The Margaret River Wine Story

Part I - Young love

Established in the late 1960s, the Margaret River Wine Region has a relatively short history in wine production compared to other Australian wine regions, and is arguably the first wine region in Australia to be selected on the basis of good science.

It started with University of California Viticulture Professor Harold Olmo, who recommended the planting of wine grapes in Western Australia in 1955.  University of Western Australia agronomist Dr John Gladstones then published a research paper in 1966 that examined the Margaret River’s suitability for viticulture. He believed that the only possible disadvantage of the region could be its heavy winter rainfall, which would necessitate choosing vineyard land that had good drainage.

This paper had a significant influence on the Margaret River Wine Region pioneers.  The following year, in 1967, the region's first modern commercial vineyard was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec at Vasse Felix, by Dr Tom Cullity (pictured above). The first Chardonnay vines were then planted at Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Wines, Ashbrook Estate and Moss Wood in 1976.

Fast forward 50 years, and Margaret River Wine has built an international reputation as a fine wine stalwart, renowned world-round for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. And although the industry is made up of just over 160 boutique wine producers who make less than 2% of Australia's wine, it is heavily regarded as one of the world’s – not just Australia’s – finest wine regions. We think that's a pretty impressive feat for an industry bred on science, and grown from love.