In this series, we chat to the makers behind some exciting small-batch labels in the Margaret River Wine Region, who, whilst honouring the region’s hero grape varieties, are challenging the boundaries with new wine styles and approaches. South by South West Wines was shortlisted as ‘Dark Horse Winery’ in the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, and winner of the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in the 2019 Young Gun of Wine.

Livia Maiorana shares a little more about the philosophies of South by South West Wines and their love of Margaret River, as well as some tips about highlight activities within the region.

What about your approach makes your wines unique?

I guess for us, unique is more so about our approach. I think winemakers are all striving to produce quality wines made form nature’s lottery (climate, sun, water). Every vineyard and winemaker has a philosophical matter, but in the end all the stars must align for the magic to happen, and it’s the magic that we are all trying to make in our own way.

For us, the magic is all in producing honest wines which tell stories to express its origins and ethos. Authentic wines that respect the land, are sustainably farmed and made, rationally and humbly handled in the winery, honourable to vintage and true to the region. We want anyone drinking our wine to pick up a natural charm, that only inspired farming practices and sensitive, thoughtful winemaking can deliver.

Favourite Margaret River ‘alternative’ style to make and why?

Our favourite ‘alternative’ style we make and are known for is probably our play on a Super Tuscan style we make and have endearingly called ‘ Super Margs’. The ‘Super Margs’ is the wunderkind of our portfolio. It’s a style that breaks ranks and gives a Margaret River nod to the old world maverick Tuscan winemakers. Stylistically, this wine celebrates and heroes Sangiovese, whilst linking the soul and tradition of the Margaret River region with Cabernet Sauvignon. It smells like Margaret River, so there is the link right up front, but transports you to Italy with a playful acid line and some rustic tannins.

Why do you like making wine in Margaret River?

Simple, Margs is a grape growing paradise! Being one of the most geographically isolated wine regions in the world comes with a heap of benefits!

The wild (but pristine) natural environment lends itself to lower disease pressures and minimal intervention farming, due to the strong maritime influence on the mediterranean climate, the ancient gravelly soils, and a long, dry ripening season. The fact you can grow grapes organically/biodynamically and sustainably in the region is amazing to us, and the future of the region.

Theoretically, it is all of those things mentioned above, however practically, I guess fundamentally for us it is equally about the dynamic winemaking community that exists here. There are classical winemakers and winemaking, intermixed with a new generation bringing fresh energy and contemporary approaches to these classical styles, as well as exploring alternative varietals, styles and expressions.

It’s this juxtaposition of Margaret River that we find so damn sexy. Wines from ancient soils, but modern winemaking. Wines that are powerful, but elegant. Traditional, but contemporary. Serious but fun. We are all about that!

Favourite place to eat in Margaret River and why?

There are too many great places to eat within the Margaret River region. Choosing one is just too hard. To be honest though, our favourite place to eat is probably at our house, which overlooks part of the magical Margaret River. There is something special about being able to hunt and source seasonal food from the region and cook it up yourself. With a local glass of Chardonnay, you can’t beat fresh crays or abalone you have dived for, or marron you have snared!

Favourite nature based activity or place in the region and why?

That is a tough one as there are so many! It’s hard to go past surfing one of the many awesome breaks in the region, but just going for a swim in the River (or a walk around it in winter) at the end of the day and floating/walking amongst the Marri trees and wildlife is hard to top.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) is bringing its international awards back to Margaret River.

Following the success of its inaugural Oceanic-based judging in Margaret River in 2023, the IWSC is delighted to announce it will be taking another new panel of international experts to Margaret River to judge local Western Australian wines in June 2024. The IWSC’s stringent judging process will take place, however producers will benefit from convenient, local delivery and the opportunity to bring their wines to the global stage.

This year, the Global judging will be open to all wines from all regions of Western Australia.

IWSC’s CEO, Christelle Guibert commented, “Following the huge success of last year’s Global Judging in Margaret River, we are delighted to once again be shining the spotlight on this award-winning boutique wine region. Our expert judges, that made up last year’s panel, were very impressed by the quality of Margaret River wines that they judged, the wines showed complexity and represented a variety of styles while maintaining a distinctive regional character. We look forward to showcasing even more wines as this year we open up the judging to all Western Australian wines.”

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said that having one of the world’s most highly regarded international wine competitions coming to Margaret River last year provided great exposure for the region’s wines, culture and geography.

“We believe that bringing retailers, sommeliers and media to the region is the best way to give them a comprehensive understanding and lasting impression of our wines.

“Everything is tasted blind, and the final results speak for themselves. There were 24 gold medals awarded during 2023’s Global judging, and 4 of the overall global wine trophies awarded in London were for Margaret River wines, the highest of any region in the world.

Cherubino Wines also won the ‘Outstanding Wine Producer of the Year Trophy’, and Cape Mentelle won the ‘Old Vines Trophy.’  It was a fantastic result that we hope to replicate again this year,” said CEO Amanda Whiteland.

The IWSC team of international judges will be fully immersed in the Margaret River Wine Region as they join local Australian judging experts, who will be announced in the following weeks. The judging will take place from 4 – 7 June 2024, and the medal results will be announced the following week on 10 June 2024.

Entry to the IWSC’s Wine Judging in Margaret River is open now and it will close on 7 May 2024.

View IWSC’s Margaret River Global Judging page here.

This initiative is proudly supported by WA Wines to the World; an industry-led Export Growth Partnership coordinated by Wines of Western Australia, co-funded by DPIRD.

South Regional TAFE Margaret River campus offers a range of short courses including forklift operation, barista, first aid, evaluate wines and AusChem.

Find courses here.

Reaccred AusChem course 8.30am to 4.30pm on Tuesday 14 November. The cost is $95.00 for the course and has limited numbers so please contact [email protected] as soon as possible if wanting to enrol in the course.

If you wish to discuss any skills / training requirements for your business please contact [email protected]  

Further information on what skills / training is already available may be found at this here

There are so many great activities happening at Margaret River’s wineries for the March Labour Day Long Weekend 2024 in Western Australia.

In addition to cellar door tastings, dining and picnic options at your favourite producers, check out these special events, happening exclusively over the weekend Friday night 1 March to Monday 4 March.

 

Friday 1 March

Friday Night Pours @ Busselton Pavilion

Head along to the first of this new tasting series, focusing on local wineries in the region, with complimentary tastings from feature producers from 4-6pm. Friday Night Pours kicks off with the awesome portfolio of McHenry Hohnen. (Upcoming wineries on future Fridays include Victory Point, Wines of Merritt and South by South West).

 

Saturday 2 March

Cape Grace Winemaker’s Pick

Enjoy the unique opportunity to experience the excitement of vintage at Cape Grace Wines. Go behind the scenes at the winery for this special event. You’ll help harvest and process their award winning red grapes, and lay the foundations for the ferment of their red vintage. Have your questions answered and discover the winemaking process, plus taste previews of upcoming releases in bottle and barrel.

Discover More

Shellfish & Sauvignon @ Passel Estate

Join the team from Passel Estate between 1-3pm, when they’ll be firing up their BBQ to serve delicious crayfish and shrimp rolls. Relax on their deck and enjoy a brioche roll full of succulent crayfish meat and shrimps, completed a glass of the Passel Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

Discover More

Juniper Pizza Weekend

The Juniper team will be turning out piping hot pizza pies, with their latest release wines by the glass or bottle. Chill out on the lawn under the Peppermint trees for a relaxing afternoon, from midday until 4pm. No bookings required.

Read More

Picnic @ Xanadu – Sold Out

You’re invited to our inaugural Picnic at Xanadu on Saturday 2nd March. Take in our picturesque grounds with a specially prepared charcuterie pack and some of your favourite Xanadu wines. With picnic blankets and live music, this is the perfect way to kick back and enjoy the end of Summer.

Sunday 3 March

Marqi Gras Brunch @ Marq Wines

To celebrate the Sydney Mardi Gras, Marq Wines is hosting its very own Marqi Gras Brunch.
The event includes a glass of Sparkling Vermentino on arrival and substantial brunch style canapes, wonderfully entertaining drag performances and games. Book tickets via Marq Wines, 10am-1pm.

Discover More

Juniper Pizza Weekend

The Juniper team will be turning out piping hot pizza pies, with their latest release wines by the glass or bottle. Chill out on the lawn under the Peppermint trees for a relaxing afternoon, from midday until 4pm. No bookings required.

Discover More

Last night, the local community gathered to celebrate Vintage 2024 and welcome seasonal workers, including those from Timor Leste, Fiji and Tonga, who are in the Margaret River Wine Region to work vintage on our wineries, vineyards and in tourism.

The gathering of over 250 people began with a warm Welcome to Wadandi Boodja, with lots of heart, was performed by Wadandi Pibulmum Elder, Dr. Wayne Webb and custodian Zac Webb. This was followed by a Smoking Ceremony, to cleanse and purify the spirit, body, and soul, signifying the beginning of something new.

While another quality vintage is already underway in Margaret River, the Pioneer Park Amphitheatre in Cowaramup was a perfect central and shady location for locals to bring a picnic blanket and immerse themselves in the cultural diversity that make the region truly special at vintage time, beginning with soulful music by local musicians, The Nomadics.

The Nomadics also played their wonderful song, ‘Wadandi Boodja’, which was nominated for a WAM Song of the Year award in the folk category in 2021, whilst the community body painted ochre and bathed in the smoke. 

With the support of Wadandi Elders and Cultural Custodians, this song has become an anthem in Woodichup Bilya / the Margaret River, with each line sung in both Wadandi and English. It is a fabulous offering to strengthen language and love/koorda for boodja/country. 

Representing the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Community Connections Program, Tika Baxter invited attendees to make the PALM workers feel welcome through sports and cultural activities, as they often spend many years away from their families.

The crowds were blessed with a traditional dance and song by over twenty workers from Timor Leste, employed by South West Labour Solutions over the last nine months, who have been actively involved in all aspects of the Margaret River viticulture industry. 

Mr Martinho represented the group and presented Indigenous Elders with a traditional tais, a cloth from East Timor, as a sign of respect to Dr Webb and his family for allowing them to dance on their country.

The evening concluded with two traditional songs, a Fijian dance performed by a crew of Fijian workers, and a presentation of a Salusalu, Fijian garland to Indigenous Elders.

The Fijian workers are also employed by South West Labour Solutions, working at Pullman Resort Bunker Bay in many aspects of the hospitality industry, including Food & Beverage, Housekeeping and Spa Treatments. 

MRWA CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “Seasonal Workers are critical in our region, particularly in viticulture, and we really appreciate the workers who are here through the PALM scheme. It can be really hard to be separated from family and live so far away in a foreign culture. It was so beautiful to see the performances by the crews from Timor Leste and Fiji, as they shared some of their culture with us tonight.”

MRBTA CEO Sharna Kearney said, ““We were thrilled that local community members and regional stakeholders came out to offer such a warm welcome to our seasonal workers. We thank Dr. Wayne Webb and Zac Webb and the Undalup Association for their enriching and informative cultural ceremony.”

2024 marks the second year this event has been held.

The event was organised by Margaret River Wine Association (MRWA) and Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) and supported by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River through their Community Development and Event Grant program.

Adelaide Hills, Margaret River & Yarra Valley have joined forces at the 2024 Australia Trade Tasting in London!

To download all the wine and regional information, click here.

To experience the essence of three exquisite Chardonnay regions, united to deliver a deeper understanding of their beauty and charm.

 Adelaide Hills, nestled in South Australia – defined by twisting valleys, steep slopes, and cool nights – epitomizes creative, artisanal winemaking.

Margaret River, secluded in Australia’s southwest, where the powerful Indian and Southern Oceans meet, boasts a perfect climate for world-class vineyards amid stunning biodiversity.

Yarra Valley, adjacent to Melbourne, embodies diversity, heritage, and innovation.

Though separated by over 3,500 kilometres, these boutique regions craft Chardonnays that are expressive, elegant, and among the world’s finest.

Thursday 8 February, 5.30pm – 7pm
Pioneer Park, Cowaramup

With vintage 2024 commencing you are invited you to join Wadandi Pibulmum Elder, Dr. Wayne Webb for a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, for everyone who has recently joined our region to work vintage in our wineries and vineyards. The traditional smoking ceremony is used to cleanse and purify the spirit, body and soul and signifies the beginning of something new.

The free event is hosted by the Margaret River Wine Association and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association and will also feature live music by The Nomadics.

Guests are encouraged to BYO chairs or picnic blanket.

Whilst living, travelling, visiting and holidaying on Wadandi Boodja, we ask that you respect the area and walk softly on the country, taking the time to listen to Boodja (Country) as she Wongi (talks) of the season, and leave nothing but footprints.

–  Pibulmun Wadandi Yunungjarli Elder Wayne Webb.

Funded with support of the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.

Eleven of the Margaret River Wine Region’s most collected wines have been recognised in the 8th Edition of Australia’s coveted LANGTONS Classification, released last December.

The new Classification comprises a total of 100 wines across 60 wineries, with the wines given title of ‘Classified’, reflecting their demand and performance in the secondary market, or ‘1st Classified’, reserved for a small cohort of wines representing the most desirable wines in Australia that compete with the world’s finest.

Seven Cabernet Sauvignons and four Chardonnays from Margaret River have been included in this Edition, with the special designation of ‘1st Classified’ for the Cullen Wines Diana Madeline and Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay.

To make it into the LANGTONS Classification, each wine must have been released for at least ten vintages and have a strong track record at auction.

Congratulations to these noble Margaret River wines, on their well-deserved Classifications. LANGTONS Classification has been published since the 1990s.

1st Classified

Classified

Discover more at LANGTONS.

The Margaret River Wine Region Sustainability Report was established out of a conviction to fulfil custodial responsibilities towards the region’s exceptional environment, recognising the importance of sustaining and protecting its rare biodiversity.

The report identifies key initiatives and measures, including environmental health and resilience, social responsibility, waste reduction and climate action.

A major initiative of the Margaret River Wine Association is onboarding its members into the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program and working with them to achieve certification.

This report summarises where we are here and now in 2023, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Click Here to Read the Report

Webinar Date: 27 February 2024
Time: 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM (30 minute webinar)

Do you have a research idea for your business?

Learn how the Innovate to Grow program can help you build your skills, develop your innovative ideas, and meet experts in industry and research institutions.​ Join us for a 30-minute webinar on Tuesday 27 February to learn more and ask questions.

Innovate to Grow is a self-paced and virtually delivered program designed to help small to medium-sized businesses get involved with research and development. The free 10-week program is run by CSIRO and supported by DPIRD. The new round will begin in April 2024. The program is open to SMEs based and operating in Western Australia working on innovative technologies or solutions across a range of agriculture and food industry subsectors. Learn more about the program here.

Participation in this webinar is free.
The Teams Meeting link will be provided via email one day before the event.

Thursday 30 November, 9am to 11am

The SET – 1/25 Burler Dr, Vasse

Are you a small business looking to grow? Explore: Strategies for scaling small businesses; Developing a relevant and actionable strategic plan for 2024 and beyond; Funding opportunities to support business growth.
Learn more and register. 

Tuesday 12 December, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Are you interested in accessing a source of skilled labour that also offers a skilled refugee and their family the opportunity to rebuild their lives in Australia?

The Department of Home Affairs invites you to attend a free webinar on how Australian employers can use the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot Program (the Pilot) to:

The Pilot, delivered in partnership with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), enables Australian businesses endorsed by TBB to enter into a labour agreement with the Australian Government to sponsor an approved skilled refugee or displaced person on a permanent or temporary basis through existing employer sponsored visa programs.

Concessions to standard visa eligibility requirements available under a Pilot labour agreement are designed to reduce barriers for businesses and skilled refugees/displaced persons accessing these employer sponsored skilled visa pathways.

Together, the Department and Talent Beyond Boundaries will cover:

  1. How the Pilot works;
  2. Concessions available under the Pilot;
  3. How TBB can support you to find, hire and welcome a candidate;
  4. TBB’s endorsement process; and
  5. Outcomes so far, including first-hand candidate and business testimonials.

Register for the free webinar on 12 December to learn how you can use the Pilot to help your business.

Margaret River Wine Association & Nature Conservation Margaret River Fundraiser

6pm Tuesday 19 December

We love our community! We invite you to support our annual Fundraiser Night. All proceeds from the tickets sales and bar sales on the night will be donated to next year’s Margaret River Rivermouth revegetation day.

Rachel’s Farm is one woman’s journey from ecological despair to finding hope in the soil beneath her feet. Film director and actress Rachel Ward is not the first person you’d expect to join a farming revolution. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate.

Book tickets

Many thanks to Cape Mentelle for their generous support!

Introducing Annette Milne, who has worked in the Cellar Door at Amelia Park Wines for nearly six years.

Annette has deep connections to the region, with her family being one of the first settlers in the Cowaramup area after receiving a grant to settle here in 1939. The original home where her mum was born is on part of the property, which is now Howard Park Wines.

We met with Annette and asked her to share a few things with us.

How did you get into the wine industry?

My mum worked at Sandalford Wines, one of Margaret River’s first cellar doors. She then spent time at Fermoy Estate, Q Wines and Deep Woods Estate before retiring. It was an industry that always interested me, so when my husband and I returned to the area, I completed my WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) studies and began my Cellar Door career.

What is your favourite varietal and why?

I love a Chardonnay, and lucky for me, Amelia Park produces three! A Chardonnay can be so varied from rich and buttery to fresh and light with citrus notes.

Your thoughts on what makes our region so special?

Our region has so much to offer, from wineries with world class wines, incredible food from casual to something a bit more fancy catering for all needs, special scenery and beaches that are the best in the world.

Where is a hidden gem in the region to visit?

I always take my visitors to The Berry Farm at Rosa Brook. Amazing scones can be enjoyed in the beautiful gardens with visiting Blue Wrens and Honey Eaters near your table whilst you enjoy your jam and cream.

Meet Bec Phillious; she is the Cellar Door Manager at Edwards Wines and has been working there since it opened in April.

She doesn’t have a favourite wine variety; telling us she prefers to choose her wine “depending on the day, my mood, the weather, the company, and what I’m eating!”

We caught up with Bec and asked her a few questions about working and living in the Margaret River Wine Region and what exciting events are coming up for Edwards.

What is your favourite food and wine pairing?

A bold, oaked Chardonnay with buttered popcorn because it’s fun and accessible to everyone.

Your thoughts on what makes our region so special?

Oh wow, so many things the history of our wine industry, the diversity of our region and the fact that you can go wine, spirit and beer and hiking all in one day.

What’s your top tip for visitors to the region?

Save your hand luggage for wine, quality over quantity when visiting wineries, and make sure you make time to drive through Boranup.

What’s next on the events schedule at Edwards?

Oh, we have so many wonderful things planned. Upcoming members tasting events, the release of our members exclusive Ocean Series, Miss Chow’s coming in Spring 2024, our chocolate and wine pairings becoming a daily offering, serving a light platter to go with our wine by the glass, the list is pretty endless at the moment and I’m so excited about what we will have to offer!

When: Friday 17 November 2023 8:30am – 4pm

Where: 12-Micron, Barangaroo, Sydney

What: Australian Women in Wine National Symposium. A day of connection, networking, learning and empowerment.

Focus: Leadership & Ambition in the Wine Industry – Exploring the challenges women face pursuing a career in Australian wine & how to advance them to positions of power for the betterment of the industry.

Price: $395.00. Includes all speaker sessions + morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, and the opportunity to connect and build relationships with other women in wine across the regions.

Registrations open here on Friday 23 June 2020.

The 2023 Langtons Margaret River Wine Show was held last week, with judging culminating in a Gala Awards Lunch at the beautifully refurbished Lenton Brae Cellar Door on Friday, 20 October.

The Stella Bella team triumphed this year, taking home a trio of trophies for the Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2022, receiving Best Chardonnay, Best White Wine, and the ultimate accolade, Best Wine of Show. Stella Bella also capped off a remarkable show by being awarded the Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor.

This year is the second time the Suckfizzle Chardonnay, from Margaret River Wine Region’s most southern vineyard, has won the Wine of the Show Trophy at the Margaret River Wine Show. The Augusta vineyard is influenced by the prevailing Antarctic winds of the Southern Ocean and moderated by the warmth of the Blackwood River, creating wine of unique power and flavour.

Stella Bella Chief Winemaker Luke Jolliffe shared his excitement about the success, stating, “We are thrilled to have won four trophies. Recognition such as this for our single vineyard Suckfizzle Chardonnay is a testament to the whole team. The passion in farming our land with care and precision, through to nurturing the wine from grape to bottle shows a very special and cohesive viticultural and winemaking team. We are incredibly fortunate. And how good is Margaret River Chardonnay?

Chaired by the distinguished wine writer Nick Ryan, this year’s event included an exceptional judging panel of experts from across Australia and the highly regarded Master of Wine, Richard Hemming, from 67 Pall Mall in Singapore.

The judging, which took place on Wadandi Boodja at the Margaret River HEART, assessed a remarkable 631 entries from ninety-two exhibitors. Fifty-two wines achieved the coveted gold medal status, earning 95 points or higher on the 100-point scale. An additional 141 wines received silver medals, and 257 wines received bronze medals, adding to an impressive medal strike rate of over 71%.

Chair of Judges Nick Ryan said, “This year’s wine show has seen high expectations met and new benchmarks set. The star of the show has once again been chardonnay, further reinforcing the new reality that sees Margaret River dominate the conversation around where the world’s best chardonnay is coming from.

That cabernet sauvignon remained strong despite the challenging chickens of the 2021 vintage coming home to roost is a testament to the viticulturists and winemakers of the region, and the strong performance of semillon, sauvignon blanc and the blends thereof reminded us these styles remain really relevant here.

And the Rose’s?? Well, that’s a whole other story….suffice it to say Margaret River’s reputation as a paradise for pink wines has grown even more.”

Reflecting on the show, Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “To add a bit of fun, this year the seven Rosé gold medal-winning wines were judged ‘in their natural habitat’ at the beachside White Elephant Café in Gnarabup, overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean.  The Rosé Trophy went to the McHenry Hohnen Chloé Rosé  2023, which was a wonderful accident given vigneron Murray McHenry OAM had generously sponsored new custom-tailored P. Johnson Pink Jackets for those that missed out since 2018 as well as for a future five-years.”

