Geography, Climate & Soil

A grape-growing paradise.

Margaret River sits in the south-western corner of Australia, around 270 kilometres from Western Australia’s capital city of Perth. A long, narrow region, it is hugged by the Indian Ocean on the north, west and Southern Ocean to the south. This stunning stretch of land is one of the most geographically isolated wine regions in the world, bestowed with ancient soils and a unique biodiversity: 80% of its plant species are found nowhere else in the world.

Its geography, soils and Mediterranean climate combine to create ideal grape-growing conditions – heavy winter rainfalls, cool sea breezes that give vibrancy to the fruit and a long, dry ripening season capable of ripening Cabernet Sauvignon right to the end of the season.

Latitude

Grapevines favour what can be described as ‘temperate’ climates, which mostly fall within distinct latitudes of 30˚ and 50˚ from the equator. Margaret River sits well within this range at 33°55’S

Altitude

The altitude is low at 40–90 metres (131–295ft) above sea level.

Climate

  • Mediterranean climate with strong maritime influences from having the ocean on three sides.
  • It is the most marked maritime climate in terms of rainfall of any region in Australia, with an annual rainfall 1000mm+
  • High winter rainfall, a dry, warm summer and low risk of frost and hail provide excellent conditions for viticulture.
  • Low diurnal temperature range leads to very even heat accumulation.

Growing Season Rainfall

Growing season rainfall is calculated from October to April and is a good indication of how much water is available to the vine. Margaret River receives the majority of its rainfall during winter, with just 275mm (10.8in) falling during the growing season and 100mm (3.9in) during harvest period.

Mean January Temperature

20.4 degrees (68.7°F)
Mean January temperature refers to the mean temperature of the warmest month.

Heat Degree Days

Heat degree days is an indicator of the warmth of a climate during the vine-growing period.

Soil

Margaret River soils are predominantly deep, well-drained, red gravelly loams.

Running down the middle of the region is the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, which connects Cape Naturaliste to the north and Cape Leeuwin to the south. The granite bedrock of the ridge is 150–600 million years old, layered in places with two-million-year-old limestone.

Over time, the ridge has created a complex network of gneiss, schist and granite-based soils, the oldest in the world. These soils are low in nutrients, resulting in low vigour in the vineyard – ideal for producing high-quality grapes.

“Margaret River has the most reliable climate of all the major wine regions – indeed all – of Australia. Its latitude and the ever-present maritime influence of the Indian Ocean combine to give it high winter rainfall and a very even accumulation of heat throughout the growing season."

James Halliday, Wine Companion

If Australia could only pick one wine region to showcase the very best wines it can produce it would be wise to single out Margaret River.

Richard Siddle, The Buyer, UK