merlot. Plantings since the late nineties have seen a wider range of varietals grown in the region like tempranillo and the pinot family of grapes, with many other varieties on offer.

In the Decanters World Wine Awards 2023, 18,250 wines were tasted from 57 different countries to select the Best in Show from across the world. Margaret River represented 6% of these medal winners, these winners being:

  • Domaine Naturaliste Rebus Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
  • Evans & Tate Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
  • House of Cards Ace of Spades Chardonnay 2022

There is a variety of wine awards to reference from, ranging from international and Australian, all the way down to state and regional awards. One of the biggest wine accolades in Australia, or the one I’ve heard winemakers tout as “the one to win” is the Jimmy Watson Trophy. Winners of this prestigious award in the Margaret River region include:

  • Cape Mentelle’s Cabernet Sauvignon 1982
  • Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 1983
  • Flametree Cabernet Merlot 2007
  • Joseph River Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
  • Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Any of the bottles from the above winners lists would make an excellent addition to your cellar. These however are only a small taste of what is available in the Margaret River region.

BEST CELLAR DOOR EXPERIENCES

Among the top cellar door experiences are those that offer visitors more than just a wine tasting. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it encompasses places where guests can indulge in a sensory journey.

Whether you’re drawn to panoramic ocean vistas, picturesque gardens, or sprawling vineyards perfect for a leisurely stroll, there’s something for every wine enthusiast or budding aficionado. Additionally, some establishments provide ambient settings for enjoying a meal or partaking in platters of delectable charcuterie to complement post-tasting wine sessions.

Ultimately, these unique points of interest and distinctive features will elevate your experience.

Aravina Estate

Not just a place to explore beautifully landscaped gardens and lakeside views, Aravina Estate has relaxing spaces including balconies and picnic sites where you can enjoy their premium wines and wood-fired pizzas for 7 days.

Add to the overall experience by taking in a tour of the Sports Car and Surf Galleries. Tastings are $10 and redeemable on any wine purchase. They offer their full menu Wednesday through Friday and a limited menu on Mondays and Tuesdays

Cullen Wines

Experience an immersion into biodynamic principles and organic wines at MCullen Wines. Visit the spiral garden or enjoy a four-course luncheon in the Biodynamic Wine Room. Cullen Wines offers a range of experiences for you to enjoy, including seated tastings, dining and a self-guided biodynamic garden tour from $15 upwards.

Glenarty Wines

Located closer to the whale-watching region in Augusta, Glenarty Wines is a winery with a point of difference. They incorporate a collective farm experience culminating in a tasting, farm and food experience, with four tour types of tours to engage in.

A booking in their restaurant invites a farm-to-table, wholesome seasonal food and wine experience. If that isn’t your taste, you can also enjoy a cellar door experience in the wine bar, starting from $10pp.

Howard Park Wines

Positioned on the highest point of their Leston vineyard, the award-winning Howard Park Wines adheres to Feng Shui design and orientation principles. The cellar door has casual bar tastings at $10pp, tasting up to 6 of their wines.

Casual bar tastings are available all day and don’t require a booking for groups of up to 6 people, with the price redeemable upon purchase. Walk-in seated tastings are from $15pp – where you can choose from a red, white, or mixed tasting.

Swings & Roundabouts

With a relaxed vibe, Swings & Roundabouts produces some of its own wines from 40-year-old vines on the property. They offer a vibrant cellar door experience where the kids can play and you can kick back and listen to live music or sample their Mediterranean-inspired fare at their restaurant. They also have an EV charging station onsite.

Whicher Ridge Wines

Whicher Ridge Wines welcomes you to wander around their wine sensory garden and immerse yourself in the sights, smells and flavours of the plants at your own pace.

Wine tasting starts at $10pp, otherwise, you might like to choose another of their wine experiences if you would like to learn more about wine, wine styles and pairing of wine with food.

Wise Eagle Bay

Located on the capes west of Dunsborough, Wise Winery is a cellar door and restaurant experience with breathtaking coastal views. The award-winning restaurant is open for fine dining for lunch and dinner. Tastings in their dedicated cellar door facility include their range of wines and distilled gins for a small fee.

