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Five of the Best Mornington Peninsula Wineries and Cellar Doors

Exceptional Pinot GrisChardonnayPinot Noir, and boutique cellar doors abound as we present the best Mornington Peninsula wineries to visit.

Just an hour drive from the centre of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula has long been known as the home of beaches, colourful swimming boxes and holiday houses. Since the early 1980s Mornington has emerged as one of the Australia's premier cool-climate wine regions. With its many sheltered valleys and a maritime cool climate, it's now home to over 200 wineries producing award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.

To help plan your trip, we've selected a collection of Mornington Peninsula wineries we feel provide the best cellar door experience, plus we've included a handy interactive map down below.

Crittenden Wine Centre

Crittenden Wines are an icon of the Mornington Peninsula, helping to establish the region's reputation for superb cool-climate wines since the early 1980s. Today, the new Crittenden Wine Centre is the perfect place to sample a wide range of wines. Sit back and enjoy relaxed table service and be guided through a customized flight of wines by knowledgeable and friendly staff. There is a superb range of over two dozen wines on offer, from excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir through to innovative alternative varietals such as Vermentino, Savagnin and Tempranillo under their Los Hermanos and Pinocchio labels.

25 Harrisons Rd, Dromana, VIC - View on our Mornington map

Open daily 10:30 am to 4:30pm

Visit the Crittenden Wine Centre website

Quealy Winery Cellar Door

If you're a fan of Pinot Gris then a visit to the Quealy Winery Cellar Door should be the first cellar door on your list -  Australian wine lovers can arguably thank Kathleen Quealy for introducing us to this vibrant style.  At this charming cellar door, passionate hosts are on hand to guide you through the eclectic range of wines each with a characteristic and innovative winemaking style. You'll enjoy an amazing collection from sparkling wines and skin-contact whites to single vineyard Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir,  and cool climate Muscat dessert wines. You're in good hands here.

62 Bittern-Dromana Rd, Balnarring, VIC - View on our Mornington map

Open daily 9am to 5pm

Visit the Quealy website

Red Hill Estate

Established in 1989, this salt of the earth winery and cellar door was one of the first in the region and helped establish the Mornington Peninsula's reputation for outstanding cool-climate wines. There is a superb range of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Shiraz and Sparkling available to sample, with fruit sourced from their three estate vineyards. This is a great way to contrast the subtle differences that each vineyard imparts and to also appreciate the talents of winemaker Donna Stephens. Make sure you take the time to step outside and take in the magnificent view - it's one of the best in the region and looks over the vines out towards Western Port Bay.

53 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South, VIC - View on our Mornington map

Open daily 11am to 5pm

Visit the Red Hill Estate website

Rare Hare

Rare Hare is the Peninsula's latest restaurant, wine bar, produce store and the new home of Willow Creek Wines and is not to be missed during your next visit. Enjoy a casual wine tasting at the wine bar or call ahead to book a guided tasting with one of the cellar door team in the barrel room. Afterwards, take in the panoramic views over the Willow Creek vines and enjoy innovative modern Australian fare in the restaurant courtesy of executive chef Guy Stanaway. Why not book a room and stay a night at Jackalope Hotel, the region's latest luxury offering, that's just a short hop from the cellar door.

166 Balnarring Rd, Merricks North, VIC - View on our Mornington map

Open Mon to Thur 11am to 5pm and Fri to Sun 11am to 9pm 

Visit the Rare Hare website

Yabby Lake

This charming cellar door is the perfect place to spend the afternoon sampling a host of award-winning single vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Enjoy stunning views over the vineyard and a light lunch on the verandah, or perch yourself at the slick tasting bar and be guided by the always friendly cellar door staff through offerings from their Yabby Lake and Red Claw labels.