Langtons 2023 Margaret River Wine Show Trophies:

Langtons Trophy for Wine of Show
Stella Bella Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2022

Margaret River Wagyu Trophy for Red Wine of Show
Abbey Vale Premium RSV Cabernet Sauvignon 2022

Labelmakers Group of Companies Trophy for White Wine of Show
Stella Bella Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2022

Vinline Mobile Bottling Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor
Stella Bella

Langtons Trophy for Wine of Provenance
Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012, 2015, 2023

Margaret River Wine Association International Judge’s Trophy
Swings & Roundabouts Brash Road Syrah 2022

City of Busselton Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Abbey Vale Premium RSV Cabernet Sauvignon 2022

MCC Trophy for Best Chardonnay
Stella Bella Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2022

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red
Mandoon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2022

Sanector Trophy for Best Single Vineyard White
Snake and Herring Primary Chardonnay 2022

Cospak Saverglass Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021

My Vintner Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc
Mandoon Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Orora Trophy for Best Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Wills Domain Mystic Spring Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Burkert Trophy for Best Other White Blend or Varietal
Xanadu Vinework Chenin Blanc 2023

Fusion Electrical Trophy for Best Shiraz
Credaro 1000 Crowns Shiraz 2022

Chr. Hansen ‘Pink Jacket’ Trophy for Best Rosé
McHenry Hohnen Chloé Rosé  2023

Hahn Corporation Trophy for Best Other Red Blend or Varietal
McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vineyard Tempranillo 2022

The Langtons Margaret River Wine Show was judged at the Margaret River HEART from Monday 16 to Wednesday 18 October 2023.  The 2023 Langtons Margaret River Wine Show full results book is available at margaretriver.wine/show-results/

The Margaret River Fine Vines Festival is a chance to savour the grape!

Held over 10 days and at various venues across the region from 20-29 October we invite you to join us on a journey of discovery.

There are plenty of events for every kind of budget. Because after all, world-class wine does not mean out-of-this-world prices.

Our region’s producers are committed to making the world of wine accessible to everyone, with offerings under $100, including intimate tastings and masterclasses to free gatherings in the name of wine.

If you’re seeking the pleasure of a wine-laden weekend without the price tag, explore our range of budget-friendly events. And scroll to the bottom of the blog for a list of ‘free entry’ events, allowing you to purchase as you go, based on your specific budget.

 

Events Under $100

Women in Wine in Witchy  Sunday 22 October

Join four of the South West wine world’s leading ladies for an afternoon of sipping and snacking in Witchcliffe. Converge on the terrace at the Witch and Windmill in Witchcliffe and enjoy high tea-inspired snacks from local artisans while you sip on small batch wines.

Cath from Arlewood, Liv and Mij from South by South West and Sharon and Alex Peters from Amato Vino will be on hand to chat through their wines and what it’s like to be a woman in wine in here the Margaret River region.

Willespie Cabernet Tasting   Saturday 21 October

Dive into forty years of sensational wine over four tastings with a grand tour through Willespie’s Cabernet Sauvignon. This unique tasting event, focusing on one single varietal, offers a robust understanding of Margaret River’s most renowned and loved grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Come to understand how a great Cabernet ages over time, as the Willespie team dive deep into their cellar, showcasing a Cabernet Sauvignon from each decade between the 1980s and now. During the tasting light lunch will be served on the balcony overlooking the Willespie vines.

 

Patisserie Meets Passel Estate Saturday 28 October

Indulge in beautifully crafted treats alongside equally beautiful wines when Maison Lassiaille teams up with Passel Estate.

Explore the lush grounds of Passel Estate through a progressive wine tasting enjoying award-winning, single-vineyard wines including the rare and exclusive Lot 71 Reserve wines and a museum vintage, all paired with decadent high tea treats with vegetarian options available.

Roam at your own pace or let owners Barry and Wendy Stimpson lead the way, all to a soundtrack of live, classical music. Dress in your most elegant garden party attire but remember to bring appropriate footwear for the vineyard and trails.

Petit Pet Nat Party Thursday 26 October

For the lovers of Pet Nat, the Pet Nat party goes petit this year to offer just 30 guests an exclusive showcase of Western Australian Pet Nats in the Bungalow Wine Room.

Guided by a local wine maker Rhys Parker of Dunsborough urban micro winery Vallee du Venom, you’ll get to taste 6 Pétillant Naturel wines from wineries such as Vallee du Venom, Brave New Wines and L.A.S. Vino, famed for their light fizz and fresh aromatic expression, matched to canapés from the Bungalow kitchen over the course of the evening.

An intimate yet casual affair.

 

SkinSea Saturday 28 October

An unforgettable wine and seafood safari awaits you at Bungalow Social. Traverse through a curated selection of skin contact wines from beloved South West wineries including Vallee de Venom, Black Cocky Wines, Skigh Wines and LS Merchants, to name a few.

Spend your Saturday afternoon sipping your way around the venue, then venture to the seafood station and choose from an array of coastal creations including lobster rolls, prawn cocktails, fresh oysters and seafood skewers to enjoy with your skin-contact wines.

DJs will be spinning vinyl throughout the afternoon and into the evening so stay on for an afternoon of skinsy drops and delectable bites.

 

Busselton Wine Hop Saturday 21 October

This progressive wine tasting through Busselton’s city centre is a multi-stop, self-guided wander where you’ll meet and greet with a swag of Margaret River region wineries at your own pace.

Busselton’s best venues will host several small-scale producers including Credaro, Black Cocky Wines, Churchview Estate, Di Latte Estate, Brookland Valley, Morlet Wines, Vallée du Venom, Cha Cha Wines, Wines of Merritt, Corymbia, Altair Estate, Skigh Wine, Capel Vale Wines and Passel Estate for a low key day of vino and fresh air.

Spaghetti Disco – Wine Hop After Party  Saturday 21 October

Keen to keep on dancing after your time around town on the Busselton Wine Hop? Or just love all things disco and/or Italian and looking for a fun Saturday night?

Join us upstairs at Shelter for the official Busselton Wine Hop After Party; Shelter’s take on Spaghetti Disco (an Italian dance music sub-genre) is all about embracing the flavours of Italy and taking a step back to the disco era of the ‘70s.

DJ Cuppa Tea will spin her favourite disco tunes as you explore a dedicated wine list focussing on Italian varietals grown in Margaret River. A Meatball Sub special to help soak up those tastings from earlier in the day. Guests are encouraged to dress in glitter, jewels, and bright prints.

 

Brunch at the Bazaar Sunday 29 October

Let your taste buds take you on a journey through the Middle East with Inspired Feasts and Mandoon Estate Wines over an exotic, 4-course tasting menu paired with the Mandoon Margaret River range of wines.

Crafted by Inspired Feasts using locally sourced produce, each course will be paired to a carefully curated selection of wines to complement each plate in front of you. Taste Mandoon’s award-winning range of Reserve Sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Merlot made right here in Margaret River.

Free Events

Skip the ticket all together with our free entry events.

 

Strings With Vin Sunday 22 October

Spend a glorious Spring afternoon in the stunning gardens of Skigh Wines listening to the contemporary sounds of string quartet, Dolce Ensembles.

Bring along a picnic or purchase a grazing board from Skigh’s selection of local cheeses to enjoy alongside their much-loved wines. Perfect for a relaxed-paced afternoon with a stunning soundtrack.

 

The Orange Party Sunday 22 October

Head to LS Merchants for volume two of their energetic orange immersion. Gather at their Treeton cellar door as LS assembles their friends from the region to pour a selection of their finest orange wines for you to enjoy.

Dive into the world of skin contact whites and see why they are making waves in the wine world. Food will be available for purchase from local food truck with DJ sets from LS Merchants and friends.

Dressing in orange attire is encouraged.

Open Vineyards Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October

No cellar door normally means no visitation. But for one weekend, Fine Vines Festival has your exclusive invitation to get behind the gate and go between the vines to meet the makers at wineries and vineyards generally not open to the public.

Meet the makers behind some of your favourite Margaret River Region wines and get to understand their own wine making process, right where the magic happens.

 

Margaret River Main Street Takeover  20-29 October

Taste the best of the Margaret River Wine Region in one central location this Fine Vines. From 20-29 October, Margaret River Main Street’s iconic restaurants and bars will join the festivities offering their own unique experiences.

From wine-by-the-glass offers to curated wine lists and opportunities to meet the makers, you can discover a range of Fine Vines wines and experiences right in the heart of Margaret River townsite this October.

The Margaret River Wine Region is brimming with winemakers, wine educators and sommeliers just waiting to pour their wealth of knowledge into your glass, and this year’s Fine Vines Festival is the perfect way to deepen your wine understanding.

Whether you’re just starting your journey or are looking to take your understanding of this world-class region to the next level, there’s an event to suit your level. Here are a few of the ones we’ll be checking out.

Play Your Chards Right: Friday 20 and Sunday 22 October

What is malo? How does oak influence Chardonnay? And why is Margaret River’s climate so perfect for growing Chardonnay?

Learn how to properly taste this iconic Margaret River style in a masterclass with local winemaker and wine educator Charlotte Newton.

Discover the nuances that contribute to the versatility of this flagship white grape, tasting six Margaret River Chardonnays while undertaking a blending exercise using barrel samples, all under Charlotte’s guidance. The best blend takes home a bottle of Charlotte’s own label, ChaCha Chardonnay.

Book Play Your Chards Right

Busselton Wine Hop: Saturday 21 October

This progressive wine tasting through Busselton’s city centre is a multi-stop, self-guided wander where you’ll meet and greet with a swag of Margaret River region wineries at your own pace. Busselton’s best venues will host several small-scale producers, each on hand to share their wine and passion. Accumulate wine knowledge, taste and compare or just enjoy a low key day of vino and fresh air.

Wineries involved in the day include; Credaro, Black Cocky Wines, Churchview Estate, Di Latte Estate, Brookland Valley, Morlet Wines, Vallée du Venom, Cha Cha Wines, Wines of Merritt, Corymbia, Altair Estate, Skigh Wine and Passel Estate.

Want to your Saturday afternoon to keep going into the eve? Join the Shelter crew for Italian Disco – the official Wine Hop After Party!

Book Wine Hop

Behind the Bubble: Saturday 21 October

Have you ever found yourself wondering how they put the sparkle in sparkling wine? This Spring, craft your own bubbles with acclaimed Howard Park winemaker and sparkling wine specialist, Nic Bowen.

Follow the process from barrel to bottle with a winery tour exploring the ins and outs of tirage, disgorging and dosage. Put your skills to the test by creating the perfect sparkling wine.

Book Behind the Bubble

Somm Trek: Saturday 21 October

Uncover your next favourite drop, with the help of a Somm to decode the wine speak. This is the insider’s insider tour: a five-hour, sommelier-hosted vineyard trek with one of WA’s most respected sommeliers and wine educators, Foni Pollitt.

Criss cross the region visiting Windows Estate, Swings & Roundabouts, Marri Wood and Marq Wines with informed commentary from Foni about the wines you’re tasting and the region. Grazing platters await you at Windows Estate with lunch following at Swings & Roundabouts to top off your afternoon.

Book Somm Trek

In Conversation with Andrew Caillard MW: Thursday 26 October

Join author of The Australian Ark, Andrew Caillard MW, for a fireside In Conversation chat with co-publisher Angus Hughson at Voyager Estate. Scheduled for release in November, The Australian Ark is an epic three-volume tome that tells the story of Australia’s wine history from 1788 to the modern era.

Upon arrival, enjoy a selection of Voyager Estate wines and canapés to savour as the conversation begins to flow. A special event for those wanting to deepen their Australian wine knowledge as well as the Margaret River context.

Book In Conversation

Open Vineyards: Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October

No cellar door normally means no visitation. But for one weekend, Fine Vines Festival has your exclusive invitation to get behind the gate and go between the vines to meet the makers at wineries and vineyards generally not open to the public. You’ll get to go behind the scenes at some of your favourite Margaret River Region wines and get to understand their own wine-making process – right where the magic happens.

Buy bottles and get the inside scoop from your favourite small batch producers including Burnside Organic, Jilyara, Frazer Woods, Cloudburst, Trait Wines and more.

View the Open Vineyards blog

South Australia
16 to 19 October
30 October to 2 November

The Advanced Viticulture Course is an intensive four-day course on the latest techniques and technologies in viticulture. Participants travel in a small group across several SA regions to visit sites and meet practitioners who are at the cutting-edge of Australian viticulture.

The course is aimed at practising viticulturists with an interest in innovation. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 20 participants to ensure an intensive and interactive learning experience.

Find out more.

  • AVC #5: Monday 16 October – Thursday 19 October 2023 – REGISTER
  • AVC #6: Monday 30 October – Thursday 2 November 2023 – REGISTER

 Thursday 8 February, 8.45am to 3.30pm

A workshop to explore efficient & effective strategies for lowering inputs & improving production.

Ensuring that the plants we grow get the nutrition they need is important for the robust growth, pest and disease resistance, and yield outcomes we want from our enterprise programs. Current agricultural trends however are seeing a a decline in soil health, this is accompanied by a greater reliance on finite and increasingly costly fertilisers, and inceasing environmental issues that are associated with such practices.

More than ever, there is both an economic and ecological imperative for management practices that look after our soil so that we get better nutrient retention, delivery and cycling, and well informed, targeted fertiliser applications, to achieve desirable plant performance outcomes with minimal waste.

In this one-day workshop with Mark Tupman of Productive Ecology, we will cover the underlying principles and fundamentals of how to:

The day will also include a practical session making and applying nutritional amendments.

Where? Lower Blackwood LCDC Office, 403 Kudardup Road, Kudardup WA 6290

Register here

Friday 29 September, 8.45am to 3.30pm

Lower Blackwood LCDC presents this hands-on 1 day workshop with presenter David Hardwick from Soil Land Food, you will learn the theory behind fermentation based bioferments and biofertilisers.

Learn more and register.

Friday 15 September, 10am to 6pm

The Regional Innovation Summit will explore innovations for sustainable industries in regional Australia by driving discussion on critical focus topics and creating opportunities for collaboration through keynote speeches from industry experts, panel conversations and networking opportunities.

Learn more and register. 

This is Rob Currell, he’s been working at the Cellar Door at Juniper Estate since February 2017.

Rob was working in Leonora at a gold mine during the late 90s. When the price of gold dropped and the mine closed, Rob picked up a job behind the bar at the Margaret River Hotel. After working in a few bars, including Wino’s, now Swings Tap House, his passion for wine landed him a job at Juniper.

Rob’s favourite varietal is Riesling, and he would love to one day visit Germany, especially Mosel, for the fantastic Riesling.

A lover of nature and the coast, Rob is partial to fresh-shucked oysters (Coffin Bay, Streaky Bay or Tassie) and (you guessed it) a glass of Riesling.

We caught up with Rob and asked him a few questions about working in the Margaret River Wine Region.

What’s your favourite varietal and why?

It’s a tough call, but I would have to go with Riesling. I love the way it shines in its youth, and the aromatics and texture it develops over time. It is so representative of it’s time and place, and reflection of the winemaker that I think it is truly a wine that can offer something to everyone. It was also my first serious love when I started drinking wine (Thank you Pikes).

What’s your top tip for visitors to the region? 

Take your time. There is so much to see and do that if you try to cram in to much in too short a time you’ll only end up missing out. Remember, WA stands for ‘Wait Awhile’.

Where is a hidden Gem in the region to visit? 

Are there any hidden gems left in Margaret River?! I’ve always loved nature and exploring. Check out the rock pools along the coast around Yallingup and maybe spot an Occy (watch out for the pretty ones with blue rings). Discover Deadly – A fantastic reptile park in Carbanup and the Boranup Karri Forest.

What makes our region so special?

For me, it’s the diversity of people it attracts. In my role in the cellar door I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to all kinds of people from all over the world, from farmers to astronomers, and everyone has a story to tell.

Singapore Airlines is a proud partner of Margaret River Wine Association. Both entities are passionate advocates of fine wine, sharing a vision to sustain a contemporary and refined selection, whilst remaining committed to providing their network with the highest possible standards of quality in their attention and offerings to their customers.

World-class insights from a celebrated panel of experts

Singapore Airlines takes great pride in wine selection and customers can appreciate extraordinary wines from the finest vineyards located in many prominent wine regions across the globe. With methodical care and deliberation, wines are handpicked by Singapore Airlines’ wine consultants, represented by some of the world’s most knowledgeable and respected wine aficionados:

Collectively, the panel endorses a particular assortment of wines and Champagnes which they believe to be of a certain unmatched standard, and therefore fit to be served on Singapore Airlines flights.

A sophisticated testing and selection process

Continuing a distinguished heritage of delivering people to the finest places in the world, Singapore Airlines also proudly delivers the finest wines from around the world to its guests. Meticulous care is taken to ensure that each passenger is gifted with the quintessential and iconic Singapore Airlines service of luxury and elegance with their selection of wine.

Wines are selected from either a tendered process, where blind tasting is undertaken by the respected Singapore Airlines wine consultants, or through personal visits to vineyards and wineries across different revered wine regions. These careful and delicate approaches allow Singapore Airlines to fortify relationships with exclusive maisons and domaines, to nourish the wine selection opportunities, and ultimately seek to procure the most distinguished wines available.

Personal Sommeliers at 30,000 feet

A devoted appreciation of wine is synonymous with Singapore Airlines, with an expertly trained cabin crew. Their expertise involves identifying the origin and significance of certain wines, commenting on the unique characteristics of different wines, and the ability to recommend a perfect pairing to complement a meal.

Air Sommeliers are present on Singapore Airlines flights and are committed to providing informed guidance to customers and fellow crew members. Air Sommeliers can be identified onboard by a pin reminiscent of small bunch of grapes, worn on their uniform.

An astonishing fleet of awards

With sustained efforts to ensure an unparalleled flying experience and wine selection, Singapore Airlines has been internationally praised, and awarded five gold awards in the Cellars in the Sky Awards in 2022 and 2023. The Airline also holds claim to the coveted Best Overall Cellar for three consecutive years, in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The gold awards garnered include:

This international esteem only reinforces Singapore Airlines’ commitment to offering the finest wines.

An extravagant international menu

Fancy a fine dining experience, delivered at 30,000 feet? Singapore Airlines customers can experience beyond the warm and impeccable service on their next flight in Premium Economy, Business Class, First Class or Suites with ‘Book the Cook’ – their own tailored restaurant in the sky.

‘Book the Cook’ is an extraordinary culinary experience, where customers on selected Singapore Airlines flights may choose from a wide selection of carefully crafted dishes, including creations inspired by Singapore Airlines’ renowned International Culinary Panel. Customers can savour the flavours of the world without ever leaving their seat.

Singapore Airlines has fostered a relationship with seven globally recognised chefs to augment the dining offerings onboard. As connoisseurs in their respective cuisines, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and craft dishes that are inspired by the expansive Singapore Airlines global network, and by their own experiences and cultures.

If you are looking for an unmistakably unique and memorable dining experience, ‘Book the Cook’ by Singapore Airlines is the perfect service. With its variety of dishes and impeccable presentation, Book the Cook is the height of luxury in the sky to complement the famous Singapore Airlines commitment to the highest standards of service to its customers.

 

Online Workshop – Tuesday 26 September, 8am – 9.30am for 5 weeks

For business owners and managers eager to enhance their coaching skills to better lead their teams. Begin with a leadership assessment to understand your natural style of leadership, normally at $150.

MRWA Member Discount – enter code: Margaret to receive $100 off (exp 4 Sept).  Learn more and book here. 

Nine expert wine judges have arrived in the Margaret River Wine Region to judge Margaret River wines for the distinguished International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).

The IWSC has judged in situ programs in South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, Austria and Georgia this year. However, Margaret River is the only wine region in the world where the in situ judging will focus solely on one region’s wines rather than an entire nation’s. It will also be the first time to judge outside of Europe, Africa or South America.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “Securing this amazing opportunity is massive.  It reinforces Margaret River’s reputation as a desirable destination producing high-quality and world class wines.”

“Winning an IWSC medal holds significant prestige, and it can really boost the reputation and assist with sales of a wine.”

The visit will provide a significant opportunity for the judges to dive deep into the region and gain an appreciation of what makes it so unique.

In addition to the three days of wine judging being conducted at Clairault Streicker, the judges will stay in gorgeous beach houses at Smiths Beach Resort and participate in masterclasses, wine tastings and cultural storytelling in some of the region’s most breathtaking locations.

They will also have a chance to discover the region’s quality produce through meals prepared by local chefs including, Ben Jacob of Lagoon Yallingup, Aaron Carr of Yarri and Ben Day of Cullen Wines.

The IWSC results will be announced to the exhibitors on the final day of judging at a sundowner in the Art Gallery at Vasse Felix, and the UK trade will have the opportunity to taste the medal-winning wines at events in London at the Roundhouse on 19 October and 67 Pall Mall on 1 November.

Meet the Judges

Alistair Cooper MW is an independent British wine writer, judge, consultant and educator with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He writes for JancisRobinson.com and regularly contributes to several publications, including Club Oenologique and Decanter. Alistair is also the global consultant wine buyer for the Sydney-based Australian company United Cellars, Australia’s largest independent wine merchant.

Freddy Bulmer is a veteran IWSC judge and wine buyer for The Wine Society, the world’s oldest wine club, where he’s responsible for The Wine Society’s portfolio of wines. He also contributes a monthly column to OllySmith.com and judges in numerous wine competitions. Freddy strongly believes that wine should, first and foremost, be about having fun.

Melania Battiston traded a career in marketing for one in wine, swapping university for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and Court of Master Sommelier (MS) exams. She’s now sizing up what it takes to become an MS. After working as Head sommelier/wine buyer at Medlar, Melania is currently the Junior Food and Beverage Manager at Aman Resorts. In 2022, she won the Young Sommelier Competition and was number 3 on Harper’s Top 25 Sommeliers in the UK.

Libby Brodie is the founder of London-based independent wine consultancy Bacchus & Brodie, co-founder of The Wine Collective and City AM’s dedicated wine columnist with her regular “Wine Without The Snobbery” page. Libby is a qualified wine consultant and self-proclaimed “wine translator” with a passion for accessible, entertaining wine communication. She regularly moderates and hosts panels and events, sources and curates wines for private clients, and guest lectures at Universities on Wine Communication.

Beth Pearce MW is the Buying Director for Lay & Wheeler, one of Britain’s longest-standing fine wine merchants. Before that, she spent ten years at Majestic Wine, initially managing stores in the UK’s South West, followed by five years in the buying team at Majestic Wine, sourcing wines, beers and spirits from around the world for their 200 stores. Beth became a Master of Wine in February 2020 and, in September 2021, won the ‘Outstanding Young Person award at the Vintner’s Company.

Chris Crawford is Group General Manager of Beverage at Crown Resorts (Melbourne, Perth and Sydney). Chris is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers (UK and USA) and a past president of Sommeliers Australia. He is also a senior judge at various regional and capital wine shows and the outgoing chair of the Yarra Valley Wine Show and James Halliday Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge.

Randall Pollard is a Roseworthy (Wine Production & Marketing) Graduate. Since 1999, Randall has been an importer and merchant of fine wines for Melbourne-based Heart& Soil Imports and Randall’s Fine Wines. He’s judged in Australian Capital City Shows widely since 1987 and smaller regional shows since the 1990s. Randall regularly visits many European wine producers, tasting and learning each year. He is a regular tutor at the Len Evans Tutorial.

