The stunning Margaret River region, located near the south-western coast of Western Australia, offers a wealth of attractions for visitors. For those who have arranged car hire in Western Australia, Margaret River is an easy and enjoyable morning or afternoon’s drive from Perth and a naturally beautiful region to explore. Outstanding beaches offer some of the best surfing action in the country, ancient limestone caves are both fascinating and exciting to discover and since it’s almost always warm and sunny in Margaret River there’s no shortage of fun outdoor activities to indulge in, from whale-watching to mountain-biking and snorkelling to horse riding.
You’re likely to spot the biggest clue to the Margaret River Region’s international appeal, however, from the comfort of your hire car as you pass through a landscape of lush green vineyards. Thanks to perfect grape cultivation conditions the Margaret River region produces more than fifteen percent of Australia’s finest wines and is home to between one and two hundred wineries of all sizes. Another compelling reason for hiring a car in Western Australia is simply for the pleasure of touring some of the best wineries of the Margaret River region. And whilst drinking and driving is strictly off-limits in Australia, the Margaret River region’s abundance of great accommodation, which includes B & B’s, hotels, cottages and inns to suit every taste and budget, means that visitors can stay close to wineries and enjoy their Cellar Door hospitality without having to worry about driving.
The wineries of the Margaret River region have achieved world-renown for the quality of their chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons in particular, but the fertile soil and temperate, sunny climate here favours many more grape varieties including Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin Blanc and Verdehlo which results in the production of the widest imaginable range of excellent Australian wines.
Choosing favourites among the many superb wineries that dot this southern area of Western Australian is a difficult task and any list is bound to be subjective, but here’s a selection of some of the best wineries of the Margaret River region based upon the reviews of those that have visited them. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy the odd glass of something good the only true way to find out whether or not you agree with our suggestions is to pick up a rental car in Australia, head south from Perth to the gorgeous vineyards of the Margaret River region and start conducting your own research…
1. Stella Bella Wines, 205 Rosa Brook Road
Based on what was once a dairy farm, Stella Bella Wines’ award-winning cellar door was originally the farm’s abattoir! Nowadays this popular winery prides itself on the quality of its wines and the enthusiastic team is only too keen to demonstrate their wine-making knowledge and expertise and to share their excellent wines, which include Pink Muscat, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon with visitors.
2. Cape Naturaliste Vineyard, 1 Coley Road, Yallingup
Recognised in 2011 at the London International Wine Fair as producing the best red wine from a single vineyard (a 2009 Torpedo Rocks cabernet merlot), Cape Naturaliste Vineyard has an impressive string of such accolades under its belt. This former coaching inn with a 150-year history is now Australia’s westernmost vineyard and winery. Few experiences can compare with the simple pleasure of sampling a fine, organically-produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc on the winery’s verandah which offers delightful views of the lush vineyards and surrounding Margaret River countryside.
3. Xanadu Winery, Boodjidup Road
Gold medal-winning wines and contention for the Diner’s Club’s prestigious ‘Winemaker of the Year Award 2013’ are only part of the story of Xanadu Winery’s appeal. Founded in 1977, this is one of Margaret River’s oldest wineries and enjoys a gorgeous setting within its own gardens. There’s also a highly-regarded restaurant here, but it’s the wines – red, white, rose and sparkling – that Xanadu so expertly produces that are the real stars of this friendly Cellar Door.
4. Cape Mentelle, Wallcliffe Road
One of the Margaret River region’s ‘founding five’ vineyards, Cape Mentelle has been serious about producing quality Australian wines since 1970, with vineyards covering 150 hectares of land. This is the place to indulge in some robust Bordeaux-style red wines, with the Zinfandel and Cabernet Merlot particularly worthy of mention and for those who enjoy a little recreational activity with their wine-tasting, Cape Mentelle invites visitors to take part in the French outdoor game of ‘petanque’.
5. Woody Nook Wines, Metricup Road, Wilyabrup
Since 1998 the wines produced at Woody Nook have won more than two hundred awards, both nationally and internationally, between them. This boutique winery enjoys a beautiful woodland setting and has a laid-back, rustic atmosphere in which visitors can enjoy not only an outstanding selection of red and white wines including Tempranillo, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin Blanc and Semillon, but also ‘Velvet Rose’ and the winery’s speciality port; ‘Nooky Delight’!
6. Evans and Tate, Caves Road/Metricup Road, Wilyabrup
One of the Margaret River region’s larger and better-known wineries, Evans and Tate nevertheless offers visitors a truly personal touch. The passion for wine is demonstrated through no fewer than eight separate wine ranges, including the exclusive Cellar Door range that cannot be found anywhere else. From trophy-winning Shiraz and Chardonnay to Pinot Gris, Pink Moscato and the unmissable Zamphire Blanc-de-Blanc, Evans and Tates’ wines are as outstanding as its hospitality.
Think we have missed one of your favourite wineries that deserves to be on our list? Send us an email and let us know why – we’d love to hear from you.