86-112 Tuerong Rd, Tuerong, VIC - View on our Mornington map

Open Daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the Yabby Lake website

Mornington Peninsular Cellar Door Map

Planning a trip to Mornington Peninsula? Download our interactive Mornington Peninsula winery map. To save on your browser or device, click here

For more information on visiting the Mornington Peninsula, be sure to visit the official Mornington Peninsula Website or stop by the visitor information centre in Dromana. If you'd like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit, explore our selection of Mornington Wines and find out more about the wineries listed here in our Meet the Makers section .

And, with the Wine Selectors Regional Release program me, you'll experience a different wine region each Release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you'll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our Regular Deliveries page to find out more!

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Australia's emerging wine regions: making their presence felt!
This Aussie Wine Month we're exploring some of the emerging wine regions across Australia. While they're not as well-known as some of the big guns, Orange, Canberra, Geographe and the Granite Belt are all producing fantastic quality wines. Plus, discover Riverland's new look and new take on alternative varietals.   Orange Located in the central west of NSW, about 280kms west of Sydney, the cool climate region of Orange is producing exceptional Sauvignon Blanc , Chardonnay , Merlot and Pinot Noir , and has winemakers from across the state vying for its premium fruit. Sitting at almost 900m above sea level and with some vineyards climbing to 1100m, Orange is the highest wine region in Australia. It's this altitude coupled with the volcanic soils of Mount Canobolas that make its Sauvignon Blanc so amazing. Of the almost 40 wine producers in the region, nearly all make a Sauvignon Blanc and all have their own style - fresh and fruity, subtle yet complex, pure and minerally, barrel fermented and rich. The region's most common expression of Sauv Blanc is the fresh, intense fruit-driven style. Less herbal, it has a tropical punch with passionfruit being a key flavour. It tends to be a bit fuller with more palate weight, but is still lively. Chardonnay also thrives in Orange's cool climate as does Pinot Noir and Shiraz . The best Pinots are perfumed, earthy and very inviting and that's what you get in Orange - seductive and charming in their youth, they don't need lengthy cellaring. Shiraz performs well across the different elevations - the richer styles come from the lower elevations, while those from higher vineyards are medium-bodied and spicy. Alternative varieties also have a huge future in the region. Look for Sangiovese, Barbera, Vermentino , Grüner Veltliner, Arneis, Zinfandel, Tempranillo , and Barbera. Browse our range of Orange wines    Canberra Although grape growing and winemaking in the Canberra district dates back to the 1840s, production went into a dramatic decline, and it wasn't until the 1970s and 1980s that the industry was rekindled in the region. Over the last 20 years, there has been growing interest in the region, and the three sub-regions of Bungendore/Lake George, Hall and Murrumbateman are now home to around 110 vineyards with approximately 450 hectares under vine. The Canberra region experiences a strongly continental climate with a high diurnal temperature range (cold nights and hot summer days) and generally a cool harvest season. Some vineyards are planted on near-alpine slopes with cool autumns contributing to elegant cool-climate Shiraz , Pinot Noir , Cabernet , and Riesling , while those on the lower slopes create full-flavoured Chardonnay and Shiraz. A number of alternative varietals are also on the increase with small plantings of Sangiovese , Tempranillo , Malbec, Marsanne, Roussanne, Graciano and Grüner Veltliner producing fantastic quality wines. Browse our range of Canberra wines   Granite Belt Three hours south-west of Brisbane on the southern Darling Downs, the Granite Belt is situated around Queensland's apple capital, Stanthorpe. Surprisingly, its first plantings of grapes date back to 1820 and precedes Victorian and South Australian regions by 15-plus years. While Queensland is usually thought of as having a hot or tropical climate, the Granite Belt has some of Australia's highest altitude vineyards and it's the associated cool climate that is the perfect setting for the region's fine boned, European-style wines. Think medium-bodied, savoury reds with fine tannins and pronounced acidity. In the whites, expect