Emma Farrelly is Director of Wine for the State Buildings & Como The Treasury, where she curates unique wine lists and wine events for each of the award-winning restaurants. For over 19 years, Emma’s passion for the wine industry has produced award-winning wine lists across top venues in Perth. For two years, Emma studied under the guidance of Dr Steve Charters, Master of Wine. Since then, Emma has worked as a Sommelier and consulted on various wine lists and menus, earning her recognition through numerous awards.

Erin Larkin is an independent wine writer and communicator based in Perth. In 2012, Erin left her successful fashion career and moved into the Wine business, where she is now a writer, judge, and presenter. She reviews Australian and New Zealand wines for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and contributes to publications, including The Wine Companion magazine and Gourmet Traveller Wine. Erin is also WSET Level 3 qualified and is a Barossa Wine School Specialist educator. In 2022, she was accepted as a scholar in the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial.

Last week, for the first time in the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s (IWSC) history, they brought in situ judging to Australia and focused on one region, not the whole country. Known as Australia’s ’boutique region’, Margaret River is famous for its premium wines. The quality of the wines did not disappoint, with 92% of entries awarded with a medal.

The IWSC is renowned for assessing wines and spirits and play an essential role in maintaining and elevating industry standards in the world of wines and spirits.

The judges spoke highly of the quality of all entries, noting that the bar had been raised very high. Over 260 wines were tasted, and over 230 wines were awarded with medals – be it gold, silver or bronze, which is an incredible strike rate of over 92%.

The two hero grape varieties of Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, ruled the tasting in terms of the number and the quality of entries and the most medals. Of the 24 golds, 11 were awarded to Chardonnays and 10 to Cabernet Sauvignons.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “We were a bit nervous as we knew the judges were coming with high expectations, but we were so pleased with the whole week. The quality of the wines that the judges tasted both in judging and during the week, and the medal strike rate achieved, even exceed their expectations.

Master of Wine Alistair Cooper oversaw the judging panels, including international and local experts. The international judges who travelled to Western Australia were Master of Wine Beth Pearce, Freddy Bulmer, Melania Battiston and Libby Brodie. They were joined by the Australian wine professionals and communicators Randall Pollard, Erin Larkin, Chris Crawford and Emma Farrelly.

The IWSC judges were utterly impressed with the calibre of Cabernet Sauvignon wines, which showed a real complexity and great ageing potential. They felt that while the 2022 Cabernets were still young, they would develop beautifully in the bottle. “There’s a range of styles in the Cabernet from 2021 and 2022, with some on the more commercial end of the spectrum, with glossy oak and polished pastille fruit, and some wines where the briny, savoury influence creates delicious complexity,” said the judges. “We found high quality and high scores in both camps and a place for both in the global market.” The older vintages, such as 2018 and 2019, showed excellent, firm structure and refined flavours of dry spice and truffles.

One of the gold-winning wines, Cape Naturaliste Vineyard Torpedo Rocks Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, earned a brilliant score of 97 points.  The judges described it as “superb” and praised its alluring nose “with a violet and lavender undertone supporting the fruit. This is supple and, polished and poised. The finish is good, with great Margaret River character.”

As for the Margaret River Chardonnays, the 2022 vintage was proclaimed “stellar” by the IWSC judges, who admired the Burgundy-like flinty character and layers of fruit flavours. The experts appreciated a wide range of Chardonnay styles among the entries, with various approaches to winemaking and, particularly, the use of oak. According to the judges, the most brilliant wines captured the phenolic character of the local Chardonnay clone and the natural zingy pink grapefruit acidity.

The highest-scoring Chardonnay was Stella Bella Wines Luminosa Chardonnay 2022 earning 97 points and a gold medal. The judges admired the vibrant fruit, the skilful use of oak, and the wine’s mineral profile: “Oyster shell, delicate nuttiness, perfectly managed reduction. Exactly what you want from Margaret River Chardonnay. This tastes delicious too, with great structure and layers of flavour. It’s complex and powerful but refined too.”

 Cherubino received an impressive total of 4 gold medals for their Chardonnay wines – Chardonnay 2022, Dijon Chardonnay 2022 and Gingin Chardonnay from Margaret River, as well as Pemberton Chardonnay 2022.

Among other white whites, the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends were the most notable, earning several bronze medals and one strong gold. The gold winner, Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2023, displayed a gorgeous aroma profile of “green pineapple, pine and herbs” and a “juicy and succulent palate, still with a distinct pine note. Feels textural, with lots of citrus zest.”

Shiraz received a few silver and bronze medals and one gold. It may not be the most widely cultivated grape in Margaret River, but it definitely has the potential, according to the IWSC judges. The gold-winning wine, Passel Estate Lot 71 Reserve Syrah 2018, impressed the judges with its Rhone-like character showing “a lot of earthy feral development and truffle. Some mint in the background. More pure and black-fruited on the palate, grainy tannins and fresh acidity.”

Overall, the judges were very impressed by the quality of Margaret River wines, which showed complexity and represented a variety of styles while maintaining a distinctive regional character.

23 Gold Medal-winning wines from Margaret River

97 points Cape Naturaliste Vineyard Torpedo Rocks Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
97 points Stella Bella Wines Luminosa Chardonnay 2022
96 points Robert Oatley Finisterre Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
96 points Churchview Estate The Bartondale Chardonnay 2022
95 points Robert Oatley The Pennant Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
95 points Robert Oatley The Pennant Chardonnay 2021
95 points Cape Mentelle Heritage Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
95 points Cherubino Gingin Chardonnay 2022
95 points Cherubino Dijon Chardonnay 2022
95 points Cherubino Chardonnay 2022
95 points Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
95 points Credaro Family Estate 1000 Crowns Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
95 points Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot 2020
95 points Evans & Tate Redbrook Reserve Chardonnay 2019
95 points Fermoy Wilyabrup Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
95 points Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Chardonnay 2022
95 points Nocturne Single Vineyard Forrest Vineyard Chardonnay 2022
95 points Passel Estate Lot 71 Reserve Syrah 2018
95 points Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
95 points Stella Bella Wines Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2022
95 points Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2023
95 points Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
95 points Voyager Estate MJW Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Discover full medal results here.

The Gold medal wines will be judged again in London by the IWSC experts for potential Trophies, awarded at the IWSC Awards on 19 October.

The IWSC judging in Margaret River was organised in partnership with the Margaret River Wine Association and supported by WA Wines to the World, an industry-led Export Growth Partnership coordinated by Wines of Western Australia, co-funded by DPIRD.

Wednesday 6 to Friday 8 September

A down to earth conference engaging in the most promising agricultural solutions to regenerate soils, draw down carbon, rehydrate landscapes, and restore on-farm biodiversity, helping build farm and community resilience.
Across the two days highly regarded national and international speakers will be exploring:The win-win of regenerative agriculture.

  • The nexus of soil health, plant nutrition & human health.
  • The economics of regeneration: opportunity & challenge.
  • Real life case studies from across the world..

Field trips following the conference will visit local examples of regenerative agriculture in practice, and in-depth training of some key concepts is available over full-day workshops prior to the conference.

Learn more and register here.

 Wednesday 22 November, 8.30am to 9.30am

Join this live briefing, the China Market Webinar, to hear the latest updates on China’s review of duties on Australian wine, the state of the China market, as well as market access and regulatory considerations.

Learn more and register here

We’ve been busy organising activities, finessing events and finalising details for the arrival of nine IWSC Judges in Margaret River Wine Region early next week.

Margaret River wineries have submitted their selection of red, white, sparkling and rosé wines for the IWSC Judging committee.

We are very excited to host the Judges in the Margaret River Region. This year, the IWSC judges have judged in-situ programs with South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, Austria and Georgia. Margaret River is the only wine region in the world where the in situ judging will focus solely on a region rather than an entire nation.

Showcasing the stunning Margaret River Region

But it’s not all about wine.

Over the six-day stay in the region, the judges will visit some of our most breathtaking locations, including places of cultural significance for the Wadandi People.

It’s a unique opportunity for the judges to encounter the region and gain an appreciation of what makes it so special.

While here, the Judges will participate in Masterclasses and tastings in situ at the wineries, where the winemakers will take them on a deep dive of Margaret River’s key varieties, organic wines and sparkling.

They will also have a chance to discover the quality produce and meet the chefs at our finest venues, including Ben Jacob of Lagoon Yallingup, Aaron Carr of Yarri Restaurant and Bar, and Ben Day of Cullen Wines.

Judging will take place over three days at Clairault Streicker, with results announced on the final day of judging at a sundowner hosted by Vasse Felix.

Who is the IWSC?

Established in 1969, the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) is renowned for assessing wines and spirits.

The distinguished organisation comprises expert judges and enthusiasts who conduct blind tastings to evaluate global submissions. In addition, they organise events, workshops, and educational activities to spread the love for wines and spirits and foster understanding of these beverages.

Its core objective is recognising exceptional quality and authenticity in the industry. Winning an IWSC medal holds significant prestige, boosting the reputation of wine and spirit producers.

The IWSC plays an essential role in maintaining and elevating industry standards in the world of wines and spirits.

Meet the Judges

Alistair Cooper MW is an independent British wine writer, judge, consultant and educator with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He writes for JancisRobinson.com and regularly contributes to several publications, including Club Oenologique and Decanter. Alistair is also the global consultant wine buyer for the Sydney-based Australian company United Cellars, Australia’s largest independent wine merchant.

Freddy Bulmer is a veteran IWSC judge and wine buyer for The Wine Society, the world’s oldest wine club, where he’s responsible for The Wine Society’s portfolio of wines. He also contributes a monthly column to OllySmith.com and judges in numerous wine competitions. Freddy strongly believes that wine should, first and foremost, be about having fun.

Melania Battiston traded a career in marketing for one in wine, swapping university for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and Court of Master Sommelier (MS) exams. She’s now sizing up what it takes to become an MS. After working as Head sommelier/wine buyer at Medlar, Melania is now the Junior Food & Beverage manager at Aman Resorts. In 2022, she won the Young Sommelier Competition and was number 3 on Harper’s Top 25 Sommeliers in the UK.

Libby Brodie is the founder of London-based independent wine consultancy Bacchus & Brodie, co-founder of The Wine Collective and City AM’s dedicated wine columnist with her regular “Wine Without The Snobbery” page. Libby is a qualified wine consultant and self-proclaimed “wine translator” with a passion for accessible, entertaining wine communication. She regularly moderates and hosts panels and events, sources and curates wines for private clients, and guest lectures at Universities on Wine Communication.

Beth Pearce MW is the Buying Director for Lay & Wheeler, one of Britain’s longest-standing fine wine merchants. Before that, she spent ten years at Majestic Wine, initially managing stores in the UK’s South West, followed by five years in the buying team at Majestic Wine, sourcing wines, beers and spirits from around the world for their 200 stores. Beth became a Master of Wine in February 2020 and, in September 2021, won the ‘Outstanding Young Person award at the Vintner’s Company.

Chris Crawford is Group General Manager of Beverage at Crown Resorts (Melbourne, Perth & Sydney). Chris is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers (UK and USA) and a past president of Sommeliers Australia. He is also a senior judge at various regional and capital wine shows and the outgoing chair of the Yarra Valley Wine Show and James Halliday Chardonnay and Cabernet Challenge.

Randall Pollard is a Roseworthy (Wine Production & Marketing) Graduate. Since 1999, Randall has been an importer and merchant of fine wines for Melbourne-based Heart& Soil Imports and Randall’s Fine Wines. He’s judged in Australian Capital City Shows widely since 1987 and smaller regional shows since the 1990s. Randall regularly visits many European wine producers, tasting and learning each year. He is a regular tutor at the Len Evans Tutorial.

Emma Farrelly is Director of Wine for the State Buildings & Como The Treasury, where she curates unique wine lists and wine events for each of the award-winning restaurants. For over 19 years, Emma’s passion for the wine industry has produced award-winning wine lists across top venues in Perth. For two years, Emma studied under the guidance of Dr Steve Charters, Master of Wine. Since then, Emma has worked as a Sommelier and consulted on various wine lists and menus, earning her recognition through numerous awards.

Erin Larkin is an independent wine writer and communicator based in Perth. In 2012, Erin left her successful fashion career and moved into the Wine business, where she is now a writer, judge, and presenter. She reviews Australian and New Zealand wines for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and contributes to publications, including The Wine Companion magazine and Gourmet Traveller Wine. Erin is also WSET Level 3 qualified and is a Barossa Wine School Specialist educator. In 2022, she was accepted as a scholar in the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial.

 

Tuesday 13 February, 10am – 11am AWST

A global specialty packaging pioneer, CCL is the largest label company in the world, providing innovative solutions to a wide range of markets globally. In the Australian market, CCL services the Wine & Spirits industry with premium pressure sensitive labelling solutions with a strong partnership approach.

Environmental protection has long been a part of their strategic plan, and in Australia CCL have worked hard to not only reduce our own carbon footprint at each of their manufacturing sites, but also to support and guide their customers on their own sustainability journey, regardless of their production volumes.

In this webinar Taylah Minchington, Key Account Manager at CCL Label Australia will discuss:

She will reference existing sustainably minded label projects and explore the launch of CCL Label’s EcoSelect Range which created a gateway for hundreds of brand owners, winemakers and procurement professionals to access a range of sustainable paper stock solutions in one reference tool.

Consider how you can apply these learnings to your own wine business?

This webinar is free to ALL WCA Members.
Non-Members will be charged $50 + GST to access the webinar.

Register here.

Thursday 1 February 2024 

Traditionally hosted in Coonawarra the 2024 symposium is presented in association with WoWA and sees the joining of forces of Australia’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon producing regions, Coonawarra and Margaret River.

Learn more and book tickets.

Greenhouse gas emissions and more – digging about in Sustainable Winegrowing Australia data

Thursday 31 August 2023 | 10am AWST

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is Australia’s national program for grapegrowers and winemakers to demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainability in the vineyard and winery through the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses. This webinar will provide an update on membership, changes to the member platform, certification, use of the trust mark, new case studies and other activity of the program over the past year.

Presenters: Dr Mardi Longbottom (AWRI)

Register here

A NEW VOICES STORY by Dianne Bortoletto

Italians have left an indelible mark in all corners of the globe, shaping human history and modern culture from arts to science, inventions to architecture and of course, food and wine. In Margaret River, Dianne Bortoletto looks at some Italian influences that add to the region’s story.


Cherubino Wines

Driving into Cherubino Wines, you could pretend you were in Tuscany; the gravel driveway meanders alongside rows of vines toward a two-story Tuscan-looking cellar door, the surrounding garden adorned with large ceramic pots, Cyprus pines and olive trees.

Owner and winemaker Larry Cherubino, a first-generation Italian, explained how his family came to be in Australia, and like many immigrant stories, it’s marred with struggles.

“Grandad immigrated from Calabria in 1939 with the view of setting up a farm in Logue Brook Dam just outside of Harvey (about 90 minutes south of Perth),” Larry said.

“When he left Italy, my grandmother was pregnant with my mum, and the aim was for her to immigrate to Australia as soon as possible. But then the Second World War broke, out and Italy was initially an enemy, and he was rounded up and put in an internment camp.

“It was ten years before my grandmother and mother could come to Australia. My mum was ten years old when she met her father.”

Also born in Calabria, southern Italy, Larry’s father immigrated to Australia in the late 1950s as a 12-year-old boy making the long, arduous boat journey alone to be reunited with an older brother, one of Larry’s uncles, who was already in Perth.

“I’ve still got relatives in Reggio, Calabria. I’m not that close to them these days, but it’s funny when I go back there, there’s lots of familiar-looking people!”

A drone's view of a Tuscan style building surrounded by vineyards

Image: Tuscan influenced architecture of Cherubino Wine’s Margaret River vineyards and cellar door.

Larry, who has 30 years of experience in the wine industry, has spent a lot of time in Tuscany, where Chianti is his drop of choice, and about five years working in Sicily.

“My Italian heritage is a big part of what we what we do and how we go about it,” the father of three said. My grandad had three acres and every inch of those three acres was planted with tomatoes or something you could eat. Yes, we make wine, but we’re ultimately farmers, we grew up on the land and I really put a heavy emphasis on the way we grow and the way we farm, great wine starts in the vineyard. From a winemaking point of view, what’s most important is that everything we make has to be really sympathetic to food.”

When it comes to food, Cherubino Wines has already carved a name for itself in Perth with a slick city cellar and recently opened a 50-seat restaurant Frui Momento, Latin for ‘enjoy the moment’, next door to their Margaret River cellar door.

In Margaret River, Cherubino Wines has 40 hectares under vine, where the focus is predominately Chardonnay, a varietal the region is renowned for. They also have 60 hectares in Pemberton (about two hours south-east of Margaret River), and 100 hectares in Frankland River in the Great Southern (about three hours east) where they grow Italian varietal Fiano. Cherubino Wines were responsible for bringing the first cuttings of Fiano into Western Australia and now boast the oldest and largest Fiano plantings in the state.

Cherubino Wines produces other Italian varietals, notably Nebbiolo, which Larry describes as getting better with every year, as well as white Arneis that originates from Piemonte.

Of the 25,000 cases produced each year, Cherubino Wines exports close to 30 per cent to Europe, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia.


Credaro Wines

One of the oldest names in wine in Margaret River is Credaro, a pioneering family who first started making wine for family and friends 100 years ago, an Italian table wine called Fragola.

Cesare Credaro arrived on the SS Omar from Naples into Fremantle, Western Australia in 1921. With his brother Olympio he moved to the northern part of what is now the Margaret River Wine Region, working on the land to cut sleepers by hand for the railways.

Living frugally and saving all they could, the brothers had an opportunity to conditionally purchase 146 acres (59 hectares) for 500 pounds from the Government, on condition that they had to continue to cut sleepers and thus clear the land for farming. Robert Credaro, Cesare’s grandson, still has the broad axe his grandfather used.

“They had saw pits where they’d roll a big log over and there’d be one guy above and one below in the pit sawing by hand, that’s how they did it,” said father-of-five Robert, who is now semi-retired.

Initially potato and sheep farmers, the Credaro family first planted a commercial crop of vines in 1988, supplying grapes to other wineries. In 2003, Credaro Wines built a winery and established their own label soon after.

“We also farm pomegranates, avocados and a new breed of sheep, with 2,000 breeding ewes,” Robert said.

Over the last hundred years, the Credaro empire and family has grown, but the business remains family-run with the fourth generation now at the helm. The eldest of the four sons and Credaro Wines operations manager, Matt Credaro, works alongside his twin brothers Mike and Chris, while brother Jason, a qualified winemaker, has moved into brewing, but is still involved in the family business.

A group of five men standing between rows of grapevines

Image: Three generations of the Credaro family in the vineyards at Woolston A

“Being a part of the family business is great and a privilege, I enjoy working with my family and my brothers,” Matt said. “I’m not sure my daughters will follow the family tradition of being out on a tractor, but my nephews love it–there’s a few children in generation number five likely to carry on the family tradition.”

Located on Caves Road, the Credaro cellar door is more than a tasting stop. The white stucco building sits within a garden of beautiful rose bushes and mature trees, and the entrance arbour is covered with purple wisteria. Inside, the walls tell the Credaro story with old family photos, and out on the balcony the breathtaking views of the rolling hills make it a popular wedding venue. There’s also a gorgeous clothes and homewares boutique to wander through.

Credaro Wines has four vineyards in the Margaret River Wine Region, a total of 107 hectares growing predominately Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also other varietals includingSangiovese and, excitingly, they have grafted cuttings of Italian varietals Montepulciano, Barbera and Nebbiolo which are expected to produce fruit in the next three years. They produce one million bottles each year and continue to make Fragola, which means “strawberry” in Italian, from the original cuttings from those first vines.

“At the moment, we’re exporting ten per cent of our wines to Singapore, United Kingdom and Taiwan,” Matt said. Future plans for Credaro Wines include making Italian styles when the new vines mature, and in time, opening a new cellar door at their Wilyabrup vineyard.


Mr Barval

One of Margaret River’s smallest producers, Mr Barval, is heavily influenced by owner and winemaker Robert Gherardi’s Italian heritage along with his experience working in Italy’s famous Barolo wine region.

A second generation and dual citizen Italian, all four of Robert’s grandparents immigrated from a small town and alpine valley wine region called Valtellina, famous for Nebbiolo, about 100 kilometres northeast of Milan near the Swiss border.

In fact, the name Mr Barval is an acronym for Robert’s wine experiences: Mr represents Margaret River, Bar represents Barolo, and Val is for Valtellina.

“My grandparents were ‘off the boat’ [arriving in] in Fremantle, and I grew up in Perth’s southern suburbs. We did the holy trinity of typical Italian experiences: every summer we’d make passata, every autumn we’d make wine and every winter we’d do one or two pigs and make salami and sausages. They were such fun days!” Robert said.

“I studied winemaking in my mid-20s and had the desire to do an overseas vintage and get some different experience. A lot of Australian winemakers go to France because we grow so many French varietals, but for me, I had the urge to experience winemaking, but also to reconnect with family and with a culture that I only knew as an Aussie-Italian.”

Following a vintage in Barolo, Robert was offered full-time work, and moved his wife and two young children to Piedmonte where the family lived for a few years. Those traditional Italian winemaking principles he learnt now inform his approach at Mr Barval.

“We make our wines the same traditional way, they are very natural in that we hand-pick, we wild ferment, we don’t fine, we don’t filter. It’s not this more modern natural winemaking phenomena, it’s not the naturalness that’s important, it’s growing the right grape in the right area and looking after it well and capturing the essence of the season.”

What’s interesting about Mr Barval is that they don’t own vineyards, but rather they rent rows of vines from several different vineyards, working with the landowners and tending to those vines themselves, plucking leaves to allow more sun to hit the fruit or directing vine shoots to grow a certain way.

“Renting rows of vines is par for the course in Europe, but here, no one had heard of that system, so we had some convincing to do,” Robert said.“Working with grapes from great sites, that are established and balanced, allows us to make the unfiltered and unfined wines, but in a really fine wine way because we’re working with a base level of grapes that are perfect. Our focus is on the varietals that do really well here, which is Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but we do make a small amount of Nebbiolo too.”

Mr Barval’s first harvest was in 2015, when they made just 4,500 bottles across four different wines. This year, their largest production to date saw them produce eight different wines and 20,000 bottles in total. While highly sought-after domestically in Australia, Mr Barval has exported wine to Singapore, Hong Kong and a selection of private buyers in Europe.

Altro?

There are other small Italian producers and Italian varietals grown in the region. Visithttps://winewa.asn.au/margaret-river/for more information.

