Margaret River, amongst admittedly strong competition, lays claim to being Australia’s most picturesque wine region. Surprisingly remote – even with the new highway, it’s still a more than three hour drive from Perth, which itself is the world’s most remote city – the quality of the wines (not to mention food and lifestyle) makes the effort to get there more than worthwhile.
Although the first vines were planted in the mind 19th century, the story of modern Margaret River began in 1967 when Tom Cullity planted vines at Vasse Felix. By early 1970s Di and Kevin Cullen (Cullen), Keith and Clare Mugford (Moss Wood) and with encouragement from his friend, Robert Mondavi, Denis Horgan (Leeuwin Estate) amongst others followed suit.
Whilst there are vineyards throughout the (relatively small) region, there are two main clusters of plantings. To the north of Margaret River itself, about 20 kilometres is the larger group between Yallingup and Cowaramup, with producers such as Cullen, Moss Wood, Vasse Felix, Woodlands, Cloudburst and others located here. About 10 kilometres to the southwest of Margaret River is a smaller group, and includes Leeuwin Estate, Voyager and Cape Mentelle amongst others.
Today there are more than 160 producers in the region, and whilst a broad range of grape varieties are planted, it is unquestionably Chardonnay for whites and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds that dominate.
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