lighter, citrus driven styles with elegant layers and fine acid lines. Adding to the Granite Belt's wine identity is the fact it excels in alternative styles. While you'll certainly find mainstream varieties like Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay, the real excitement comes from discoveries like Fiano, Vermentino, Chenin Blanc, Savagnin, Barbera, Graciano, Durif, Nebbiolo and Tannat. Browse our range of Granite Belt wines here   Geographe Located just two hours south of Perth, this historic region gets its name from French explorer Nicholas Baudin whose boat was called Le Geographe. He chanced upon the area in 1802 and was no doubt impressed by the stunning coastline and rolling hills surrounding. One of Australia's most geographically diverse regions, today Geographe is also one of WA's most exciting emerging regions and home to many diverse styles of wines and boutique wineries creating wines with regional distinction. There are four districts in the region: Harvey, Donnybrook, Capel and Ferguson all with their own unique terroir and topography, but it is the cooling afternoon sea breezes from Geographe Bay that ensure a long stable growing season and that help create the local style of wine. Look for stunning Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, plus alternatives Arneis, Chenin Blanc, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo. Browse our range of Geographe wines   Riverland A warm climate region, Riverland is located east of the South Australia's Barossa Valley and extends for 330 km along the Murray River from Paringa to Blanchetown. Producing up to 30% of Australia's annual crush, it's the largest wine producing region in Australia and home to 1,000 wine grape growers representing 20,600 hectares of vines. Once known for growing fruit for large scale production, Riverland is now being recognised for turning its talents to exciting and premium alternative varieties like Petit Verdot, Montepulciano, Nero d'Avola, Tempranillo, Fiano, Arneis and Vermentino. Fiano particularly, is giving local winemakers a chance to show they can make exciting, cutting-edge wines. Browse our range of Riverland wines  
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The Best Tasmanian Wineries & Cellar Doors 2019
Remote, cold and rugged, but above all spectacular, Tasmania’s reputation as a cool climate wine growing region – and holiday destination – par excellence continues to grow, punching well above its weight against those across the Bass Strait. Take a tour of Tasmania’s best wineries and cellar doors for 2019 with this Guide from Wine Selectors. The climate might be cool but Tasmania’s status as a premium destination for food and wine lovers is hotter than ever. While the region saw its first commercial vineyards take root in 1865, these plantings were short-lived, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that winemakers started again in earnest to explore the potential locked up in the soils of old Van Diemen’s Land.  What has become apparent is that, in terms of climate and soil, the region is an ideal place to make cool climate wines really shine. From the sandstone and schist of the Derwent Valley to the peaty alluvial soils of Coal River Valley and the gravelly basalt, clay and limestone of the Tamar, Tasmanian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in particular have commanded the attention of the world for their heightened flavours, aromas and elegance. Tasmanian Sparkling, too, is now widely regarded as Australia’s finest, evoking favourable comparisons to the qualities of Champagne. Indeed, with some wineries now seeing their third generation take the reins and a host of young guns pushing the envelope, the scene there has become as dynamic and vibrant as the wines that result from such passion and dedication. Read on for Wine Selectors top picks for the best Tasmanian wineries and cellar doors for 2019. Nocton Vineyard Situated in the rolling hills of the upper Coal River Valley, Nocton Vineyard was planted in 1999, making it among the valley’s oldest. Taking its name from an old Scottish term for ‘farmstead where wethered sheep are kept’, it consists of over 34 hectares of ‘winemaking nirvana’, where rich dolerite-based soils and Triassic sandstone subsoil harmonises with pristine air and pure water for sublime growing conditions. Nocton produces a large array of cool climate wines that convey the terroir marvellously, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sparkling. They’re even pioneering cool climate Merlot, which is sure to intrigue – visit their cellar door to discover it for yourself. Just 15 minutes from Hobart Airport, it’s a small venue with a big view, offering tailored and tutored tastings with Estate and Reserve labels poured for you to explore and enjoy. 