 

Thursday 17 August

This session is for vineyard managers and owners looking to safeguard against damage from fungal diseases.  Hear the latest updates from Dr Brandy (Belinda) Rawnsley, Technical Services Lead at Syngenta who will address:

Malcolm Jones will update on spray application and concentration factors.

Register here.

Thursday 13 July 2023 | 10am AWST

This webinar aims to remind growers of the risk of fungicide resistance and to promote good resistance management practices. A presentation from Barbara Hall will cover the basics of resistance to fungicides and the at-risk fungicide groups. Liz Riley will discuss  the practicalities of spraying to control disease and the factors  she considers when putting together a spray program. This will be followed by questions from the audience, including some predetermined questions to bring up common mistakes or misconceptions about fungicide resistance.

Presenters: Barbara Hall, Liz Riley (Vitibit Pty Ltd)

Register here

Friday 21 July and Friday 4 August
10.30am to 2.30pm AWST

With the average age of Australian vineyards sitting at around 40 years, many growers are faced with decisions about what to do with vineyards that are showing declining yields and quality and ageing infrastructure. This year’s ASVO seminar will provide much needed information on both maintaining established vineyards and setting up for success if the decision is to rework or replant.

Friday 21 July Maintaining Established vineyards
Maintaining the long-term vine health, productivity and economic viability of vineyards.
Comparing vine age performance, vine age & economic viability, old irrigation infrastructure and replacements.
Learn more

Friday 4 August Establishing new vineyards
Establishing data friendly vineyards, irrigation design for better water management, automation,
optimising early vine growth, nutrition and weed control.
Learn more

The 2023 ASVO Viticulture Seminar will be held at regional hubs to allow attendees to network and discuss the topics with their peers or watch online if they cannot attend a regional location.

Attendees can register for one or both sessions. The cost for both sessions is $190, with the discounted rate of $133 available to ASVO members.

Register here for the ASVO 2023 Viticulture Seminar.

Gralyn Estate founder, Graham Hutton passed away peacefully on Sunday 9 July 2023.

Graham was a pioneer of the region and together with his wife Merilyn they established Margaret River’s first Cellar Door in 1978. They named it ‘Gralyn Cellars’ a combination of their first names. Graham was a dairy farmer from Capel and moved to the Wilyabrup property in 1968. The early years were spent clearing the 230ha farm, fencing, planting pasture and rearing beef cattle.

The early 1970’s were particularly tough, with beef prices very low. As a result in 1975, Graham and Merilyn decided to diversify and planted a 4.5-hectare vineyard on their farm. They were self-taught winemakers. Graham’s great sense of practicality made possible the vineyard planting and the building of a winery ‘on the cheap.’ In fact there was no other way – with wax lined concrete tanks, dairy coolers, self-help and improvisation being the order of the day.

Graham split the 1800 vineyard posts and strainers by hand, from jarrah trees on the property. There are fond memories of the camaraderie of the region in those early pioneering days, with friends and fellow vignerons offering assistance.

There will be a funeral service for Graham in Busselton at William Barrett and Sons, Bantry Chapel, next Thursday 20 July at 11am. Friends and family are invited to the Cowaramup District Social Club for drinks and light refreshments after the service.

Monday 24 July, 8.45am to 3.30pm

Blackwood River Farm, 210 Campbell Road, Warner Glen

Workshop and Fieldwalk

Presented by farmer, multispecies seeding specialist & seed producer Grant Sims from Down Under Covers, and award winning soil microbiologist, Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott, this one-day workshop and fieldwalk will explore why & how multispecies work to build farm resilience, productivity & profitability.

You’ll also learn about:

A practical demonstration using tools to monitor plant / soil health

Learn more and register.

Cara Newton – Hay Shed Hill
Cellar Door Manager

Meet Cara Newton, for the past 8 years Cara has been working at the Hay Shed Hill cellar door. 

Cara has lived in the Margaret River Region for over 18 years, first working in winery restaurants and then at Clairault Strieker in the cellar door. 

While the Loire Valley, Burgundy, and Italy are on Cara’s bucket list to explore, she is also deeply passionate about the region she lives in, and loves to share her local knowledge with the visitors to her cellar door.

She’s partial to a glass of Chardonnay and loves the pairing of lobster profiteroles from Rustico with Hay Shed Hill’s Block 6 Chardonnay. 

We caught up with Cara and asked her a few questions about working and living in the Margaret River Wine Region.

What is your favourite varietal and why? 
I don’t have one favourite but one of the top ones for me would be Chardonnay. It’s so versatile.  I love how beautifully it can express where it is from and I love that the winemaker can have such an influence in the end result. I love how well it can age and how beautiful and fresh it can be young. 

What’s your top tip for visitors to the region?
Talk to a local. One of my favourite parts about my job is sharing with customers all the awesome experiences I’ve had down here. 

Your thoughts on what makes our region so special?
There is something for everyone down here. So much incredible produce, such a diverse range of places to eat and drink, so many great places for kids. Epic bushland, endless beautiful beaches. Our land here is so ancient, that’s super cool.

Cabin Fever returns for 2023 in a little under two weeks. Spanning 10 days and nights from 14 to 23 July, it’s a time when the Margaret River Wine Region truly comes alive.

The region has such wonderful produce, and together with talented chefs and winemakers, you will be treated to world-class wining and dining.

And this year, wine lovers, you’re in for a treat – there are 21 wine events to choose from!

It’s time to grab your winter jackets and escape the house. Enjoy some good company, feast on wintery fiery delights and taste some fine wines made by our local legends.

Here we’ve selected our top picks for Cabin Fever 2023.

1. Flames + Games: Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July

Spend an afternoon in front of the fire playing your favourite card and board games with a glass of wine.

Hosted by Clairaut Streicker, this free event will liven your weekend and eliminate any winter blues. You can compete for prizes, join the fun of the communal jigsaw puzzle, feast on smoked and woodfired delights from the kitchen and soak up the live blues music. Winter weekend perfection!

2. Ransack the Cellar: Saturday 15 and Saturday 22 July

On consecutive Saturdays during Cabin Fever, Cape Grace is offering a tasting event like no other. Red wine lovers you won’t want to miss this intimate tasting!

This exclusive vertical tasting will take you through their single vineyard, estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, from the 2012 vintage to 2016. Guided by Head Winemaker Conrad Tritt, you will explore the nuances and evolution of these exceptional wines.

3. Yarri at Snake & Herring: Sunday 16 July

Are you curious about winemaking and the processes involved in blending red wines? This is the event for you.

Join Snake + Herring winemakers Tony “The Snake” Davis and Redmond “The Herring” Sweeny in this fun and interactive blending session. You’ll get to taste unfinished wines and learn what’s involved when taking fermented juice to finished wines. Followed by a delicious long-table lunch catered by the team from Yarri.

4. Pie Meets Wine: Monday 17 July

What could be better than sitting amongst the Karri trees in Boranup forest with a winter pie and a selection of red wines?

Award-winning Boranup Pies & Ale will be bringing their award-winning winter pies to warm your insides while you enjoy a wine flight of Fermoy Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, hosted by Fermoy Estate winemaker Jeremy Hodgson. Sounds like a deliciously wholesome afternoon feast!

5. Savouring the Art of Shiraz: Friday 21 July

Savour Syrah and Shiraz at this stunning Masterclass, led by Leeuwin Estate Chief Winemaker Tim Lovett.

Starting with a tasting in the Leeuwin Art Gallery, encompassing two brackets: benchmarking five Shiraz from regions across Australia, followed by a deep dive into Leeuwin Estate’s Shiraz with a tastings from five vintages accompanied by canapés.

After the Masterclass, you will enjoy a three-course Shiraz-centric lunch in the Leeuwin Estate restaurant, paired with the new release 2021 Art Series Shiraz alongside the spectacular 2011 Museum release.

6. Red Hot at Swings: Saturday 22 July

Swing’s Yallingup is opening their doors for a celebration of museum red wines and fiery performances for the final weekend of Cabin Fever.
Enjoy treasures from the Swings ‘Wine Library’ and special access to back-vintage wines, with flame-touched canapés and tasty woodfired bites.

All the while, immerse yourself in the soundtrack from the dual DJ sets of Simon Mellor and Ru Teweeh, for a sensational Saturday night in the Margaret River Region.

7. Rise & Dine: Sunday 23 July

Be treated to a five-course Sunday brunch paired with award-winning wines at Xanadu on the final day of Cabin Fever.

Feed your soul with warm delights from Head Chef Andrea Gasparini’s kitchen and ease into your Sunday afternoon with live music in the cosy winery restaurant.

Head to the Cabin Fever website for more info and to purchase tickets to the events.

Thursday 27 July 2023 | 10am AWST

The long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian wine sector hinges on the health, quality and integrity of its vineyards. Planting material is sourced from nurseries through the grapevine propagation supply chain, which also involves vine improvement organisations, grapevine collections, breeding and clone selection programs, post-entry quarantine facilities and private cutting suppliers. A quality nursery vine ready for planting is one that is of known type, healthy, establishes quickly and performs to expectations in the vineyard. The Australian wine sector currently lacks a quality assurance system which covers the entire propagation supply chain, from collections through to customers. This means that there can be only limited assurance that the material being supplied for vineyard plantings is ‘disease-free’ or of a certain provenance, creating uncertainty for buyers. This webinar provides an update on a Wine Australia-funded project to coordinate a National Grapevine Collection and develop a national certified standard for grapevine propagation material.

Presenters: Nick Dry (Foundation Viticulture)

Register here

Monday 26 – Thursday 29 June, South Australia

This hands-on, intensive four-day course will present the latest techniques and technologies in winemaking and wine production. Over four days, participants will travel in a small group across various South Australian wine regions to visit sites and meet wine, food and industry specialists who are at the cutting-edge of Australian wine production. Learn more.

The results from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards have been announced and Western Australia’s Margaret River has three wines in the competition’s Best in Show.

The Margaret River wines awarded Best in Show were:

From 57 countries 18,250 wines were tasted to select the Best in Show from across the world and Margaret River represented 6% of the Best in Show medal winners.

Margaret River’s superlative success reinforces the region’s reputation of global excellence, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

“If there is a ‘winning region’ in this year’s Top 50 Best in Show selection, it has to be Western Australia’s Margaret River,” said DWWA judges, noting two Cabernets and a Chardonnay made the list.

Whilst Margaret River is known to be one of the most geographically isolated wine regions in the world and produces only 2% of Australia’s wine, this performance also represents 30% of Australia’s 10 medals in the Best in Show list.

Margaret River’s success also continued in the competition’s other awards receiving three Platinum, fifteen Gold, 49 Silver and 34 Bronze medals.

When hearing that Margaret River was awarded 104 medals at the Decanter Wine Awards, Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland said “We are ecstatic with these results which recognise the uppermost quality of Margaret River wines on the global stage.”

“It is really significant, not only because the DWWA is the world’s largest wine competition, but also because of the huge number of 236 judges, including influential wine experts, Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers that come together from 30 nations to make these selections.”

“The exposure to Margaret River wines that these awards provide these international judges, consumers and trade is significant.”

“I am sure the huge number of Margaret River wineries, over 30 wineries, that received one of the competition’s top awards will be celebrating with a glass of something delicious tonight.”

Tina Gellie, Decanter’s Content Manager and Regional Editor for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, who spent a week touring the region in November 2022, said she was thrilled but not surprised by Margaret River’s superlative performance.

‘The region’s unique terroir fingerprint and passion of the producers shines through in the wines, which was not only evident during my visit but clearly also to our expert judges at the DWWA. Congratulations to everyone who submitted wines this year.”

Margaret River Top Results

Best in Show Evans & Tate Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Best in Show Domaine Naturaliste Rebus Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Best in Show House of Cards Ace of Spades Chardonnay 2022

Platinum Clairault Streicker Ironstone Block Old Vine Chardonnay 2020

Platinum Robert Oatley Pennant Chardonnay 2020

Platinum Xanadu Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Brown Hill Estate Ivanhoe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Capel Vale The Scholar Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Capel Vale Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

Gold Domaine Naturaliste Morus Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Gold Domaine Naturaliste Le Naturaliste Cabernet Franc 2020

Gold Fermoy Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Fermoy Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Gold Flametree Wines S. R. S. Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2022

Gold Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Chardonnay 2021

Gold Gralyn Estate Museum Rare Muscat NV

Gold Gralyn Estate Classic Muscat NV

Gold Peccavi The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Gold Stella Bella Suckfizzle Chardonnay 2021

Gold Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Not to be confused with our own Golden Wreath Wattle (Acacia Saligna), Eastern States Wattles have become problematic in the South West due to their previous popularity as ornamental trees & as soil stabilisers.  Weed Wattles are not a problem in their own natural geographic locations where local seed-eating insects keep them in check, but this natural control does not occur in Western Australia where these wattles reproduce prolifically by seed.

Why is that a problem? Wattles are nitrogen fixers. When they grow in an area that has been disturbed, the combination of disturbed soil and extra nitrogen encourages exotic grasses to invade. As the grasses dry out in summer, they increase the risk of bushfire. Fire stimulates more wattle seeds to germinate and a destructive cycle is set in motion. In addition, under optimum conditions weed wattles can form dense, almost impenetrable thickets of trees effectively, wiping out all other native plants and habitat for native animals.

All in all we don’t want them around!

In this practical demonstration workshop presented by well known local ‘weed warrior’ & contractor Rick Ensley from Margaret River Naturals, participants will learn how to identify the different types of weed wattles and some other woody exotic species common to the Lower Blackwood, AND some tips and tricks on how to deal with them using readily available tools.

Event Logistics:

When?  Tuesday July 4th, 2.00pm to 4.00pm

Where? 21 Bessell Road Rosa Glen WA 6285

Cost? This is a free event

What else? Wear appropriate farm footwear (clean) and dress for the weather. For biosecurity reasons participants will be asked to step through a bootwash before and after entering the property.

How? Register your details along with any special dietary needs here.

This event forms part of the LCDC’s Weedwork project, and is supported through funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

11 September 2023 – Howard Park

A TICKET TO RIDE: What is ESG and what does it mean for you?

For wineries of all sizes, addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations is not an option – it is your “ticket to ride”.

Your major wine buyers, as well as your distributors, suppliers, employees, shareholders, bankers and insurers, are going to want to deal with organizations that meet certain ESG standards in the future. If you don’t stack up, you will be left on the shelf.

So what actually is ESG and what does it mean for your wine business? What will you have to do – practically?

Each year, Finlaysons and their friends, Australian Grape & Wine and Wine Australia, visit ten or eleven leading viticultural regions of Australia to impart their legal and commercial wine industry knowledge to winemakers and grape growers. This year they will endeavour to give some deep insights into what this ESG means for you and what you need to do about it.

Attend Finlaysons Wine Roadshow 31 and get yourself a “ticket to ride”.

General Admission $149 per head (plus GST)
Approved Association* Member $99 per head (Plus GST)
Additional Family Members attending a part of a family group receive a further $30 discount

Find out more here and book.

Click here for Margaret River Wine 2023 to 2024 Marketing Opportunites.

Published May 2023.

The IWSC is bringing its international wine awards to Western Australia, in partnership with the Margaret River Wine Association.

Wine judging in Margaret River

The IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) is delighted to announce it will be taking a panel of international experts to Margaret River to judge local wines ‘in situ’ in August.

The same stringent judging process will take place, but producers will benefit from a more convenient, local delivery and the opportunity to bring their wines to the global stage.

IWSC’s CEO, Christelle Guibert, commented, “We are thrilled to be taking our international awards to Australia this year. We have seen the success our immersive judging has had in other countries, including Georgia, Turkey and South Africa, and are sure to see the same triumph in Margaret River in Australia. Both the IWSC and Margaret River’s wines’ history date back over 50 years, and we look forward to joining forces and sharing these world-class wines with our community.”

Regional benefits

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said she is so excited to have retailers, sommeliers and key media from the IWSC, one of the world’s most highly regarded international wine competitions, coming to Margaret River.

“We believe judging Margaret River wines in Margaret River will immerse the IWSC judges in the region, giving them lasting impressions, as well as providing our winemakers an opportunity to meet and create relationships with key buyers and influencers.”

“Partnering with the IWSC will help us showcase some of the best wines from our beautiful region to wine industry professionals and wine drinkers through a program of events and publicity of the awarded wines,” says Whiteland.

A panel of expert judges

The IWSC team of international judges include:

Local Australian judging experts will join the international judges:

 

Judging will take place from Wednesday, 30 August to Friday, 1 September and results will be announced online the following week on 4 September 2023.

Proudly supported by WA Wines to the World; an industry-led Export Growth Partnership coordinated by Wines of Western Australia, co-funded by DPIRD.

2023 proved an extended yet very rewarding vintage in the Margaret River Wine Region. Optimal, dry weather conditions paired with the absence of any significant climatic challenges or disease pressure set the scene for a moderate season, ideal for gentle, consistent ripening across all varieties.     

A slightly cool, delayed start 

Winter temperatures were lower than average, which made for a quick senescence and sound dormancy for the vines. There was markedly less-than-average rain; however, the vineyards received sufficient supply to recharge soil moisture levels, paving the way for a promising growing season ahead.

The growing season began with a late budburst after a relatively cold winter that pushed vine development back by about 2-3 weeks. Spring saw less rain and cooler conditions than usual, resulting in a slow start to canopy growth and an extended flowering period for early bloomers like Chardonnay. Good fruit-set across most varieties resulted in generally higher yields than average.

Consistently warm, dry summer 

Low November rain slowed into an even drier December, January and February, with less than 2 mL of rain falling collectively across the summer season. January brought consistently warm, sunny days, which saw vines start to catch up nicely on their development. Veraison was delayed by 2-3 weeks for whites and one week for reds. February, dry with plenty of sunshine and no extreme heat, provided perfect ripening conditions and harvest starting around the middle of the month.

Cold southerly breezes blowing off the ocean and cool mornings, evenings and nights helped retain natural acid in the fruit. At the same time, short periods of peak heat during the day were ideal for slow, even ripening across all varieties.

Disease pressure was minimal in the region due to seasonal consistency and dry conditions stretching from January until the middle of April. The Marri tree blossom was scarce this year, which made grapes an easy target for the native birds, and as a result, bird netting and monitoring were vital.

Reds roll off gracefully

The warm, dry conditions that kicked off the season continued for most of the reds, with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon rolling off the vine gracefully. Temperatures were a bit cooler in April, meaning it took longer for tannins to soften and for flavour to develop fully. However, the sunny, dry weather that held out until mid-April meant the fruit could remain on the vine until it was ready. Some heavy rains in mid-late April pushed out the red harvest slightly for some later ripening vineyards.

Alex Miller, Technical Viticulturist at Voyager Estate, explained, “What started as a slow burn in spring for the viticulturists resulted in a glorious summer of optimal temperatures, rewarding us with classy fruit befitting our regional reputation. April evolved into a typical patchy weather pattern as producers raced against the season’s end. Fortunately, Cabernet Sauvignon berry skins are sturdy and can withstand the dip in temperature and the odd shower. All round, another epic vintage in the bank.”

2023: An Excellent Vintage 

Despite minor weather events towards the end, 2023 proved a fantastic vintage. As winemakers taste the wines as they finish fermentation, they can already see the incredible quality of what has come off the vineyards. The region’s hero varieties, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, stand out for vintage 2023. The Chardonnays are elegant and fresh with lovely natural acidity. The Cabernet Sauvignons are inky and dense, showing great intensity and a very fine tannin structure.

The region’s volume is estimated to be approximately 34,000 tonnes this year, and 6% higher than the 5-year average. The increased yields and superb quality across the region bode well for the 2023 vintage wines.

“In summary, 2023 will be remembered as an excellent vintage in Margaret River.” writes Glenn Goodall.

Sustainability Surged in 2023

For Vintage 2023, Margaret River vineyards and wineries participating in Sustainable Winegrowing Australia grew significantly to 96 members.

The 47 Certified Vineyards Members account for 1,876 hectares or 32% of Margaret River’s vineyards. An additional 22 vineyards are working towards certification. Margaret River also boasts 13 Certified Wineries that crushed 14,641 tonnes last year.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “Our Association’s Sustainability Plan was established out of a conviction to fulfil our custodial responsibilities. It recognises the importance of protecting our region’s rare biodiversity, exceptional environment value and capacity to produce some of the world’s best wines.”

“A major focus of the plan is onboarding our members to the national Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program, which aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and focuses on soil, water, people, biodiversity, energy and waste. Kate Morgan, MRWA’s Sustainability Officer is working with members to achieve certification and build additional value for their wines.”

A New Voices Story by Leah Clearwater

Next time you venture into a vineyard, ask which grape clones are planted there and you’re bound to hear a series of unfamiliar codes that sound a bit too “sciencey” to be related to the romance of wine.  Most wine lovers are content to have a solid grasp on what the main grape varieties are, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc, and so on. However, an understanding of grape clones and the important role they play towards wine style adds another intriguing dimension when considering the wine in your glass.

If Wine was Marvel, the Greatest Grape Clones would be the X-Men

Clones are essentially the “X-Men” of the wine world, mutants of the Vitis Vinifera species. Each clone has a gene sequence which imparts uniquely sought-after qualities, or ‘superpowers’ in wine.  They are generally named after their place of origin, a research field code, or a combination of both.

Originating from a special ‘mother vine’, clones are reproduced via nursery cuttings which are used to plant vineyards. No-one knows exactly how many clones exist, as natural genetic changes can occur spontaneously, and new clones are identified and released by universities every year. You will also find that each wine region has its own favourites due to the suitability of particular clones to the soils and climate of the area.

The Clonal Kings of Margaret River

Despite the wide range of wines coming out of Margaret River, Chardonnay and Cabernet reign supreme as the flagship wines of the region, and receive the most acclaim internationally. Their status is firmly associated with two heritage clones; Gingin for Chardonnay and the Houghton selection for Cabernet.

The Gingin Jedi

Introduced into Western Australia in 1957, the first Gingin cuttings were sent to Australia by Professor Harold Olmo who originally imported the clone as a grapevine virus indicator. Introduced to Margaret River in 1975, Gingin quickly became recognised for its iconic quality attributes and low-yielding nature. Today, Gingin is the most widely planted clone in the region.

Gingin is the preferred clone of many winemakers due to a phenomenon colloquially referred to as ‘hen and chicken’ and technically termed ‘millerandage’. The poor ability of this clone to set fruit results in small, loose bunches made up of a mix of large (hen) and small (chicken) berries. This distinctive feature creates wines in which ripe fruit characters and rich acidity coincide.

Clone Wars – Chardonnay

The main clonal players in ‘Battle Chardonnay’ are Gingin and the Dijon (Burgundian) clones 95 and 96. Although Gingin wins the war regarding percentage of vineyard area, the jury is out on which is the better clone, with winemaker preference being the greatest influence.