ERIOUS WINE & DINE EXPERIENCES

The Margaret River Region has so much to offer the wine novice, enthusiast and aficionado. Its offerings and the variety and quality venues in this list provide a robust experience to any visitor or traveller.

It’s not just about the wine though, pairing of foods seems to be as much a part of the wine journey here in the South West. Margaret River Wine region has so much to offer, and the best way to experience this is to visit and tour this beautiful region through wineries and tours alike.

Vasse Felix

Curate your Vasse Felix Estate visit with options such as a seated tasting at the Cellar Door, or enjoy wine and charcuterie in the Wine Lounge overlooking the Home Vineyard and Margaret River’s oldest vines.

On fine days, the Wine Lounge extends to the Estate lawn. Enjoy the a la carte menu with a long lunch in the award-winning Vasse Felix Restaurant or an exploration of history and culture in the Art Gallery and The Vault. For the ultimate destination experience, go beyond the cellar door with a specialised Tour Experience.

Cullen Wines

Once again making the list is the only biodynamic and carbon-positive winery in the region, Cullen Wines. To Cullen, it’s all about the soil from the uses of biodynamic principles, harvesting grapes at auspicious planetary aspects – usually about the moon, the wine juice pressed without any additions.

Cullen is known to be one of Australia’s most-awarded wineries. Keeping with the organic and biodynamic philosophy of the vineyard – food is prepared using fresh, biodynamic and organic produce, 90% of which is sourced from the Estate’s garden. Cullen offers a range of wining and dining options. You’re spoilt for choice with cellar door tastings, or a four-course set menu paired with biodynamic wines complimenting the dining experience.

Leeuwin Estate

A pioneer in wine tourism, Leeuwin Estate incorporates a multi-award-winning restaurant, cellar door and art gallery to create unique visitor experiences. Leeuwin Estate combines fine wine and food in a picturesque setting offering two luncheon options and two wine, art and food appreciation experiences.

No stranger to wine accolades, Leeuwin’s Art Series Wine collection is often selected for world wine awards and the estate has won numerous awards for its restaurant and tourism activities. Leeuwin Estate also holds a variety of highly successful outdoor concerts on its estate.

Voyager Estate

A family-run and owned estate, Voyager achieved silver status in certified organics in 2023, all of their wines being 100% estate-grown and made. Voyager offers vineyard, wine and food experiences to their guests and the award-winning restaurant features progressive, wine-focused dishes that evolve with the season. In their own words, Voyager Estate Restaurant practices are “sustainable, elegant and just a little lavish.

Wills Domain

Another top-shelf wine and dine experience available in the Margaret River region is Wills Domain. A family-owned enterprise, Wills Domain has expanded its grape growing and wine-producing business into an exceptional fine dining experience with a fully operational award-winning restaurant on their 20-hectare site in stunning Gunyalgup Valley.

Their culinary team produces delectable snacks that are perfectly matched with their wines at the cellar door and exceptional fine-dining feasts at their restaurant, which has a refined, industrial feel with a focus on sustainable, wild-harvested produce.

A LITTLE MORE SERIOUS ABOUT THE REGION

If you want to explore the region a little more and see what’s on offer, you should check out Wine Australia’s Guide to the Margaret River Region. Learn all about its terrier, climate, and information on the growing of grapes and the blending of wines.

WHALE WATCHING IN THE MARGARET RIVER REGION

Naturaliste Charters Whale Watching

When visiting the Margaret River Region, you can enjoy a scenic drive to the southernmost corner of WA to the Augusta Boat Harbour, where you can depart on an Augusta Whale Watching tour with Naturaliste Charters. We offer whale watching tours twice daily at 10 am and 2 pm running for two to 2.5 hours each, seven days a week.

Whilst aboard the Alison Maree, you can expect to be kept comfortable on the newly refurbished 24-metre catamaran whilst you explore Flinders Bay in search of the humpback whale. The tours mainly sight Humpback and Southern Right whales during whale season from late May to early August every year. If you are in the region during late August until November end you can drive 30 minutes north to Dunsborough and experience the southern migration of the whales and calves on Geographe Bay.

With a 99% whale sighting success rate, why not take the time to book a tour when visiting the region? Book your tour with Naturaliste Charters online or by phone at 9750 5500.

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