373 Colebrook Road, Richmond TAS 7025 Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm Visit the Nocton Vineyard website Pooley Wines Established in 1985, Pooley Wines lays claim to being Tasmania’s first third generation wine family. With two unique sites in the Coal River Valley of Southern Tasmania, Cooinda and Butcher’s Hill, they are also Tasmania’s first and only fully accredited environmentally certified sustainable vineyard, with a host of trophies and medals to their name. Across the two sites viticulturist Matthew Pooley and winemaker Anna Pooley produce superb cool climate specialties that express the region at its best, including Pinot G, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as distinctive takes on Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. No visit to Pooley would be complete without taking a tasting flight at the historic Belmont House, an 1830 sandstone stables and coach house and home to their cellar door. Awarded Gourmet Traveller’s Best Small Cellar Door in Southern Tasmania on four occasions (most recently in 2017 and 2018) as well as Best Wine Tasting Experience in Southern Tasmania in 2016 and 2019, it’s an introduction to premium Tasmanian wine not to be missed. Butcher’s Hill Vineyard & Cellar Door 1431 Richmond Rd, Richmond TAS 7025 Open daily 10am to 5pm Visit the Pooley Wines website Grey Sands Grey Sands Vineyard seeks to push the boundaries of what is possible in wine, with a focus on exciting the senses through wines that are “concentrated, complex, intriguing and sometimes confronting”. The westernmost of Tamar Valley vineyards, it was started by Bob and Rita Richter on a grass-covered block of land in 1987. Deciding against irrigation, the resulting vineyard is entirely hard, hand-pruned and close-planted to ensure maximum concentration rather than yield. Minimal intervention is the order of the day, allowing the fruit its own natural expression, and across the seventeen varieties grown at Grey Sands there is extraordinary scope to experience wines unlike anywhere else. Those eager to sample the intrigue of Grey Sands are recommended to visit the Grey Sands ‘cellar door’. Distinct from the typical cellar door, Bob and Rita have established a ‘collector’s garden’, a marvellous arrangement of mature conifers, birches, maples, exotic perennials and more to enjoy a picnic in, with a lovely view towards the Tamar Valley. Or join them on their deck, if the weather allows! A genuine one-of-a-kind winery, and a must-see for visitors to the region. 6 Kerrisons Rd, Glengarry TAS 7275 Open the first whole weekend of the month October to April only, 12pm to 5pm, or by appointment. Visit the Grey Sands website. Devil's Corner Located along the East Coast of Tasmania two hours by car from Hobart, Devil’s Corner embraces its wild remoteness with a passion to produce award-winning cool climate wines of unmistakeable character, from Riesling to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and more, as well as an esteemed range of Pinot Noirs. Visitors are encouraged to experience the premium wines alongside the freshly-shucked flavours of Freycinet Peninsula oysters at The Fishers, from the nearby Freycinet Marine Farm, or accompanied by a pizza from Tombolo Café. Undoubtedly however, the highlight – besides wines from the sure hand of winemaker Tom Wallace – is the lookout, an architecturally-designed tower offering unparalleled views of vineyards sweeping down to Moulting Lagoon against the backdrop of the Hazard Ranges. It all makes for a memorable, ultra-modern destination, that’s more than worth the journey.  1 Sherbert Avenue, Apslawn TAS 7190 Open daily from 10am to 5pm Visit the Devil's Corner website Tamar Ridge In the heart of the Tamar Valley and on the banks of the Tamar River you’ll find Tamar Ridge, where passion and science meet in pursuit of premium wines. Primarily specialising in Pinot Noir but with Pinot G, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling also in the mix, vines are planted on northerly and north-easterly undulating slopes, with soils consisting of clay subsoils and topsoils of quartz sand to clay loam. The differing soil types allows the planting of a variety of Pinot Noir clones, while the strong maritime climate protects the grapes from the extremes, with long sunny days and gentle rains producing the ideal growing conditions for wines of quality and character. At the Cellar Door, visitors can taste their way through an immersive flight of Pinot Noir and other cool climate specialties, and share a bit to eat from local seasonal platters from on-site friends Hubert + Dan on the deck, or down on the lawn, enjoying enchanting views of the pristine Tamar Valley. Sublime. 