Cliff Royle, winemaker at Flametree Wines, prefers to use Gingin fruit to create his award-winning Chardonnays.

“Gingin is all about concentration, freshness, purity and acid. There’s plenty of flavour in the big berries and lots of acid and concentration in the little ones. I love the line of citrus, stone fruit and dried pear in the fruit profile and the naturally balanced juices we get to create wines from. This clone gives texture and complexity that no other clone can compete with”.

Dijon clone vines are higher yielding with more uniform bunches and entirely different acid and flavour attributes, which lean toward finer, more savoury and mineral elements in the wine.

When Stuart Pym, owner and winemaker at Flowstone Wines, had the opportunity to compare Chardonnay clones, it was Dijon that won the day.

“For me, it was clones 95 and 96 that really stood out. They offered lovely textures and flavours, but still an open nature to the palate that allowed further complexing elements. Not as focussed as Gingin, but more subtle and textural. So, for me, the Dijon clones 95 and 96 allow Chardonnay to be textural, elegant and complex. As such, my Chardonnay vineyards are planted to these clones, and the wines certainly demonstrate this.

So, who wins this clone war? In the case of Margaret River Chardonnay, I think we’re all happy to declare a truce. The advantage of having two outstanding genetic players in the region is that winemakers can create a diversity of styles and are able to utilise the individual characteristics of each clone to craft complex and layered blends.

 The Houghton Heroes

The history of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is founded on vine cuttings loosely referred to as ‘Houghton clones’. No-one took much notice of these until the 1930’s when vignerons were prepared to overlook the low-yielding nature of the clone due to its outstanding quality. This is when Jack Mann, WA winemaking legend and founder of Houghton Wines, took cuttings from the old bush vines located throughout the Swan Valley near Perth and established the “Houghton Cabernet Block”. Cuttings from this block became the vineyard planting material for the pioneers of the Margaret River Wine Region.

Many people mistakenly refer to a singular Houghton clone, when in fact there is a collection of different clones. Their commonality is found in that they were selected from the most superior vines in the original Houghton Cabernet Block.

 Clone Wars – Cabernet Sauvignon

After an initial flurry of plantings in the early days of the Margaret River wine industry, the vines in the Houghton Cabernet Block were neglected from the mid 70’s through to the 1990’s. During this period all the focus was on the new kid on the block, clone SA-126 from South Australia. It is not clear why this clone flourished so greatly in comparison, as it is higher yielding and tends to produce lighter, more tannic wines.

So, who is the winner here? Vasse Felix winemaker Virgina Willcock, weighs in on the discussion,

“Houghton Selection appears to be synonymous with a Margaret River Cabernet style. It is our heritage clonal material, and it imparts beautiful succulence and transparency, allowing the regional characters of forest, ocean and red gravel to show through in the wine. Clones from this selection offer lightness and freshness of red fruit and a fine tannin profile, bringing an amazing balance to the wine in a savoury context. We find Houghton clone wines have less tomato leaf character than SA126 and have greater ability to retain elegance and finesse while still holding the power of great Cabernet”.

Keith Mugford of Moss Wood sees the merits of both clones while acknowledging the specific requirements for getting things right with SA-126.

“The Houghton clones produce fruit aromas in the blue and black spectrum, giving a nose with blueberries and mulberries, combining with lifted almost floral scents like violets and roses but retaining the complex background of cedar and tar.  Houghton clone wines are quite different to those made with SA-126.  The Houghton clones have a more rounded tannin structure and give a generally softer “feel”, while SA-126 has more concentrated, drying tannins and needs to be picked riper to achieve good balance”.

Although both sets of clones can create Cabernets of distinction, regional tastings held over the years have established a clear preference for the lower-yielding vines from the Houghton clonal selection. Further validation has been achieved through clonal trials and research projects comparing the vine and wine characteristics of numerous Cabernet clones, where the ‘Houghton Heroes’ prevail every time.

A Universe Unfolds

The battle of the clones has been raging across the world for centuries now, with each global wine region treasuring their specific collection, and each individual winemaker optimizing their style via clonal choices.

At just 54 years old, the Margaret River Wine Region has a comparatively small library of clones at its disposal and is very young by international standards. Yet, in a very short period it has established itself as a serious star in the universe of wine and much of this can be credited to the X-Men at play.

Tuesday 26 September, 9am to 4.30pm

Lower Blackwood LCDC Water on Farms in a Drying Climate

Learn about practices, tools & technology that will assist in managing water on the farm with the utmost efficiency. Presented by Hydrologist Lance Mudgway from the Mulloon Institute, and agroecologist David Hardwick from Soil Land Food.

Learn more and register.

 

27 March 2024, Adelaide

Build focused wine growth strategies in key international markets
The Summit aims to educate and share the collective knowledge of industry leaders’ experiences to better inform and educate wine businesses, so they can enhance their commercial outcomes, grow export markets and position their brands in a positive position globally.

The Summit will focus on established markets such as the UK, USA and Canada as well as other markets where there are business opportunities for wine brands, including New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and other South East Asian markets.

Event details:
When: Wednesday 27 March 2024
Time: 9 AM – 5:30 PM
Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre

Register here.

Call-out for speakers and interested partners

Partners – we invite interested Sponsors to get in touch with us to discuss how they can leverage this highly regarded platform to showcase their organisation to an engaged audience. Download the Partner Information Pack for more information.

Speakers – if you’re interested in speaking at the Summit, please contact Alex Gibbs at [email protected]

Monday, March 11th 2024 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Business Hub Boardroom, Margaret River Chamber of Commerce

Overview of the Fair Work Amendments and Impact on Growers, along with an Introduction to Ethical Sourcing.

Register here. 

Friday 12 May 2023
8:30am to 12pm

Australia’s wine industry is already feeling the effects of climate change. Our weather is becoming increasingly variable, with more frequent extreme weather events affecting vine productivity. Summers are becoming steadily hotter and drier, leading to changes in vine phenology, with grapes ripening earlier and over a shorter period. This can result in vintage compression and grapes being harvested at increasingly high sugar levels. In the longer term, we may start to see changes in pest and disease pressures, increased water restrictions, changes in suitability of traditional winegrape varieties in some regions, and trade restrictions related to international carbon tariffs.

This workshop will take an in-depth look at the climate change projections for your region and their impact on grape production. It will then discuss key climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for the vineyard.

Margaret River Education Campus
Lot 272 Bussell Hwy
Margaret River WA 6285

Cost: $35 per person, inc. GST
Including morning tea

Register here.

Thursday 3 August 2023 | 10am AWST

Wine Australia’s annual National Vintage Report is a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the Australian wine crush. It is produced on behalf of the wine sector based on survey data collected across all winegrowing regions in Australia. The survey is estimated to account for over 90 per cent of the total crush. This webinar will present a summary of the 2023 National Vintage Report, including an estimate of the total crush in Australia in 2023 and how it compares with 2022 and the long-term average; a summary of the grape crush in each region; a look at trends in varieties – increases and decreases; and an analysis of grape purchase value by variety and region including price dispersion.

Presenters: Sandy Hathaway (Wine Australia)

Register here

Samantha Bradley – Xanadu Winery
Cellar Door Assistant Manager

A sea change from Perth in search of world-class wine, unspoilt coastlines and beautiful forests led Samantha Bradley to quit her engineering job in Perth and buy a house in Margaret River.

As a long-time customer and big fan of Xanadu Wines, it was the first place she contacted for a job after completing her wine studies and the rest as they say is history.

A daughter of a wine merchant in the UK, Sam always had a strong interest in wine and food, with Champagne and smoked salmon blinis or Vermentino and ceviche as some of her favourites at the moment. Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley is on her travel bucket list, but it is Chardonnay, particularly from Margaret River, more specifically Steven’s Road, that she really finds exceptional.

With some wine studies and two years as the Cellar Door Assistant Manager at Xanadu, Sam has not looked back!

We asked Sam a few Q’s to share with us:

The Margaret River Wine Region is always ready to welcome guests from Western Australia, interstate and overseas. Every year, the region attracts a staggering 1.5 million overnight visitors, who are drawn in by the appeal of the 100-plus cellar doors that range in style from quaint owner-operated tasting sheds, through to many of Australia’s most coveted winery destinations.

There is no denying that the Margaret River Wine Region has cemented itself as Australia’s principal region for wine tourism. This status attracts some serious wine aficionados, but the region prides itself on catering to all levels of wine lovers with a range of experiences for you to explore. That being said, navigating a wine-tasting can often feel overwhelming for newbies so we thought we would lay out some helpful tips to consider when visiting the many wineries our region has to offer.

Make a booking

To avoid disappointment, it is always best to book ahead. As mentioned above, the Margaret River Wine Region is an extremely popular destination and although you can always find a quiet corner to escape the crowds if you want to go to a certain winery then booking in advance is always the way to go. By making a reservation, you are ensuring that the winery is ready to welcome you and give you the best possible experience.

Don’t fret the Tasting Fee

The days of wandering in a winery and tasting through their full range without spending a dime are behind us. The good news is that now for only a small tasting fee, you get a curated, unique experience that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of wine. Plus, the fee is often redeemable with a bottle purchase, but bear in mind this is not always the case.

Don’t walk through the vines

Help protect the vines that make Margaret River wines so special. When visiting our pristine wine region, please refrain from walking amongst the vines as your shoes and clothing can spread pests and diseases. By refraining from doing so you are helping to preserve our unique terroir!

Go beyond the Cellar Door

COVID changed everything when it comes to wine tasting. Now that we are on the other side, things are returning to normal, but one of the best outcomes was the increase in amazing bookable wine experiences whether that is a tasting flight or a full-on winery and vineyard tour. Take advantage of these new opportunities to go beyond the cellar door. It may mean you won’t be able to see as many wineries in one visit, but the once-in-a-lifetime experiences you will uncover will be well worth it!

Don’t pour your own wine

We have all thought about it once or twice. When there is a bottle of wine right in front of you begging to be poured, it is tempting to do it yourself, but please leave it to the professionals. If a bottle happens to be left in front of you it is most likely so you can snap a picture for Insta or admire the artwork on the label. It is not an invitation to serve yourself.

Yes, you can spit

When tasting a wine, it is customary to observe the colour first as it can tell you quite a bit about what is in the glass. Next swirl the wine to fully unleash the array of aromas then use your nose to assess the many layers of a wine’s bouquet. Finally, after using sight and smell to observe the wine, it is time to sip. Enjoy and savour the wine as it moves through the palate revealing flavour, texture, and acidity. Then feel free to spit. It is common practice among wine professionals and is not considered rude. By spitting out the wine, you can taste at multiple cellar doors and still ensure that you are drinking responsibly.

Take a Trail

Plan out your route! The Margaret River Wine Region spans 110 kilometres and with over 100 cellar doors, it can be quite overwhelming. That is why we recommend that you plan out your trip. Find wineries and restaurants you want to go to and then map out the best route to visit them.

If you need a little help with planning your trip, look no further than our self-drive food and wine trails. With eight different tailor-made routes covering everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet, Lo-Fi to family-owned, it is a wonderful way to discover what makes the region so special. Here is the link: https://margaretriver.wine/trails/.

Drink Wise

While we want you to come to the region and visit as many cellar doors as possible, we also encourage you to remain responsible with your consumption of alcohol. We recommend that visitors to the region don’t drink wine on an empty stomach, drink plenty of water, use spittoons and if planning to drive, choose a designated driver or take a guided wine tour. Bear in mind that tasting pours are generally 15 millilitres so 6 pours equal one standard drink. #drinkwise #drinkaware

Don’t feel like you have to pick and choose

With so many cellar doors in Margaret River, there are plenty of options to choose from, but when it comes to shipping the region’s wine home you don’t have to choose. With the region’s mixed-case shipping option, you can select a range of wines from different producers to send in one box. Find out more through this link: https://margaretriver.wine/mixed-case-shipping/.

Don’t forget food

The Margaret River Wine Region and surrounding areas of the south-west of Western Australia are renowned for exceptional local produce that complements the wine perfectly so why not add a culinary experience to your visit? Whether you are interested in a gourmet platter or six-course degustation, you can find plenty of fabulous options dotted across the region. Plus, it will help you to drink responsibly!

Dress to Impress

Being a coastal region, it is quite tempting to head out for a tasting straight after a swim at the beach. This is even encouraged at some of the more casual cellar doors in the region! However, for the most part, you want to aim for smart casual attire. At the bare minimum make sure you have something to throw on over your bathers plus some shoes!

If you happen to be taking advantage of one of the many local, bespoke experiences, be sure you were the appropriate shoes. Generally, if you are going to be touring a winery or vineyard, you will need close-toed footwear. Also, it is always good to note not to wear perfume or aftershave when wine tasting as it can interfere with a wine’s subtle aromas and nuances.

In conclusion, we wish you a wonderful wine tasting experience in the Margaret River Wine Region. At the end of the day, what is most important is that you enjoy yourself, discover something new, and learn more about the delicious drop we so adore. Happy tasting!

 

 

Help protect the vines that make our special wines.

Margaret River is one of the unique wine regions in the world that can grow vines on their own root system due to the absence of the vine pest Phylloxera (fil-ox-era). The minute aphid-like pest attacks grapevine roots and causes decline in vine health and ultimately impedes the vine’s capacity to produce. For more information visit the Phylloxera website.

Your shoes and clothing can spread pests and diseases.  Please ensure you help protect Margaret River vines from phylloxera and other pests and diseases whilst visiting our region.

Please don’t walk amongst our vines.
Please do not enter vineyards without permission
Please observe biosecurity protocols during your visit.

Margaret River wine sign

 

Margaret River wineries have curated a great line up of special events for you to enjoy this Summer! ☀

Remember to DrinkWise

We recommend that visitors to the region don’t drink wine on an empty stomach, drink plenty of water, use spittoons and if planning to drive, choose a designated driver or take a guided wine tour. Bear in mind that tasting pours are generally 15 millilitres so 6 pours equal one standard drink.

After the overwhelming success of our inaugural Wine Community Revegetation Day at the Rivermouth foreshore last year, we are pleased to announce that the date for 2023 has been scheduled for Friday, 2 June. With the tremendous amount of interest shown in 2022, we look forward to even more participation this year!

17 June 2022 marked the very first Revegetation Day organised in partnership with Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River. Over 60 eager volunteers from local vineyards, wineries and cellar doors turned up to lend a helping hand showing a huge amount of excitement and support for our revegetation initiative. In fact, the event was so popular that a volunteer waitlist had to be put in place!

The aim of this wine community conservation effort was to give back to the unique and pristine coastland that gives rise to the distinct and expressive wines that have put Margaret River on the map. The Rivermouth was chosen specifically as the site for this revegetation day due to its significant cultural, marine and terrestrial biodiversity value, not to mention its importance as a recreational hub for locals and visitors alike.

The focus of the day was to work on the degraded areas of this coastal epicentre removing weeds, managing access, stabilising dunes and replanting key native species. The Rivermouth foreshore is an incredibly vital yet fragile ecosystem, made even more so due to its popularity as a cherished surf and swim spot in the summer months. By blocking unapproved access trails, removing onion weeds, planting native seedlings, and covering those newly planted cuttings with a protective layer of brush, we were able to ensure this precious area will continue to thrive for generations to come.

After observing the outpouring of support for the 2022 Revegetation Day and the incredibly positive impact our efforts had on this beloved section of coastline, we decided to make this an annual event and got straight to work planning the 2023 event.

On 27 January 2023, we partnered with Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and Cape Mentelle Vineyard to hold a fundraising movie night at the winery’s iconic outdoor cinema, screening Blueback. It was a heartwarming film and the experience was further elevated by Cape Mentelles’ world-class wine and Little Hand Dumplings’ handcrafted delights. Tickets sold out and the evening ended up raising over $6,000, all of which will go directly towards our 2023 Revegetation Plans, a key part of our Sustainability Action Plan.

If you are wondering how you can get involved in helping to protect and preserve this fertile, yet fragile coastland, keep an eye out for more information on the 2023 Revegetation Day set for 2 June. We look forward to seeing you there!

Can’t possibly wait until June? Well, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and Nature Conservation are looking for volunteers to help protect the Gnarabup Headland area at their first community coastal rehabilitation session of the year on Sunday, April 2nd between 10 am and 12 pm. Find out more information through the link below.

https://natureconservation.org.au/blog/volunteers-needed-to-care-for-gnarabup-coast/

12 – 14 May 2023

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival is a storytelling spectacular, presented by Arts Margaret River.

www.mrrwfestival.com

Tuesday 9 & Wednesday 10 April 2024

Attend the IWINETC 2024 to discover the inspiration, business connections and content you need to create world-class wine and culinary tourism experiences for your customers.

Learn more.

Wednesday 22 March

SW Labour Solutions is presenting this online information session for members seeking new solutions to secure staff in their business. Through the PALM scheme, eligible businesses can recruit workers for seasonal jobs for up to 9 months or longer-term roles of between one and 4 years in unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled positions. These longer-term engagements allow for stability in key positions.
Learn more and register for the session on Wednesday 22 March from 10am to 11am here.

Whilst living, travelling, visiting and holidaying on Wadandi Boodja, we ask that you respect the area and walk softly on the country, taking the time to listen to Boodja (Country) as she Wongi (talks) of the season, and leave nothing but footprints.

–  Pibulmun Wadandi Yunungjarli Elder Wayne Webb.

Thursday, February 23rd, marked the inaugural Pre-Vintage Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony presented by the Margaret River Wine Association and Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association. The gathering centred around welcoming those arriving in the area to help with vintage and sharing with them the beautiful culture and history of the traditional custodians, the Wadandi (Saltwater) people.

Set at the serene Pioneer Park Amphitheatre in Cowaramup, the evening began with the musical stylings of local guitarist and vocalist, Dan White. His laidback, acoustic tunes filled the air as the sun dipped down behind the treetops and blanketed the park in dappled golden light. Viticulturists, winemakers, cellar hands, vineyard workers, as well as local community members, trickled in with chairs, eskies, and picnics in tow. It was a joyous scene as friends reconnected, colleagues kicked back and vintage teams swapped stories.

As everyone settled into their own patchwork of blankets and camping chairs, quiet settled over the crowd. That is when Amanda Whiteland, CEO of the Margaret River Wine Association, took the stage. She welcomed all and thanked the hard-working individuals who have come to the region to lend a helping hand during this busy period. She then recounted the start of vintage 2023, noting that despite a slow beginning to the growing season, the consistently warm and sunny days of January and February mean the region is on track for a fabulous vintage.

Next Stuart Hicks, Chair of the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association Directors, spoke to the unique makeup of our coastal region with its meld of locals as well as interstate and international transplants. He asked anyone whose parents and grandparents were born in the region to put up their hands. With only several hands raised, Mr Hicks acknowledged the far-reaching heritage of the Wadandi people whose connection to this land dates back over 50,000 years.

Mr Hicks invited to the stage Wadandi Pibulmun Elder, Dr Wayne Webb and Iszaac Webb of the Undalup Association, who then welcomed the group onto their ancestral land and spoke of the Bunuru season. It is one of the six ancestral seasons of the people of Wadandi Boodja and stretches from February to March covering a vast majority of the vintage period.

Iszaac spoke of the name of the land on which we stood, ‘Cowaramup’. Although often incorrectly associated with cows, the name actually means ‘place of the purple-crowned lorikeet.’ He then recounted a Wadandi legend surrounding the Cowara bird and how it stole fire from the thunder and lightning gods. This led quite naturally to the smoking ceremony.

Traditionally, a smoking ceremony is used to cleanse and purify the spirit, body and soul and signifies the beginning of something new. As such, it seemed the perfect way to signify the start of this exciting time for the local wine industry. Wayne and Iszaac lit the smokebush and guests had the opportunity to bathe in the cleansing plumes of smoke. Attendees were also invited to daub their faces and hands with white ochre to show their connection to country.

With Dan White once again spreading the good vibes with his guitar, people took turns kneeling by the fire pit, painting their faces, and chatting to Iszaac and Wayne. Folks mingled and caught up, soaking in the last glimmers of evening light before eventually calling it a night.

Altogether it was a spectacular way to welcome newcomers and celebrate the start of harvest. It offered the rare opportunity to reflect on the remarkable history of the region while looking with eager anticipation to what the future of vintage 2023 may have in store. The Margaret River Wine Association has declared that this will now be an annual event and we cannot wait to see how it continues to evolve in the years to come.

The 2022 Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Impact Report was released on February 28, and Margaret River Wine Region’s adoption of the program is leading the nation.

To coincide with its release, the Margaret River Wine Association advised there has been significant growth and support of the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program in the region over the last two years.  The Margaret River Wine Region now has 51 certified members compared to only 18 members in 2020.

Whilst Margaret River crushes less than 2% of Australia’s wine grapes, a disproportionate number of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program members are in Margaret River, with 17% of Winery Members, 8% of Vineyard Members and 14% of Certified Members.

Currently, the Margaret River Wine Region Members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia include:
67 Vineyard Members. 40 Certified Vineyard Members
19 Winery Members. 11 Certified Winery Members
7 Wine Business Members

The Margaret River Wine Region’s 40 certified vineyards cover 1,543 hectares, or 26% of the region’s vineyards.   The 11 certified wineries crushed 12,786 tonnes in vintage 2022.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “The innate suitability of Margaret River’s land and climate to fine wine viticulture enables vignerons to grow outstanding grapes while working with the environment holistically. ”

“The Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program helps growers and wineries formalise their approach and put continuous improvement at the heart of their sustainability plans.”

“It is great to see vineyards and wineries taking their commitment to the next level through certifications.”

The Margaret River Wine Association is progressing towards an ambitious goal to achieve 100% of members compliant to the national Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program, and 50% certified by December 2025.

Search Sustainable Winegrowing Australia members here.

ADOPTING ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC PRACTICES

A growing number of vineyards are embracing reduced chemical use along with more regulated organic and biodynamic practices to maximise vine health and minimise harm to the surrounding ecology, returning good inputs such as compost back to the land.

At present, 738 hectares, or 12.6% of Margaret River Wine Region’s vineyards are certified organic or biodynamic.  An additional 25 hectares of vineyards are in conversion and expected to be certified by the end of 2023.

Search certified as organic and biodynamic grape growers and wineries in Margaret River or those in the process of gaining certification here.

Wednesday 15 March, Flinders University Adelaide

Join innovators in the fields of viticulture, wine, and tourism technology showcasing their game-changing ideas. Get an inside look at the latest advancements in the wine industry, from grape to glass, and network with like-minded individuals.

Learn more and register here.

In this webinar DTC Business Coach and Strategic Consultant, Georgia Rasmussen will look at benchmarking your existing DTC Channel vs the Global DTC Winery Market. Through that process, Georgia will discuss and define the key metrics you should be tracking to measure your success, and will then walk through how to prioritise your to do list drive program improvement.

Wineries attending this Webinar are likely to be at different stages of the growth curve, but there will be something for everyone in this hour of talking DTC.

Registration is free to ALL WCA Members, Non-Members will be charged $50 + GST.

Find out more and book here.

The world of social media continues to evolve. Video continues to be king of content and we compete for attention given the average social media user accesses on average seven platforms. In many instances, it’s pay-to-play to ensure that your messaging is even seen. Join us as we explore the social media landscape in 2023 and talk about how to think differently about using these tools in your marketing mix.

This webinar will include some of the trends presented at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego the week prior.

When: Thursday 23 March, 2023
Time: 12.30-2pm AEDT
Cost: $50pp

Book tickets.

Wednesday 5 April 2023, 7 am – 3 pm

The National Biosecurity Forum brings together key stakeholders from around Australia to discuss challenges, opportunities and innovative approaches for protecting Australia’s biosecurity system.

The forum helps us work together to maintain and strengthen our biosecurity.

Learn more here.

This year Margaret River will have a strong presence at ProWein, in Düsseldorf Germany.

Over three days, from the 19-21 March, 50,000 trade guests from around the world will have the opportunity to connect with Margaret River producers and taste the region’s wines. Attendees will also have the chance to discover the latest releases, meet with brands seeking distribution and explore new opportunities from the world-renowned wine destination.

Margaret River will be represented at ten exhibitor booths, a regional stand, a Cabernet Sauvignon masterclass and a 4-hour Margaret River feature at the Wine Bar on the Wine Australia stand.

In a new hall and location (Hall 14, B10), the Wine Australia stand is 50% bigger than the last one planned for 2020.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said it’s great to have such a strong representation from Margaret River wineries at ProWein this year.

“This is the biggest trade event for wine in the world, so to have so many representatives from the region travelling to Düsseldorf for the event this year is fabulous, particularly after 3 years of limited travel due to Covid.  This is also the first time we have had a Margaret River regional booth at ProWein.”

“I am really looking forward to presenting Margaret River to trade from around the world at this huge event!” Ms Whiteland said.

Margaret River Exhibitors
Margaret River Producers who are heading to ProWein to showcase their current releases include Handpicked Wines, Howard Park Wines,  Madfish,  McHenry Hohnen,  Robert Oatley Vineyards, Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Wayfinder, Deep Woods Estate and Evans & Tate from the Fogarty Wine Group. Periscope Management will also have wine from Byron & Harold, Moss Brothers, Altus Rise, Wills Domain, Credaro, Jilyara, Knee Deep and Thompson Estate on their stand.
The floor plan for the Wine Australia stand is available here.

Margaret River Regional Booth
The Margaret River Wine Stand will showcase wines from Cape Mentelle, Howard Park Wines, Small Things Wine, Vasse Felix, Wills Domain and Xanadu.

Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Masterclass
Sunday 19 March, 16.00-16.45
Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon: Traditional, sustainable and organic practices
Presented by Paul McArdle and Emma Symington MW
Featuring: Voyager Estate, Thompson Estate, Xanadu, Howard Park, Vasse Felix and Cape Mentelle.

Wine Australia Wine Bar
Monday 20 March 13.00-17.00
Discover Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
The wines at this free-pour wine bar are the same as the wines in our master classes, so if you miss the Margaret River master class, there’s another chance to try them.

This event is supported by the WA WINES TO THE WORLD program; an industry-led export program coordinated by Wines of Western Australia with funding provided by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Vintage is underway in Margaret River with some producers bringing in their first crops, mostly Chardonnay, while others wait with eager anticipation. The whole region should be in full swing by the end of February.  

A colder-than-average winter made for a quick senescence and sound dormancy for the vines, and despite almost daily precipitation, we received markedly less-than-average rain in both June and July. Although the rainfall was down overall from the previous year, the region received sufficient supply to recharge soil moisture levels, setting the vines up with the required water for a promising season ahead. 

Across the region, grape growers saw early spring budbursts and due to the cold winter temperatures, experienced quite a uniform break. Spring saw less rain than usual and some cool conditions. October was almost three degrees colder than average daily temperatures, which resulted in a slow start to canopy growth and protracted flowering for Chardonnay.  

Low November rain slowed into an even drier December and January, with less than 2 mL of rain falling collectively for the whole summer season. Coupled with consistently warm, sunny days throughout January and no extreme heat, it proved to be an idyllic month for both grape growers and beachgoers alike. Nature’s air conditioner also played a part, with the cool southerly breeze blowing off the ocean and helping to retain natural acid in the fruit. 

As the region’s 2022 Viticulture & Sustainability Excellence Award recipient, Alex Miller, who is also Technical Viticulturist at Voyager Estate writes, “I don’t want to jinx it, but the dreamy conditions rolling in to harvest, the warm February days and cool, still nights are starting to show us some exceptional fruit flavours. It’s a rewarding feeling when your season of hard work starts to shine.” 

If you are in the region, you will notice the nets going on at a rapid rate. The Marri blossom is scarce this year, or perhaps just a bit delayed, which makes grapes an easy and delicious target for the native birds, Silvereye. Also out in the vineyard, final canopy manipulations and cutting out of hard green bunches ensure uniform ripening of the red varieties which will hang, soaking up sunshine for another month or two.  

Producers across the region have enjoyed the extended summer and I suspect quite a few can be found down at the region’s most popular surf breaks, basking in the last glimmers of sunshine and saltwater. There is plenty of anticipation in the region with the feeling that the wait has been well worth it. Adding to the excitement is that once again there is a contingent of international and interstate workers returning to the region to help with harvest. This always amplifies the fun pre-vintage vibes around the region.  

If you happen to be one of the new arrivals to our breathtaking region, be sure to check out the Pre-Vintage 2023 Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on Thursday 23rd February at 5:30 pm at Pioneer Park Amphitheatre, Cowaramup. It is a free event aimed at marking the start of the local wine community’s busiest time of year, while also welcoming all the harvest workers that have come to assist. All members of the local community are welcome – it is sure to be a wonderful afternoon! Here’s to vintage 2023! 

Whilst living, travelling, visiting and holidaying on Wadandi Boodja, we ask that you respect the area and walk softly on the country, taking the time to listen to Boodja (Country) as she Wongi (talks) of the season, and leave nothing but footprints.

–  Pibulmun Wadandi Yunungjarli Elder Wayne Webb.

With vintage 2023 commencing, the Margaret River Wine Association (MRWA) and Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) would like to invite their members and the local community to join Wadandi Pibulmum Elder, Dr Wayne Webb for a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, for everyone who has recently joined our region to work vintage.

The traditional smoking ceremony is used to cleanse and purify the spirit, body and soul and signifies the beginning of something new. As such, it is the perfect way to welcome the start of this exciting time for the local wine industry as well as acknowledge the many hard-working individuals who have travelled from all over the world to lend a helping hand.

The event will feature live music by local, acoustic artist Dan White.  It is free of charge and will take place at Pioneer Park Amphitheatre, Cowaramup from 5.30 pm, Thursday, 23 February 2023.  Guests are encouraged to BYO chairs or picnic blankets.

MRWA CEO Amanda Whiteland said, “the start of vintage is an incredibly special time of year in the region’s calendar with lots of seasonal workers arriving and nerves building in anticipation of what the season will deliver.” Adding, “Seasonal workers are critical to our region’s wine and tourism industry and the region’s economy and the community more broadly”.

MRBTA CEO Sharna Kearney said, “We are honoured to have Dr Wayne Webb offering this cultural ceremony to provide newly arrived seasonal workers with an opportunity to build a connection to the Wadandi culture and the local community.”

“The event will offer us all a moment to acknowledge that the Margaret River Wine Region is located upon the ancient lands of the Wadandi People, the traditional owners who have lived in harmony with the environment of Wadandi Boodja (Saltwater People’s Country) for over 50,000 years.”

The Cowaramup Business Association invites guests that would like to go for dinner or refreshments after the ceremony to visit one of the new Cowaramup venues or return to one of the many local favourites.

Jobseekers looking to join the Margaret River Wine Region workforce can find information at margaretriver.wine/work.

Alongside Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association , the South West Development Commission and the City of Busselton, we are pleased to announce that new camping facilities have been developed at Southern Stars Holiday Park Dunsborough for the specific purpose of providing much-needed seasonal worker accommodation in 2023-24.

The powered campsites will be online at the beginning of March 2023, and are suitable for tents, vans and campers and include access to shared ablution and cooking facilities.  Businesses or seasonal workers wishing to secure sites on a short- or long-term basis are encouraged to contact Southern Stars Holiday Park directly to discuss requirements, via (08) 9755 1331 or [email protected].

On behalf of the wine industry, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Todd Davidson, Natalie McCarthy and their team at Southern Stars, as well as all the local contractors who have worked tirelessly in recent months to bring this project to fruition amidst their own staff shortages. We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the collaboration and support of the SWDC and City of Busselton.

MRWA have been working closely with MRBTA for a number of years to address the region’s challenges in securing accommodation for the seasonal workforce which is so critical for our wine, tourism and hospitality industries. We hope this development will provide meaningful assistance to our members.

This is a longstanding and complex issue for our region, and it is encouraging that industry and government are coming together to progress both short- and long-term solutions for these important industries. With one third of the 2,000 employing businesses in the region requiring access to seasonal staff, this issue will continue to be a long-term focus of MRWA and MRBTA.

A New Voices Story by Leah Clearwater

Almost any article written about a wine region will refer to the specific soil types of the area, and link these to the quality of the wines produced there. To take things a step further, many a wine writer has made bold claims about the influence of geology on wine without explaining how this occurs. You may have seen quotes along the lines of “the famous… sandy soils of Barolo… clay soils of Rioja… stony soils of Bordeaux… slate soils of Mosel… and the limestone soils of Champagne and Burgundy” just to name a few.

So, what’s the dirt on Margaret River…?

Let’s Dig Deeper

Some years ago, I was given the mammoth task of profiling the main soil types across the 5,000 hectares of vineyards in the Margaret River region at the time. This work was part of an exciting project run by the Grape and Wine Research Development Commission with a view to a better understanding of the unique terroir in each of Australia’s premier growing regions. Armed with a mini excavator and operator, shovel, scraper, brush, quality camera and hundreds of soil sample test kits, I set off down the vineyard rows to dig until the bucket hit hard clay or rock and I could clearly see what was going on beneath the vines. The project took several months to complete, yet I have remained fascinated about what I discovered for years afterwards.

This initial project led me to a lifelong fascination with soil profiling, including several opportunities to work with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia. One of my most memorable discoveries was observing the extent of change that occurs across the region and how frequently soil type transitions, even as you move across a single block. In many vineyards, the soil profile can alter dramatically within a matter of metres.

Seriously Ancient Rocks

The incredible explanation behind the ever-changing nature of Margaret River’s geological landscape is its ancient history, with soils that are dated the oldest of all the Earth’s viticultural areas. The unique shape and features of the region today are the result of global tectonic events and were initiated during the Jurassic period when the supercontinent of Gondwanaland broke into separate continents. During this period a deep, linear trough of sedimentary rocks formed in the east of the region and an iron-enriched lateritic plateau formed to the west, each side separated by the Dunsborough Faultline which still exists to this day.

Over these millennia, ten major soil types have formed, ranging from deep, infertile sands to shallow, gravelly soils. The soil types present in Margaret River vineyards will firstly depend on their location within the region, with sandier soil distribution in the east and more gravelly soil profile down the centre from north to south and in the west. The quantity of gravel in the soil is also related to proximity to the ironstone ridge which underlies most of the shallower soils of the region. This ridge forms dramatic rock outcrops from the northern to the southern cape.

A Stony Story

The ancient origins of the region are impressive, but what do they mean for regional viticulture and do they impart any influence on the wine?

If you speak to any Margaret River winemaker, no doubt they will credit local soils with a positive impact on their wines. Many also have clear preferences around soil type and varietal pairings. There are those who favour the sandy soils of the region for Chardonnay, while the colloquially named “Forest Grove” soil types offer bony, gravelly soils with low fertility levels recognized as ideal for iconic Cabernet Sauvignon. Regardless of preference, the region is most renowned for its gravelly loams.

Western Australian soil scientists Pete Tille and Angela Stuart-Street* explain, “Unlike so much of the wine world, limestone or calcareous soils are of limited importance for Western Australian viticulture. Here, the prized soils are something completely different.  As far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no other wine growing areas around the globe that have soils so broadly dominated by lateritic ironstone gravels……. The gravels have definitely been sought out by vignerons, as by our estimates, they account for over 40% of all plantings in the state.”

Forest Grove soils are free draining with low water and nutrient holding capacities, limiting vine vigour and bringing optimal balance between the foliage and fruit. Along with the reflective heat of surface gravels, these factors bestow the wonderful intensity and concentration typically seen in regional wines.

See Main Soil Types of Margaret River here

The Margaret River wine community is excited about what further correlations may be discovered between soil type and wine in the future. Until then, there remains a firm belief that the ancient geology of the Margaret River Wine Region has had a remarkable impact on its ‘New World’ wines.

Dead or Alive

There is a compelling move towards sustainable viticulture in Margaret River and this is having a positive effect on regional soils, improving their already shining reputation. Conventional farming methods of the past, which had a depleting impact on soil biology, are being replaced with non-harmful techniques and our vineyards are again teeming with life.

Beneficial insects and micro-organisms abound and their part to play in the ecosystem of the vineyard is celebrated by growers. These “living soils” are praised for correcting soil acidity issues, improving soil structure, releasing organic matter and micronutrients, and boosting the vine’s natural resistance to pests and diseases.

Back in the days of my soil pit excavations, I was always delighted when I could scoop up a handful of topsoil and find it rich in colour and squirming with worms, as I knew the vines would be all the happier for this and happy vines make beautiful wines!

Rock On!

The Margaret River Wine Region is young by world standards, but it is literally set on firm foundations, with ironstone soils not found in any other grape-growing area in the world. The mantle of this unique area provides an ideal environment for world class wines and will preserve Margaret River’s place as one of the top regions globally. For those lucky enough to visit the region, the dramatic ironstone rock formations featured across the landscape are truly breathtaking, offering the perfect backdrop for a picnic and some delicious local wine.

The highly respected journalists at The Real Review Wine have just launched a new classification of Australian wine based on a track record of a decade or longer of outstanding results, and Margaret River Chardonnay and Cabernets dominate.

Each wine that made it into the Classification system demonstrated their quality in their blind tastings over the course of at least 10 years, and they have published them into three classification tiers: 3 Merit, 2 Merit and 1 Merit with 3 Merit being the highest classification.

3 Merit wines are iconic wines Australia, wines of true provenance and exemplary track record. Fewer than 0.5% of wines produced achieve this tier. Most of these wines have received gold ribbons for recent vintages. Top vintages will score 98 points or more.

3 Merit Wines (MMM)
Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay
Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon
Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon
Stella Bella Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon
Cullen Diana Madeline

2 Merit wines are wines that achieve gold and high silver ribbons in recent vintages, with top vintages achieving 96 points or more.

2 Merit Wines (MM)
Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay
Flametree S.R.S. Wallcliffe Chardonnay
McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Pierro Chardonnay
Stella Bella Serie Luminosa Chardonnay
Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay
Xanadu Stevens Road Chardonnay
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon
Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Woodlands Cabernet Sauvignon
Xanadu Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon
Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyards Merlot
Pierro Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Woodlands Margaret

1 Merit wines are wine that reliably achieve gold and silver ribbons in recent vintages, with top vintages achieving 95 points or more.

1 Merit Wines (M)
Devil’s Lair Chardonnay
Flametree Chardonnay
Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Chardonnay
Hay Shed Hill Block 6 Chardonnay
Howard Park Chardonnay
Lenton Brae Wilyabrup Chardonnay
McHenry Hohnen Calgardup Brook Chardonnay
Moss Wood Chardonnay
Vasse Felix Chardonnay
Voyager Estate Chardonnay
Xanadu Chardonnay
Moss Wood Semillon
Howard Park Sauvignon Blanc
Pierro L.T.C Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay
Cape Mentelle Shiraz
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz
Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Hay Shed Hill Block 2 Cabernet Sauvignon
Howard Park Leston Cabernet Sauvignon
Stella Bella Suckfizzle Cabernet Sauvignon
Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon
Cape Mentelle Zinfandel
Cullen Mangan East Block
Moss Wood Amy’s

2022 was an impressive year for the Margaret River Wine Region! It shone brightly at the annual Wine Communicator Awards in Sydney with Margaret River Fine Vines Festival crowned Best Wine-Themed Event and Margaret River Wine Guide taking out Best Wine Website or App. Not to mention the countless fabulous wine reviews and recognitions it has accumulated across James Suckling’s Top 100, James Halliday’s Top 100, Ray Jordan’s WA wine review and The Real Review Wine Classifications.

The annual Wine Communicator Awards awards recognise excellence in wine communications and were created to acknowledge outstanding contributions to, and excellence in wine communication in all forms.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland was in Sydney  to accept both awards.

“Both the Margaret River Fine Vines Festival and the Margaret River Region Guide have involved significant regional collaboration, with over 80 wineries participating in both, as well as the support of AHOY Management and Wine Folly,” Ms Whiteland said.

“It is a privilege to work in region which values collaboration so highly.”

“For Margaret River, a region that grows less than 2% of Australia’s wine grapes, recognised in two categories in the Wine Communicator Awards for its contribution to, and excellence in wine communication is fantastic.”

“It is such an honour to accept these awards on behalf of Margaret River Wine Region.”

Margaret River Wine Association saw a huge opportunity to spotlight the region’s world-class wine offering in a festival dedicated to wine and engaged AHOY Management to co-create the Margaret River Fine Vines Festival with the aim of amplifying the region’s rich wine stories and increasing wine drinker’s depth of engagement with the area’s grape growers and winemakers.

Until the conceptualisation of Fine Vines Festival in 2021, there was no consumer wine festival specifically championing the region’s wine, despite the Margaret River Region producing globally recognised and awarded wines.

The festival shines a spotlight on the people, places and passion behind the region offering exclusive experiences, learning opportunities and behind the scenes access not to be found elsewhere.

AHOY Management Joint Director Brianna Delaporte said the team were thrilled that Fine Vines Festival has been acknowledged as one of the stand-out wine experiences across Australia.

Ms Delaporte said, “The festival is a collaboration between more than 80 of the region’s wine producers, so this win is important for the whole region and recognises the collective dedication to the production of top quality wine and customer experiences.”

“The festival has been purposefully curated to ensure it offers up a unique 10-day program that entices visitors to explore all aspects of the Margaret River Wine Region, and not only champions the region’s powerhouse brands but also provides a platform for the smaller producers that collectively add quality and depth to the program.”

The Margaret River Wine Guide was a collaboration with leading global digital wine education platform Wine Folly and is the first comprehensive digital guide of its kind in Asia Pacific. As the eighth Region Guide produced by Wine Folly, Margaret River Wine Guide now sits alongside other global wine destinations such as Napa Valley, Sicily and Bordeaux.

Four weeks from the launch, the guide had reached an audience of 4.3 million globally, making it one of Wine Folly’s most popular guides to date.

The guide’s comprehensive content was created by award-winning author Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly’s Head of Wine Education, Christine Marsiglio MW, Margaret River Wine Association’s comprehensive new 60 page media kit, and data loaded by individual wine producers into a Global Wine Database.

 

Now onto the long list of many amazing accolades…

James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of the World 2022 – From over 32,000 wines tasted by James Suckling and his team, two Margaret River Chardonnay are featured!  The Deep Woods Chardonnay was also the highest-ranked of the six Australian wines in the Top 100.

⭐ #25 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay Margaret River 2021

⭐ #87 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay Margaret River 2021

James remarked the Margaret River region “…is a unique maritime region making fresh and structured reds and bright and flavorful whites.”⁠

 

James Halliday Top 100 Wines, The Weekend Australian – Margaret River featured 11 times and was the #3 highest region after Adelaide Hills with 13 wines, and Champagne with 12 wines.

𝟮𝟬 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 $𝟯𝟬

⭐ Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 95 points

⭐ Cullen Mangan Vineyard Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 95 points

⭐ Amelia Park Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 95 points

⭐ Amelia Park Trellis Margaret River Chardonnay 2021 – 94 points

𝟮𝟬 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 $𝟯𝟬

⭐ Domaine Naturaliste Sauvage Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – 96 points

⭐  Windows Estate Petit Lot La Terre Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – 96 points

𝟮𝟬 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 $𝟰𝟬

⭐ Hay Shed Hill Morrison’s Gift 2020 – 95 points

𝟮𝟬 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 $𝟰𝟬

⭐ Hay Shed Hill Block 2 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – 98 points

⭐ Cherubino Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 – 97 points

⭐ Thompson Estate The Specialist Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – 97 points

⭐ Cullen Diana Madeline 2020 – 98 point

 

The Real Review Wine Classification of Australia – The team at The Real Review have just launched a new classification of Australian wine based on a track record of a decade or longer of outstanding results, and Margaret River Chardonnay and Cabernets dominate. Congratulations to all those that received merits.

3 Merit Wines (MMM)

 Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay

Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon

Stella Bella Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon

Cullen Diana Madeline

2 Merit Wines (MM)

 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay

Flametree S.R.S. Wallcliffe Chardonnay

McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vineyard Chardonnay

Pierro Chardonnay

Stella Bella Serie Luminosa Chardonnay

Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay

Xanadu Stevens Road Chardonnay

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon

Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Woodlands Cabernet Sauvignon

Xanadu Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyards Merlot

Pierro Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Woodlands Margaret

 

Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wines Report 2022/23, The Seventeenth Edition

2019 Idée Fixe, Premier Brut Blanc de Blancs, Margaret River

2021 Howard Park, Miamup Chardonnay, Margaret River

2022 Robert Oatley, Signature Series Chardonnay, Margaret River

2021 Leeuwin Estate, Prelude Chardonnay, Margaret River

2019 McHenry Hohnen, Calgardup Brook Vineyard Chardonnay, Margaret River

2020 Vasse Felix, Heytesbury Chardonnay, Margaret River

2018 Robert Oatley, Finisterre Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River

2020 Xanadu Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River

2018 Moss Wood, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River

2020 Cullen, Diana Madeline, Wilyabrup, Margaret River

 

The Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines Of 2022, Wine Enthusiast

⭐ #57 Leeuwin Estate 2018 Art Series Chardonnay, 94 Points

⭐ #98 Howard Park 2018 Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon, 90 Points

 

Reviewers’ Favorites 2022, The Wine Advocate

Erin Larkin discusses her five favorite wines encountered throughout the year (two from Margaret River).