1A Waldhorn Drive, Rosevears TAS 7277 Open daily from 10am to 5pm Visit the Tamar Ridge website Bay of Fires Home to three premium wines labels in their own right – House of Arras, Bay of Fires and Eddystone Point – Bay of Fires Cellar Door is a wine lover’s dream. Each label focusses on different winemaking philosophies and styles, but one thing is consistent between them – they all reflect the unique Tasmanian terroir of their surroundings. A collaborative venture founded in 1990 by a team of passionate winemakers and viticulturists sharing a common dream, Bay of Fire presents alluring wines that are distinctly Tasmanian – handpicked, and specially selected for quality and character. The cellar door itself, a modern, welcoming venue, offers sweeping views over the vines, the winery and Pipers River, set amidst an ideal backdrop of beautiful, established gardens. Seated Tastings are available, where visitors are taken through the details of Methode Traditionelle Sparkling winemaking for Vintage Arras Sparkling Wines, before delving into Bay of Fires’ still wines and notable award winners. There’s also the 1.5hr Premium Arras Experience, offering a tour of the winery and vineyard before proceeding through a tasting of $500 worth of Arras Sparkling at a private tasting. Hard to beat, for those looking to indulge a little! 40 Baxters Road, Pipers River TAS 7252 Open Thursday to Monday, 10am to 5pm Visit the Bay of Fires website Josef Chromy Recognised for his commitment and contribution to quality food and wine in Tasmania, Josef Chromy OAM has owned and developed some of Tasmania’s leading wineries such as Rochemcombe, Jansz and Heemskerk. Josef Chromy Wines is the culmination of his experience in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, offering visitors a chance to explore the passion and product of one of our premier winemakers with tastings, vineyard tours, and more. Today, his charming cellar door is set inside the original 1880s homestead, surrounded by stunning manicured gardens, and idyllic views over the surrounding vineyards and lakes. Relax inside by the open log fire, or stop for lunch in the hatted Josef Chromy Restaurant for excellent locally sourced produce matched to the elegant, cool climate Sparkling, aromatic whites, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on offer. One of the pinnacles of Australian winemaking, and an essential stop on any wine tour of Tasmania. 370 Relbia Rd, Relbia TAS 7258 Open daily from 10am to 5pm Visit the Josef Chromy website Moorilla at Mona No mention of Tasmania’s cellar door scene could pass without listing Moorilla at MONA. The second Tasmanian winery to be established and the longest in continual operation, Moorilla was founded in 1962 and focusses on a small, yet high quality output with estate-grown fruit, small batch winemaking in a gravity-assisted winery. The best way to experience their ultra-premium wines is at MONA’s exquisite cellar door. Take a seat beneath a bona-fide John Olson masterpiece to sample their iconic wines, which emphasise texture and complexity as well as Sparkling styles. There are over 18 to choose from, but if you’re craving something different, selections from their Moo Brew beer label are also available to explore. Or better still, take a guided tour of the Moorilla Vineyard, and taste vino straight from the tank for the ultimate way of immersing yourself in the works of a legendary name in Tasmanian winemaking. 665 Main Road, Berriedale 7011 Open daily 9:30am to 5 pm Visit the Moorilla website Pipers Brook Nestled in the heart of Tasmanian wine country, Pipers Brook Vineyard in the Tamar region has been producing exceptional cool climate wines since 1974. The unique combination of geography, temperate climate and proximity to Bass Strait helps to capture the purity of Tasmania across their range of award-winning wines, with particular emphasis given to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling along with Sparkling – all estate-grown and bottled for the highest control of the resulting product. Tasmania’s largest family-owned winemaker, its cellar door offers tastings of the Pipers Brook, Kreglinger and Ninth Island ranges for you to sample while learning about the vineyard’s history, with a café offering a seasonal menu of locally-sourced produce that makes for a perfect grazing experience. For those after something a little more exclusive, guests can book the two-bedroom Pipers Brook Villa and wake each morning to stunning views overlooking the estate’s vineyards. Further, if you’re travelling by campervan, make sure to book ahead to secure free onsite RV parking. Beat a path to Pipers Brook, and experience all that one of the original pioneers in Tasmanian wine has to offer. 