⭐ 2021 Windows Estate Petit Lot Chardonnay  – “A Producer That’s Under the Radar”

⭐ 2020 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay – “A Wine That’s Especially Good Value”

 

Wine Pinnacle Awards 2022 – announced earlier this month at a glamorous gala dinner at Resorts World Singapore, with Margaret River Chardonnay recognised again!  Congratulations to Leeuwin Estate & Cullen Wines.

Best Recent Release: Chardonnay (ex-Burgundy)

⭐ 2018 Leeuwin Estate, Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia (Winner)

⭐ 2018 Cullen, Kevin John Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia (Finalist)

 

The Western Australian Good Food Guide Awards

⭐ Wine of the Year – Xanadu Stevens Road Chardonnnay 2020

⭐ New Restaurant of the Year – Frui Momento at Cherubino

⭐ Regional Restaurant of the Year – Chow’s Table

⭐ Regional Chef of the Year – Dan Gedge at Leeuwin Estate

⭐ Excellence Front of House – Caleb Dreaver at Vasse Felix

⭐ Breakthrough Talent – Albee Lee at Wills Domain

 

Ray Jordan’s Annual WA Wine Review, 2023 Edition

 Sparkling of the Year – Howard Park Jete Grand Vintage 2017

Sauvignon Blanc of the Year – Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Small Producer of the Year – Flowstone

Semillon of the Year –  Moss Wood Semillon 2022

Blended White of the Year – Pierro LTC 2022

Chardonnay of the Year – Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2019

White Wine of the Year – Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2019

Merlot of the Year – Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Merlot 2019

Producer of the Year – Cherubino

Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year – Voyager MJW Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Blended Red of the Year – Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Malbec 2018

Deep Woods Estates takes home six trophies from the 2022 Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show, as the show celebrates its 21st Birthday.

Chaired by wine writer, Nick Ryan, judging took place from Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 October, by an outstanding team, from across the country and as far afield as Sweden, with Master of Wine Madeleine Stenwreth joining after her 2020 and 2021 invitations were postponed.

The judging of 665 exhibits from ninety-two exhibitors took place on Wadandi Boodja, at the Margaret River HEART. Fifty wines received a gold medal for a score of 95 points or above on the 100-point scale.

The awards were presented at a Gala luncheon at Credaro Family’s Esther Gardens in Yelverton as the Margaret River Wine Show celebrated its 21st birthday, and the Credaro Family celebrated 100 years since the first Fragola cuttings were planted by Cesare Credaro in 1922, which has seeded four generations of farming and winemaking in the region.

A delicious menu including Margaret River Wagyu and Leeuwin Coast Ayoka Oysters was prepared by the team at SupperRd and matched to the 2021 Trophy winning wines.

The Deep Woods Estate team triumphed this year taking home six trophies, including Most Successful Exhibitor, Wine of Provenance and Wine of Show. Deep Woods Estate Chief Winemaker & General Manager, Julian Langworthy said he was, “hugely thrilled to be so successful at the 21st Margaret River Wine Show, a testimony to the whole Deep Woods team from viticulture, cellar and winemaking. Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is in a great place and super excited to win Wine of Show with this Single Vineyard wine.”

Chair of Judges Nick Ryan said, “This year’s wine show finds the region in the rudest of health. The twin pillars of Margaret River excellence – Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon- provided real excitement and the Wine of Show is an incredibly refined and precision etched example of contemporary Cabernet. It’s truly world class.

It’s especially pleasing to see a number of stunning wines emerging from the other classes as well, with some real highlights among the current vintage blends of semillon and sauvignon blanc, the sparkling class and alternate whites. The shiraz classes have once again really impressed. There are some stunning examples of the variety here, across an exciting range of styles.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland said, “the eight-year Langton’s naming right partnership and support of the Margaret River Wine Region is incredibly important. We are also grateful for the wonderful community in Margaret River and the hard-working team of Stewards, Volunteers and Wine Show Committee who give their time so generously to enable the Show to runs so smoothly.

LANGTON’S MARGARET RIVER WINE SHOW TROPHIES:

Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Show
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard G2 Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Margaret River Wagyu Trophy for Red Wine of Show
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard G2 Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Labelmakers Group of Companies Trophy for White Wine of Show
Joseph River Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2021

Vinline Mobile Bottling Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor
Deep Woods Estate

Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Provenance
Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2021, 2016, 2013

Margaret River Wine Association International Judge’s Trophy
Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2020

City of Busselton Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard G2 Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Multi-Color Trophy for Best Chardonnay
Joseph River Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2021

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard G2 Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Sanector Trophy for Best Single Vineyard White
Joseph River Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2021

Cospak Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Mandoon Estate Cabernet Merlot 2020

My Vintner Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc
Once & Well Frankie’s Garden Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Orora Trophy for Best Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Clairault Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2022

Burkert Trophy for Best Other White Blend or Varietal
Frazer Woods La Cache Blanc de Blanc 2014

Fusion Electrical Trophy for Best Shiraz
Xanadu Circa 77 Shiraz 2019

Chr. Hansen ‘Pink Jacket’ Trophy for Best Rosé
Borrello Vineyards Rosé 2022

Hahn Corporation Trophy for Best Other Red Blend or Varietal
Driftwood Estate Artifacts Petit Verdot 2020

The full results book of from the 2022 Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show is available here.

The Judges were (in alphabetic order by surname):
• Chair of Judges: Nick Ryan – Writer, Presenter, Communicator
• International Judge: Madeleine Stenwreth MW, Sweden
• Cliff Royle – Chief Winemaker, Flametree Wines, Western Australia
• Damian Hutton – Chief Winemaker, Nikola Estate, Western Australia
• Daniel Swincer – Chief Winemaker, Pernod Ricard, South Australia
• Emma Farrelly – Director of Wine, State Buildings, Western Australia
• Kate Laurie – Winemaker & Owner, Deviation Road, South Australia
• Liam McElhinney – General Manager & Chief Winemaker, Tasmanian Vintners, Tasmania
• Lisa Jenkins – Sommelier and Owner, Fleet Wines, Victoria
• Stuart Hordern – Senior Winemaker, Brokenwood, New South Wales

The Associate Judges were:
• Andrew Bretherton – Deep Woods Estate
• Brent Carter – Vasse Felix | Idée Fixe
• Chris Gilmore – Clairault Streicker
• Henry Wynne – McHenry Hohnen
• Larissa Dalli – Cani Domaine Naturaliste
• Mark Brown – Dan Murphy’s

 

The Margaret River Region’s wine producers are ready to welcome visitors from next Friday for the second instalment of Fine Vines Festival, with close to 80 producers participating in nearly 30 events from October 14 to 23.

The first weekend of the festival kicks off with crowd favourite, Margaret River Open Vineyards. For one weekend only, guests are invited to go beyond the vineyard gate to meet winemakers that aren’t usually open to the public. 15 winemakers are participating across the weekend, spanning Dunsborough in the north, to Rosabrook in the South.

There’s myriad reasons for consumers to get out and explore in addition to ‘behind the gate’ access, including the opportunity to taste new release wines that aren’t yet on sale, pop-up food trucks, learning about wine and vineyard from the winemakers and having access to wine they might not have seen before.

La Kooki’s Eloise Jarvis said they would be teaming up with Corymbia for their Open Vineyards offering.

“We’re stoked to be a part of Fine Vines’ Open Vineyards with Corymbia. There’s nothing better than sharing wines and stories from both sides of the tasting bench. People can join us at Corymbia’s Calgardup Vineyard, bringing a focus not only onto our wines but how we can help protect and preserve the amazing biodiversity that surrounds us in this unique part of the world – Margaret River.”

Burnside Organic Farm’s Jamie McCall said it’s a great opportunity to showcase their biodynamic winery practices.

“We are thrilled to be involved with Fine Vines again this year. It gives us the opportunity to share our wine, and our story. Being a small producer it can sometimes be hard to be heard, but Fine Vines lets us open our doors and allow people to experience the Burnside Organic Farm journey.

“Open Vineyards is a fantastic event that showcases a lot of places and wines not normally accessible, and being a part of it lets the public see into the practices associated with being Certified Biodynamic in the vineyard and winery.” McCall said.

Also starring on the first weekend will be Xanadu Wines with their event On the Lawn at Xanadu. The event offers a chance to sample wines from 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year Glenn Goodall, to the backdrop of live music and new Head Chef Aaron Lim’s Southeast Asian hawker-style street eats, a perfect setting for a spring afternoon with friends. For those keen on brushing up on their wine knowledge and being some of the first to sample the estate’s Vinework range, they can also join the winemakers in a masterclass before the event.

Xanadu’s Caity Bramich said the whole team was looking forward to the event.

“We’re really excited to for people to come and meet our incredible winemakers and be some of the first to sample our Vinework range, which expresses the toil of the land and many hours spent nurturing the vineyard – watching, tending and tasting. The tier is a celebration and reward for the hours spent walking amongst the vines, connecting with our growers and the region’s land, with the labels a geomap of where our winery crew have walked in the vineyard.

“We’re also looking forward to showcasing Head Chef Aaron Lim’s new direction at the Southeast Asian food stations we have in store. It’ll be a great day for everyone.” Bramich said.

Participants on the Open Vineyards program will be able to track their tastes and wines they liked with festival partner, WineWine. Guests are encouraged to download the WithWine app, and start exploring the vineyards participating for Open Vineyards.

Other events taking place on the first weekend that still have available tickets include:

Friday 14 October

Single Vineyards and Saltbush – McHenry Hohnen Winery
A first taste of McHenry Hohnen’s single vineyard 2020 Chardonnays with winemakers Japo and Henry, set on the balcony overlooking Hazel’s vineyard and paired with a feast by Saltbush Dining.

Taste of Elegance – Shelter Brewing Co
A five-course dinner paired with Credaro wines, guided by Credaro’s winemaker and expanding on your food and wine matching education.

Wine on the Water – Dunsborough Old Fishermans Boat Ramp
Whale watching at sunset. On a catamaran. Tasting Clairault Streicker wines and eating delicious canapes. This was a fan favourite last year for a reason.

Tiller Dining x Rosabrook Long Table Dinner – Rosabrook Wines
George Cooper serves up a five-course degustation paired with premium Rosabrook wines overlooking the stunning Rosabrook vineyard, with produce straight from Tiller’s Yallingup Siding farm.

Saturday 15 October

Pet Nat Party – Bungalow Neighbourhood Social
An exclusive presentation of Western Australian Pet Nats, with a DJ spinning tunes and Chef Denver Stevens cooking up street food eats. Pet Nat producers include: Black Cocky, Blind Corner, Brave New Wine, Dormilona, Skigh Wine, Vallee du Venom and Vino Volta.

Chameleon No.2 – Vasse Felix
A celebration of Margaret River Chardonnay hosted by Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock, where you’ll taste an anthology of the estate’s Chardonnay culminating in the iconic Heytesbury. All paired to Chef Brendan Pratt’s degustation menu.

Aging Gracefully (October 15 + 22) – Cape Grace
A comprehensive back-vintage tasting with winemaker Conrad Tritt where you’ll get inside knowledge on selecting the perfect wine to cellar and increase your wine collecting confidence.

Mozzarella in the Cellar (October 15 + 16) – Juniper Estate
A guided wine masterclass with Juniper’s chief winemaker, a mozzarella making demonstration by La Delizia Latticini, and fresh woodfired pizzas to be enjoyed with a glass of sparkling and a voucher towards wine.

Sunday 16 October

Yum Cha Bites and Flights – Origins Market
A special tasting of five Marri Wood Park wines paired with five yum-cha inspired dishes from Little Hand Dumplings.

The Orange Party – LS Merchants
A selection of orange wine producers from across the region come together at LS Merchants’ cellar door, with Cook Digs cooking up bites and a DJ spinning tunes (dressing in orange encouraged).

The full festival program and ticket sales are available via www.finevinesfestival.com

Fine Vines Festival is proudly supported by Margaret River Wine Association, City of Busselton, Tourism WA, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Augusta Margaret River Shire, WithWine, Buy West East Best, WA Good Food Guide and Hire in Style.

Margaret River wine region’s outstanding wine quality and excellence at every price point was confirmed at this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards with the region highly awarded, including Winemaker of the Year, Dark Horse Winery and Best Value Winery.

These coveted awards celebrate the best of the best in the wine industry and the accompanying annual book also outlines the scores of individual wines and wineries across the country.

Excitingly, Margaret River is now home to more 5-star wineries than any other region. “Considering the boutique scarce production in our region, at just 2% of Australia’s national crush, this is an incredible achievement” said Amanda Whiteland – Chief Executive Officer at Margaret River Wine.   “We look forward to the Halliday Wine Companion Awards every year and we’re thrilled to see our region receive accolades for five categories.” she added.

Winemaker of the Year

Xanadu Wine Chief Winemaker, Glenn Goodall was awarded the highly anticipated accolade of Winemaker of the Year.

Award judge Erin Larkin said Glenn’s leadership, focus and attention to detail result in wines that “exude excellence at every price point.”

“Glenn is not only an exceptionally talented winemaker, but a widely loved and respected member of the industry,” Erin said.

“I’m excited and feel very honoured to receive the Halliday Winemaker of the Year award. I’ve been fortunate enough to lead the Xanadu team for many years, and winemaking is definitely a team sport. This award acknowledges everyone, including our growers, who have been involved in the Xanadu journey over the years, and I feel really proud to represent this group.” Goodall said.

Previous ‘Winemaker of the Year’ winners from Margaret River are Julian Langworthy (2019 edition) and Vanya Cullen (2020 edition).

Dark Horse Winery

L.A.S. Vino was awarded Dark Horse Winery.  Dark Horse nominees are wineries that are not new to the Companion but who have received a 5-star rating for the first time this year.

Erin Larkin said “Nic Peterkin was born with pedigree winemaking blood in his veins, but nothing bar his own ingenuity and hard work have got him to where L.A.S. Vino is today. Nic has consistently produced wines that push boundaries and show a penchant for his calculated, out-of-the-box style of thinking.”

L.A.S. – which stands for luck, art, and science – is one of Margaret River’s most cutting-edge wine labels.   Nic said it “Feels great to be recognised for the award after 9 years making wine in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

A previous Margaret River ‘Dark Horse of the Year’ winner from Margaret River is Arlewood Estate (2017 edition).

Best Value Winery

Deep Woods Estate was a very worthy winner and Margaret River led the country with two of the nine top contenders.

Best Value doesn’t mean the cheapest and Best Value Winery of the Year is closely tied to the awarding of rosettes for wines offering special value for money at their price point. With more than 1300 rosettes awarded this year, the number of value wineries vying for this award is considerable.

Previous ‘Best Value Winery of the Year’ winners from Margaret River are Domaine Naturaliste (2020 edition) and Cherubino Wines (2017 edition).

Best Varietal

From over 8,000 wines from more than 1,100 wineries tasted and reviews, two Margaret River wines shone through as Best Varietal winners.

Halliday Wine Companion editor Tyson Stelzer felt the Chardonnay category was one of the most hotly contested varietal awards. Before introducing the Chardonnay of the Year he commented that “Margaret River towered above all others” before going on the announce

Stella Bella Wines as Australia’s Best Chardonnay for its single vineyard 2020 Luminosa Chardonnay.

Flowstone Wines Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2020 was awarded Sauvignon Blanc of the Year.  This is the fourth year that Flowstone has been given such an accolade.

Other Margaret River finalists included McHenry Hohnen Vintners for ‘Winery of the Year’, Xanadu Wines for ‘Best Value Winery’, Chris Davies of Windows Estate for ‘Viticulturist of the Year’ and Montague Estate and Trait Wines, both for ‘Best New Winery’.

The full list of results is published in the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion book and online at www.winecompanion.com.au

Wine Folly, the leading global digital wine education platform, has announced the launch of the Margaret River Region Guide, the first comprehensive digital guide to the Margaret River Wine Region and the first of its kind in Asia Pacific.

This kind of access and exploration of a remote and high-class wine region is exactly the kind of unique education experience we’re striving to bring to wine learners. This guide is driven by the wine producers of the region and showcasing wines that might never enter the awareness of the North American market,” said David Gluzman, CEO of Wine Folly.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland says “The Wine Folly website receives millions of visitors per month, and it is really exciting that Margaret River is being spotlighted as their eighth Regional Guide.

 “Margaret River is a breathtaking wine destination, that enjoys a textbook perfect climate for fine wines.  The region’s 100 cellar doors, gourmet culinary experiences, stunning coastline and nature attracts over 1.5 million overnight visitors per year.

 “We are confident that beginners to wine experts will enjoy learning more about the Margaret River wine region with Wine Folly through their fun and playful approach to wine education.

Wine Folly’s Region Guides enable learners to explore wines, wineries, and regions around the world from anywhere in the world. Producer data is supported by exclusive content created by award-winning author Madeline Puckette and Wine Folly’s Head of Wine Education, Christine Marsiglio MW.

Margaret River is the eighth Region Guide produced by Wine Folly in a constant pursuit to change wine education and discovery.

Other Wine Folly Region Guides include Napa Valley, Sicily, Bordeaux, Paso Robles, Walla Walla Valley, Alto Adige and Argentina.

Discover the Margaret River Region Guide at margaretriver.guides.winefolly.com

Margaret River is one of the most pristine and geographically secluded wine regions in the world, and it makes some of Australia’s most noteworthy wines. The producers of the region are considered boutique – with many producing less than 5000 cases annually. Rare wines and breathtaking coastal landscapes are waiting to be discovered in the new Wine Folly Region Guide.

The Wine Folly Margaret River region guide has been brought to you by the Margaret River Wine Association and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), as part of the WA Wines to the World Program.

The Margaret River Wine Association has launched a comprehensive and compelling, new 60-page Media Kit.

This powerful storytelling tool provides the most up-to-date and in-depth information about the region, validated through science, history and third-party endorsement.

CEO Amanda Whiteland says, “The objective was to create a valuable resource to help Margaret River Wine Association members, stakeholders and media to tell the Margaret River Story consistently and accurately. Never before have we had such a compelling and comprehensive tool at our fingertips.”

This project has been a few years in the making and would not have been possible without the input of the MRWA Technical sub-committee or the incredible knowledge and expertise of the team at DPIRD, as well as funding support from Wines of Western Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, as part of the WA Wines to the World Program.

The DPIRD collaboration to produce the “Geology, Soils and Climate of the Margaret River Wine Region” report was essentially the platform on which the media kit was built and provides source information and scientific credibility throughout.  Thanks to this report we had the essential maps, copy and data needed to complete the sections on geology, sustainability, maritime influence, soils and climate in the kit.

This is a living document which will be updated biannually and evolve to become even more sophisticated over time as we uncover new findings on our region.

The content is divided into the four brand pillars and each section, fact sheets and maps can be downloaded separately.

Details covered in the media kit include:

You can download the Margaret River Media Kit at www.margaretriver.wine/media

VIEW PDF  This year the Margaret River Wine Association and Wine Show Sub-Committee celebrated the 20th Margaret River Wine Show. Continuing its recent winning streak, the 2020 Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay took home three trophies, including Best Chardonnay, Best White Wine and Best Wine of Show. This adds the five trophies it had already picked up at two other wine shows earlier this year.

Larry Cherubino said, “it was great to be there and celebrate with our amazing winemaking and viticultural team.”
From the 762 Margaret River wines, submitted by 105 exhibitors, 80 wines, or 10.5% of all entries, received a gold medal, which equates to 95 points or above.

Chair of Judges Nick Ryan said at the Gala lunch, “It’s been a pleasure and privilege to lead a brilliant group of judges at this year’s Show. You can’t help but come away from a few intense days debating the region’s best confident that Margaret River is performing at an exceptionally high level and assured that it’s only going to get higher in years to come.”

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland said, “We believe Margaret River was the only regional wine show in Australia that has interstate judges this year, which confirms our team’s tenacity and also the desirability of an invitation to judge here.”

The Xanadu team triumphed again this year taking home five trophies, including Most Successful Exhibitor. Xanadu Head Winemaker Glenn Goodall said, “The Margaret River Wine Show has been one of the highlights of the year for Xanadu. Performing well at our local show, amongst so many other great Margaret River producers, is always an incredible achievement for the team and our growers.

It was great to see interstate judges back at the show this year, we are obviously wrapped with the results! The icing on the cake was again being awarded the Langton’s Trophy for Wines of Provenance, especially given the pride we take in our Cabernets. It is testament to the efforts of so many people over the years at Xanadu. I’m very proud of the whole team.”

The Margaret River Wine Association was thrilled to announce the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to lifetime wine zealot, importer and retailer John Jens, and the winners of the Viticultural and Wine Tourism Excellence Awards also.

Langton’s 2021 Margaret River Wine Show Trophy and Awards: Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Show
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Margaret River Wagyu Trophy for Red Wine of Show
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Labelmakers Group Trophy for White Wine of Show
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Vinline Mobile Bottling Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor
Xanadu Wines

Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Provenance
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 2014, 2020

City of Busselton Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Multi-Color Trophy for Best Chardonnay
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red
McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Portavin Trophy for Best Single Vineyard White
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Cospak / Saverglass Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot 2018

Winequip / Lallemand Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc
Wills Domain Mystic Spring Sauvignon Blanc 2021

MR Refund Trophy for Best Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Xanadu DJL Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2020

My Vintner Trophy for Best Other White Blend or Varietal
tripe.Iscariot Kroos Chenin Blanc 2020

Fusion Electrical Trophy for Best Shiraz
Stella Bella Shiraz 2020

Chr. Hansen Trophy for Best Rosé
Marq Serious Rosé 2021

Hahn Corporation Trophy for Best Other Red Blend or Varietal
Evans & Tate Single Vineyard “Carter Road Vineyard” Malbec 2020

2021 Lifetime Achievement Award
John Jens

Viticultural Excellence Award – sponsored by Happs Wines
Chris Gilmore, Clairault Streicker

Wine Tourism Excellence Award – sponsored by Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association
Grace Pigram, Vasse Felix

This year, the awards were presented at a Gala luncheon rather than a dinner and the new format under a spiry tent at Swings & Roundabouts in Yallingup was well received by the 190 attendees at the sold-out celebration.

The Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show was judged at the Margaret River HEART from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 October 2021.

Judges were (in alphabetic order by surname):

• Nick Ryan (Chair of Judges) – Writer, Presenter, Communicator
• Anna Pooley – Winemaker, Pooley Wines, Tasmania
• Daniel Swincer – Chief Winemaker, Pernod Ricard, South Australia
• Emma Farrelly – Director of Wine, State Buildings, Western Australia
• Erin Larkin – Wine Writer, Halliday Wine Companion, Western Australia
• Kate Laurie – Winemaker & Owner, Deviation Road, South Australia
• Kim Horton – Senior Winemaker, Willow Bridge Estate, Western Australia
• Liam McElhinney – General Manager & Chief Winemaker, Tasmanian Vintners, Tasmania
• Tim Lovett – Senior Winemaker, Leeuwin Estate, Western Australia
• Tom Wallace – Winemaker / Winery Manager, Brown Family Wine Group, Tasmania

Associate Judges were Andrew Bretheton – Deep Woods Estate, Matt Buchan – Cherubino Wines, Japo Dalli Cani – McHenry Hohnen Vintners, Matt Godfrey – Devil’s Lair, Foni Pollitt – Mayfair Lane and Feleasha Prendergast – Margaret River Vintners.

– ENDS –

Thursday 19 May – Voyager Estate

Margaret River Wine Association presents our 2022 Sustainability Program.
5pm to 7pm (late arrivals welcome)
Free for MRWA Members, non-members $25.
Please note: there is a limit of 2 tickets per business to the sundowner (should you require more please contact Pip.

RSVP here.

Thursday 19 May

Full day field workshop event for Viticulturists, Grape Growers and Wine Producers with in field practical demonstrations.
Limited to 20 participants, 1 ticket only per company.
Register here.

Movies at Cape Mentelle Thursday 13 January 2022

Gates open at 6.00pm. | Movies start at sunset (around 7.45pm)

MRWA invites Members, family and friends to a special fundraiser screening of Blind Ambition. Andrew Caillard MW is the associate producer of this story about four Zimbabwean sommeliers and their quest to compete in the world blind wine tasting competition in Burgundy.

Watch trailer here.

Buy tickets

 

Earlier this month, 15 expert panellists took part in the second sensory analysis for the Margaret River Region Project (MRRP).

Coordinated by Richard Fennessy at DPIRD and again through consultation with AWRI, the Pivot Profile Method was used to evaluate single site samples of 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay across the region. In order to ensure consistency in the winemaking, samples were collected by Richard directly from wineries post-fermentation which were then finished and bottled in his lab in Bunbury.

The Pivot Profile Method was developed in France in 2014 and is being utilized internationally as a frequency-based, free-descriptive analysis method which has proven to be both robust and inexpensive comparative to many other sensory evaluation protocols.

We are pleased to see that The Margaret River Region Project is continuing to progress and advance towards a comprehensive narrative which combines the science and romance of our region.

Many thanks to Richard Fennessy and the team at DPIRD, Eloise Jarvis and the expert panel.

Expert Panelists

Wednesday 24 May, 2pm – 5pm, Margarets In town

Wine Automation

In a world first, Cambridge University is bringing low-cost automation to Margaret River. It will offer low-cost, practical automation solutions tailored specifically to the key needs of Margaret River wine businesses.

The Shoestring Digital Wine program is led by an Australian, Cambridge Professor Duncan McFarlane. Margaret River wineries stand to be amongst the very first Western Australian businesses to benefit from the Shoestring Digital program developed by Professor McFarlane and his Cambridge team.

For wineries, work process automation promises enhanced worker engagement and productivity, margins, sustainability and resilience in the face of unrelenting increases in the pace of change.

Shoestring helps each business to tackle actual problems, one step at a time, in a simple manner, using low-cost components and open-source software. Unlike high-cost standard automation offerings, Shoestring solutions will come from a clear understanding of what Margaret River wine businesses want.

If you would like your business to have the opportunity to engage directly with the experts at Cambridge University to prioritise and address your needs, please RSVP your attendance via this link, using “shoestring” as the password.

Shoestring is a business development program delivered by a network of Western Australian organisations supported by the University of Cambridge (UK) and backed by a four-year commitment from Western Australian government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. The Shoestring experience commences with businesses attending a group workshop that helps identify digitalisation priorities. Then, the Shoestring team works with individual businesses to help tailor solutions to their specific needs.

For more information on the program or to register an interest, contact Richard Fennessy or the FII team at [email protected].

To find out more about Shoestring, and to view a case study of an UK business please review:

Shoestring | Helping smaller companies to start digitalising (2:27min)

An industry example (4:42min)

The world is your oyster. Learn about choosing your next export market and have your questions answered at this Zoom information session.

Join WA Wines to the World on Wednesday 24th of November 9:00am – 10:00am for an information session about choosing your next export market, as well as an update on upcoming activations from WA Wines to the World.

Find out more and register.

Thursday 15 & Friday 16 June 2023 – Margarets In Town
The purpose of this conference is to bring together experts and stakeholders to discuss the implementation of the Wine Industry carbon roadmap. The goal of the conference is to identify and address the key challenges and opportunities in transitioning to low-carbon production and mitigating the impacts of climate change. The conference will examine best practices and innovative solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. Discussions will focus on case studies, technology, and innovations in driving the implementation of a carbon roadmap and realizing a sustainable future.
Learn more and register here.

Thursday 25 May, 7.30am to 11am AWST

Held at the National Wine Centre and streamed online.
An informative seminar, where you’ll learn practical tips and insights for a strategic approach to your social media management.
Discover the techniques of effective storytelling, and learn how to create a compelling narrative that connects with your audience and brings your stories to life.
For those unable to attend on the day, the event will be recorded and available to watch later.
If you’re a small business owner, marketing professional, or simply interested in improving your social media skills, grab yourself a ticket.
Learn more and register.

This year the Margaret River celebrated the 20th Margaret River Wine Show.  Continuing its recent winning streak, the 2020 Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay took home three trophies, including Best Chardonnay, Best White Wine and Best Wine of Show.  This adds the five trophies it had already picked up at two other wine shows earlier this year.

Larry Cherubino said, “it was great to be there and celebrate with our amazing winemaking and viticultural team.”

From the 762 Margaret River wines, submitted by 105 exhibitors, 80 wines, or 10.5% of all entries, received a gold medal, which equates to 95 points or above.

Chair of Judges Nick Ryan said at the Gala lunch, “It’s been a pleasure and privilege to lead a brilliant group of judges at this year’s Show. You can’t help but come away from a few intense days debating the region’s best confident that Margaret River is performing at an exceptionally high level and assured that it’s only going to get higher in years to come.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland said, “We believe Margaret River was the only regional wine show in Australia that has interstate judges this year, which confirms our team’s tenacity and also the desirability of an invitation to judge here.”

The Xanadu team triumphed again this year taking home five trophies, including Most Successful Exhibitor.  Xanadu Head Winemaker Glenn Goodall said, “The Margaret River Wine Show has been one of the highlights of the year for Xanadu. Performing well at our local show, amongst so many other great Margaret River producers, is always an incredible achievement for the team and our growers.

It was great to see interstate judges back at the show this year, we are obviously wrapped with the results! The icing on the cake was again being awarded the Langton’s Trophy for Wines of Provenance, especially given the pride we take in our Cabernets. It is testament to the efforts of so many people over the years at Xanadu. I’m very proud of the whole team.”

The Margaret River Wine Association was thrilled to announce the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to lifetime wine zealot, importer and retailer John Jens, and the winners of the Viticultural and Wine Tourism Excellence Awards also. 

Langton’s 2021 Margaret River Wine Show Trophy and Awards

Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Show
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Margaret River Wagyu Trophy for Red Wine of Show
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Labelmakers Group Trophy for White Wine of Show
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Vinline Mobile Bottling Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor
Xanadu Wines

Langton’s Trophy for Wine of Provenance
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 2014, 2020

City of Busselton Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Multi-Color Trophy for Best Chardonnay
Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay 2020

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red
McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Portavin Trophy for Best Single Vineyard White
Deep Woods Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Cospak / Saverglass Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot 2018

Winequip / Lallemand Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc
Wills Domain Mystic Spring Sauvignon Blanc 2021

MR Refund Trophy for Best Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Xanadu DJL Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2020

 My Vintner Trophy for Best Other White Blend or Varietal
tripe.Iscariot Kroos Chenin Blanc 2020

 Fusion Electrical Trophy for Best Shiraz
Stella Bella Shiraz 2020

Chr. Hansen Trophy for Best Rosé
Marq Serious Rosé 2021

 Hahn Corporation Trophy for Best Other Red Blend or Varietal
Evans & Tate Single Vineyard “Carter Road Vineyard” Malbec 2020

 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award
John Jens

 Viticultural Excellence Award – sponsored by Happs Wines
Chris Gilmore, Clairault Streicker

Wine Tourism Excellence Award – sponsored by Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association
Grace Pigram, Vasse Felix

This year, the awards were presented at a Gala luncheon rather than a dinner and the new format under a sperry tent at Swings & Roundabouts in Yallingup was well received by the 190 attendees at the sold-out celebration.

The Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show was judged at the Margaret River HEART from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 October 2021.

Judges were (in alphabetic order by surname):
Nick Ryan (Chair of Judges) – Writer, Presenter, Communicator
Anna Pooley – Winemaker, Pooley Wines, Tasmania
Daniel Swincer – Chief Winemaker, Pernod Ricard, South Australia
Emma Farrelly – Director of Wine, State Buildings, Western Australia
Erin Larkin – Wine Writer, Halliday Wine Companion, Western Australia
Kate Laurie – Winemaker & Owner, Deviation Road, South Australia
Kim Horton – Senior Winemaker, Willow Bridge Estate, Western Australia
Liam McElhinney – General Manager & Chief Winemaker, Tasmanian Vintners, Tasmania
Tim Lovett – Senior Winemaker, Leeuwin Estate, Western Australia
Tom Wallace – Winemaker / Winery Manager, Brown Family Wine Group, Tasmania

Associate Judges were Andrew Bretheton – Deep Woods Estate, Matt Buchan – Cherubino Wines, Japo Dalli Cani – McHenry Hohnen Vintners, Matt Godfrey – Devil’s Lair, Foni Pollitt – Mayfair Lane and Feleasha Prendergast – Margaret River Vintners.

All results from the 2021 Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show are available at https://margaretriver.wine/margaret-river-wine-show/

Widely considered the biggest ambassador for Margaret River’s National Wine Show success on the planet!!

On the 29th of October 2021 the Margaret River Wine Association presented John Jens with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime commitment to Western Australia wine.

John was joined by his son, Jack Jens, and upon receiving the award to recognise his achievements, he spent his whole acceptance speech talking about everyone else’s achievements. 

“I’m grateful and I’m honoured and I’m also very very aware there are many, many other people who deserve this sort of thing.  But I can tell you I moved to the west in 1977, at the same time Margaret River and the Great Southern were opening up.  You guys have given me a reason for passion, a reason for pride, a reason for purpose and you’ve made my businesses financially.”

As Wine Writer, Nick Ryan summarised, “that says a lot about the man“.

John Jen’s Full Biography

John Henry Jens is a wine zealot, who lives for and has given his life to wine.

Born in Victoria, John attended Xavier College Melbourne, studied Commerce Arts at Santa Clara University California and later attended Roseworthy College, then Australia’s only wine educational institute.

John’s introduction to wine started at home from a young age.  He and each of his 9 siblings, from the age of 12, were not only expected to locate, decant and pour wines – from their father’s very extensive cellar.  They were also expected to taste daily and to be able to explain their views, typically on 15 to 20 year-old red wines.

He had collected 180 bottles of Penfolds Grange by the age of 24, along with 60 dozen other premium reds.

John moved to Perth in 1977 and in 1981, in the early days of Margaret River’s wine production, he started his first wine wholesale operation to represent the state’s most prominent names including Ashbrook Estate, Pierro, Moss Wood and Cullen.

John set up and managed six liquor stores under the John Jens Fine Wine banner, and in 1990 was a 50% founding partner in Devil’s Lair Wines.

John has consulted to a number of Western Australia’s small wineries and “online” specialty wine retailers.

For 40 years he has driven Australia’s largest and most comprehensive formal tasting program. These play host predominantly to WA’s and Margaret River wineries but also to some of the world’s greatest wine names – some of whom, including Chateau d’Yquem – have flown to Perth solely to host Lamont tastings.

Since 2007 John has worked during the day in Wine Importing and Retailing, and at night as a sommelier for his wife in her family’s group of Lamonts restaurants and retail outlets.

John is a regular wine industry speaker, has hosted a weekly 6PR radio wine program for many years, and for 25 years was the wine writer for the Western Suburbs Weekly.

John’s raison d’etre has always been to put the West Australian wine industry into context.  As a former professional statistician, he has more than 250,000 wine tasting notes on file and has constructed wine grids on all of Capital City Trophy winning varietal wines since 2013 – thus only recommending wines that he considered to be the best in every style and price range.

At 73 he still works 70 to 80 hours a week.

John has a steadfast commitment to Margaret River wine and his warmth and charisma that makes him such an engaging spokesperson and ambassador for the region.

20 and 27 October – 8am AWST

Exporters seeking a brief introduction to the US market to determine if it’s the right fit for their brands can attend Wine Australia’s new two-part series ‘Export Ready USA’, launching 20 October 2021.

Join host Aaron Ridgway, Wine Australia’s Regional General Manager, Americas, as he shares tips and tools for navigating this complex market, followed by a Q&A session.

Find out more or register for the two-part series here.

2021 WINE TOURISM EXCELLENCE AWARD
Presented by MRBTA

Enter for a chance to be awarded a $2,000 education and training bursary!

The MRBTA Wine Tourism Excellence Award celebrates the importance of Wine Tourism to the Margaret River Wine Region. It also acknowledges that Wine Tourism and sales and exports are intrinsically linked.

The award recognises a person’s outstanding achievement in the Margaret River wine industry.

Cellar Door Managers within the Margaret River GI who have managed a single cellar door for at least 18 months are eligible to enter.

Judging will focus on future vision and achievements over the past financial year (July 2020 – June 2021).

Entrants will be assessed as individual managers rather than the company they are employed by to undertake this role.

Applications close Sunday 10 October. 

Up to three finalists will be selected by the judging panel, made up of a representative of MRBTA, MRWA and a recognised wine tourism specialist.

The award winner will be presented with a trophy at the Langton’s 2021 Margaret River Wine Show Gala Awards Luncheon on Friday 29 October at Swings & Roundabouts and will receive a $2,000 education and training bursary.

To help us find the recipient of this year’s Wine Tourism Excellence Award presented by MRBTA please send their contact details to [email protected].

Or to apply yourself complete the application form and send to [email protected].

Wine Tourism Excellence Award Hall of Fame

2020 – Paris Hokin, Arlewood Estate
2019 – Ulrika Larsson, Clairault | Streicker
2018 – Emily Bromell, Howard Park Wines

2021 VITICULTURAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Presented by Happs Wines

Enter for a chance to be awarded a $2,000 education and training bursary!

Once again it is time to recognise the viticulture behind our great brands! Who couldn’t you have done without? Who would you like to recognise in your team for their hard work by nominating for viticultural excellence? Let’s give our tireless viticultural people some accolades to show how much we appreciate them.

Developed in 2007 to acknowledge that great wines start in the vineyard the Viticultural Excellence Award celebrates the importance of viticulture to the Margaret River Wine Region. The award recognises a person’s outstanding achievement in the Margaret River wine industry.
Applications close Sunday 10 October.

Up to three finalists will be selected from the applicants by the judging panel, made up from industry professionals and previous winners. Each finalist will be required to provide an interview and tour of their vineyard to the judges. A winner will be determined after the site visits and interviews have been completed.

The award winner will be presented with a trophy at the Langton’s 2021 Margaret River Wine Show Gala Awards Luncheon at Swings & Roundabouts and will receive a $2,000 bursary and membership of the MRWA for 12 months.
To enter the award simply complete the application form and sent it to [email protected].

Viticultural Excellence Award Hall of Fame

2020 – David Moulton, Cape Mentelle
2019 – Ianto Ward, Juniper Estate/Higher Plane
2018 – Steve Martin, Stella Bella
2017 – John Fogarty, Deep Woods Estate
2016 – Suzie Muntz, Xanadu Wines
2014 – Ashley Wood, Cape Mentelle
2013 – Dave Botting, Howard Park & Madfish Wines
2012 – Jaden McLean, Woodlands Wines
2011 – Bart Maloney, Vasse Felix
2010 – James Harris, KarriBindi
2009 – Keith Scott, St Margaret’s Vineyard
2008 – Teresa Gibellini, Glamorgan Estate
2007 – Steve James, Voyager Estate

Wednesday 8th May 2024

THE EVOLUTION OF AUSTRALIAN CHARDONNAY. WHAT’S NEXT?
Renowned UK wine writer Will Lyons will headline the second Chardonnay Symposium Australia 2024, being held at Stones of the Yarra Valley on Wednesday 8th May 2024.

In 2019, Wine Yarra Valley hosted the first Chardonnay Symposium Australia and over 180 attendees from Australian industry and media came together to listen to a stellar list of speakers on all things growing, making, and selling Chardonnay.

In 2024, we will investigate what has changed for Chardonnay since then and engage in a conversation about ‘What’s Next?’ for Australian Chardonnay. The program features informative and engaging presentations from industry, trade and media such as Richard Hemming MW, Jamie Goode, and Michael Brajkovich.

Information about how to buy tickets will be shared when they go on sale on Wednesday 28th February, with discounted early-bird pricing finishing on April 7th, 2024.

Thursday 14 October, 3pm AWST

Looking at some of the latest trends and consumer insights, Wine Communicators of Australia, Wine Communicator of the Year Trish Barry, Mastermind Consulting will share some practical tips and insights into direct and digital marketing considerations for the year ahead. She’ll touch on advertising trends, the role of different social media platforms and key themes to reach and engage your customers.

After this practical session with Trish, we will have an informal winemaker Q&A hosted by sommelier Bridget Raffal in conversation with Emma Norbiato of Calabria Family Wines. We encourage you to BYO something from NSW to enjoy for this part of the session.

Bridget Raffal is the Beverage Director at Where’s Nick Wine Bar and the founder of Women and Revolution – a new organisation representing and connecting women across all sectors of the wine industry. She currently sits on both the NSW Events Committee and the National Executive Committee for Sommeliers Australia.

Emma Norbiato is Chief Winemaker at Calabria Wines and has received widespread recognition for her winemaking skills, including ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in 2016 at the Australian Women in Wine Awards and a finalist for Gourmet Travellers 2019 ‘Winemaker of the Year’. She is a respected wine judge and a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar.

The event runs for one hour on zoom and will be packed full of useful information for maximum value, and minimum zoom fatigue.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW, $15 pp (WCA members & non-members)
Ticket holders will receive the link to join the virtual workshop via email the day prior.

Register here.

 

Module 1: Tuesday 19 October 10am- 12pm AWST
Module 2: Wednesday 20 October 10am- 12pm AWST

You are invited to attend a 2 x 2 hour interactive online session When
to make informed decisions on using e-commerce channels to Module 1
capitalise on the growing demand from Asian consumers. Tuesday
At out workshop you will: 19 October 2021
• Learn how to tap into the world’s largest e-commerce Module 2
market and access Asia’s rapidly expanding middle-class Wednesday
consumer base. 20 October 2021
• Gain a detailed overview of e-commerce platforms and
opportunities for SMEs in a variety of Asian markets, with a Time
key focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 10.00 am – 12.00 pm AWST
(ASEAN), India and China.
• Understand supply chain models required for an e- Where
commerce strategy Webinar
• Consider cultural needs for marketing, social media and
building your brand in an Asian context

Learn more and register here

Dan Murphy’s would like to take this opportunity to invite submissions for the 2022 Dan Murphy’s and BWS Red Wine range review. In store live dates are early May with initial orders expected early April.

Both brands will be working closely together as they look to further curate their ranges to ensure they are locally relevant and reflective of current and future growth areas. Of particular focus are submissions in the following areas:

Other important points to note:

Dan Murphy’s Only

The red wine range review does not cover their entire red wine range. The following areas are Out Of Scope for this review, with these reviewed at different times of the year:

 

Whilst they are looking for new products to add to the existing range, they’ll also be reviewing the existing range based on the following metrics:

All products will be reviewed against their competitive set within each brand.

Range contraction will occur in varietals / price nodes with range duplication. Products that do not provide differentiation and / or have low customer loyalty will be removed from range. BWS in particular will be reviewing SKU proliferation in some store clusters, which may lead to a net reduction in those stores.

Change To Timelines and Process

Please read the following carefully as it contains important information regarding changes to timelines and submission processes.

If your product matches the above criteria and you wish to submit for ranging in either Dan Murphy’s and / or BWS, please complete the 2022 Endeavour Drinks Red Wine Submission Form no later than Friday 15th October. No physical product samples are required at this stage.

Suppliers of shortlisted products will then be invited to submit physical samples (either tank samples or finished goods) for assessment. All submissions will need to be made to the Endeavour Drinks Wine Panel via the Sample Submission Form with samples sent to Endeavour Drinks Wine Panel – Red Wine Review at 789 Heidelberg Road, Alphington, Victoria 3078 by no later than Friday 19th November.

Please do not send physical samples unless asked to do so.

Suppliers of successful products will then be invited to enter details into Partner Hub (if you do not have access to Partner Hub, please contact [email protected] in advance) with full set up needing to be complete by no later than Friday 24th December. 

Please appreciate that they often receive in excess of 1,000 submissions and will not be able to provide feedback on all products to all suppliers, but they will endeavour to notify of any range changes in a timely manner.

Regards

The Endeavour Drinks Wine Team

Ian Wolfe – Category Manager Endeavour Fine Wine West –  [email protected]

Mark Samaha – Assistant Category Manager Endeavour Fine Wine West – [email protected]

Rick Blundo – Assistant Category Manager Endeavour Fine Wine West – [email protected]

 A very special project which included the coming together of so many producers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cabernet pioneers who started the journey we’re all now on.

In 2017, to celebrate 50 years of regional collaboration, all Margaret River producers were invited to submit a sample of their best single vineyard 2017 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon for this collaborative project.

Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, Juniper Estate, Hay Shed Hill, Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Lenton Brae, Brookland Valley, Deep Woods, Devils Lair, Heydon Estate, Xanadu, Flametree, Redgate Wines, Happs Wines, Rosily Vineyard, Stormflower Vineyard, Fraser Gallop Estate, Amelia Park Wines, Evans & Tate, McHenry Hohnen, Snake + Herring, Thompson Estate, Victory Point, Oates Ends, Ringbolt, Howard Park, Watershed, Cloudburst , Credaro Wines, Miles from Nowhere, Calneggia Family Vineyards and Swings & Roundabouts* samples were tasted blind on Friday 4 August 2017 by the winemaking team of Andrew Calliard MW, Cath Oates of Oates End, Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix and Glenn Goodall of Xanadu Wines.

(* listed by age of vineyard)

A blend was produced using the Margaret River’s finest 2017 single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon lots submitted. Oak barrels donated for the maturation included a Sylvain Grande Reserve Chateau barrel from Mastercask and an Icone Elegance barrel from Seguin Moreau.  After aging in oak for over 12 months, the final wine is a blend of the two barrels.  The wine was bottled in 2018.  372 bottles were produced and have been sold through a series of charity auctions.

The label features an original landscape artwork by leading Margaret River artist, Mary-Lynne Stratton, winner of the 50th Anniversary Wine Label Art Prize.