1216 Pipers Brook Rd, Pipers Brook TAS 7254 Open daily from 10am to 4pm (Summer), Thursday to Monday 11am to 4pm (Winter) Visit the Pipers Brook website More information For more information on visiting Tasmania, be sure to visit the official  Wine Tasmania website . But, if you'd like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit, explore our wide selection of  Tasmanian wines and find out more about the wineries listed here in our  Meet the Makers section. What’s more, with the Wine Selectors Regional Release program, you'll experience a different wine region each Release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you'll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our  Regular Deliveries  page to find out more!
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Margaret River’s 50th
Words by Danielle Costley on 12 Nov 2017
As WA’s Margaret River wine region celebrates its 50th anniversary, we celebrate the pioneers who brought it all to fruition. A hundred years ago, a couple of Italian immigrants arrived in the south west corner of Western Australia with some cuttings of a little-known grape variety called Fragola. These vines produced the first wines to be sold in Margaret River for the hefty price tag of two shillings a flagon. Fondly dubbed ‘red dynamite’ by the enthusiastic community, this wine was in high demand at the local dance halls where it was sold from the back of a truck. And it was said to pack quite a punch. Times have certainly changed since then and while other growers produced small batches of wines in the ensuing years, it wasn’t until the mid 1960s when agronomist Dr John Gladstones published a report identifying Margaret River’s vast potential for viticulture, that the region, as we know it today, was born.
The Gladstones report attracted the attention of budding vignerons and medical practitioners, Thomas Cullity and Kevin and Diana Cullen. In mid 1966, the Cullens organised a meeting in the Margaret River township of Busselton inviting Dr Gladstones to speak. It was the final push those attending needed. Soon after, the Cullens, in partnership with Tom Cullity, and Geoff and Sue Juniper, planted vines in Wilyabrup, which unfortunately didn’t survive. It was left to Cullity, who in 1967 purchased a mere eight acres of land, to plant Margaret River’s first commercial vines – Cabernet Sauvignon , Shiraz , Malbec and Riesling . He named his venture after French sailor, Thomas Vasse, who had drowned in Geographe Bay. Hoping for better fortunes than the Frenchman, he added the Latin word for happiness – Felix. His first crop, too, was all but a disaster, decimated by birds and succumbing to bunch rot. Undeterred, but determined, Cullity persevered. In 1972, Vasse Felix won a gold medal at the Perth Show for its Riesling. The following year, gold for its Cabernet. Happy days, indeed. The Cullens also persevered. In 1971 they planted vines on their own land where their current vineyard still thrives. At this stage, Moss Wood had been established for two years and within another two years, Cape Mentelle, Leeuwin Estate, and Woodlands had also been established. In what was a fledgling industry at the time, these founding wineries worked tirelessly to forge the region’s reputation as a premium wine producer. “I pay tribute to the winemakers and grape growers of Margaret River,” says Dr Gladstones, who is still a proud member of the Margaret River community today. “It’s one thing to have an idea and put it forward, it’s another this to be brought to fruition. The work and financial commitment that had to go into it has been a big factor in bringing Margaret River to its present world-class status.”
Left: Bob Hullock. Right: Cullen Wines co-founder Diana Cullen  An American influence While the pioneering wineries may have simply dreamed of making good wine, there was a certain Californian who knew of Margaret River’s enormous potential – Napa Valley wine baron, Robert Mondavi. As the story goes, Mondavi was searching the globe for the next great wine region. His search took him to Margaret River and a patch of land owned by Denis Horgan, a chartered accountant, and his wife Tricia. Today, it is Leeuwin Estate. “Mondavi arrived on our doorstep wanting to buy the place,’ says Denis. “We weren’t the selling type, so he became our mentor in setting up a winery. He and his son and winemaker, Tim, came out on numerous occasions to advise on what varieties we should plant, where to plant them, about oak treatment and so on.” Mondavi’s advice was also greatly accepted by Cullity and Kevin Cullen, who Denis befriended and met up with regularly to discuss all things wine. “You would have sworn you were in a dog fight,” Denis says of the trio’s rendezvous. “They used to swear and curse and talk about one another’s wines, and then we’d all sit down and have lunch like we were the greatest of friends.  “They were fabulous guys. It was the best education I could have had because they didn’t pull any punches. They set out to make wines that ranked with the best in the world, and they damn well did it.” A region evolved
Three generations of Credaros in their Woolston vineyard Fifty years on, Margaret River is indeed a world class wine region. While it only produces three percent of Australia’s wine, it contributes 20 per cent of our premium wine production. It is recognised internationally for exceptional Cabernets and Chardonnays, and also produces a stylish signature blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The handful of wineries have now boomed to over 200 with most of them producing the flagships, while also experimenting with other varietals and blends that suit the Mediterranean climate, cooling sea breezes and rich gravelly soils. In the northern districts lies the family-owned Credaro Wines, where some of the region’s first vines were planted by the pioneering Meleri and Credaro families to produce the ‘red dynamite’. These days, they have over 140 hectares of vines spread across five vineyards and alongside the legendary Fragola, and Chardonnay, Cabernet and SBS, they are doing well with Pinot Grigio, Shiraz and Merlot. Thompson Estate is renowned for its Chardonnays and Cabernets, but is also finding favour with its Cabernet Merlot, Malbec and famed Four Chambers Shiraz. The 20-year-old vines are organically grown and produce impressive wines under the watchful eye of Bob Cartwright of Leeuwin Estate acclaim.
Hay Shed Hill, Margaret River At Hay Shed Hill, whose vineyards were first planted in the 1970s, the Block 6 Chardonnay is the star. Dry grown and located on a steep south facing slope, it is lean, light and fresh, but also has “flavour, aroma, body and textural interest,” says winemaker and owner, Michael Kerrigan. In concert with the Block 6, he is also giving plenty of attention to a stunning Cabernet Franc, as well as an intoxicating Shiraz Tempranillo blend. In the cooler, southern parts of the Margaret River, Sauvignon Blanc really finds voice as a single varietal. In close proximity to the Indian Ocean, you will find Redgate Wines, a winery that takes its name from a nearby property that once had a prominent red gate and was known for the production of a rather powerful moonshine. This estate, established by the Ullinger family in 1977, produces a sublime Sauvignon Blanc that is layered with gooseberry and lime. Their Cabernet blends are also beguiling, and they have a Chenin Blanc that is also turning heads. Even further south lies Hamelin Bay Wines, a quaint winery with a simply breathtaking outlook. It produces one of the region’s finest Sauvignon Blancs – fresh, vibrant and tropical, while their Rampant Red, a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet, is winning fans. Something Totally New When Moss Wood winery was sub-divided in 1982, architect Bruce Tomlinson purchased the land and established Lenton Brae winery. Putting his talents to use, he built a striking rammed earth winery and cellar door with two towers that are home to quintet bells from Westminster and chime on the quarter-hour. A few years ago, the Tomlinsons introduced a new varietal to the region, Pinot Blanc. This unassuming grape is a mutation of Pinot Noir, yet genetically similar to Chardonnay. Winemaker, Edward Tomlinson, says he was drawn to the subtle charm of this early ripening variety. “Essentially, it is a Sauvignon Blanc for grown-ups,’ he says. “The decision to plant Pinot Blanc was a big call. Having seen my father wrestle with the implications of uprooting two hectares of Pinot Noir in the early days, I was amazed at how supportive he was for me to take a punt on Pinot Blanc.” And these are not the only newcomers to the region. There’s been an influx of plantings of Mediterranean varietals in recent years, with Fiano, Vermentino, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese finding favour amongst the growing band of winemakers. A Fitting Half Century
As the 50th celebrations kick off in earnest, it is heartwarming to see much love given to the traditions of the pioneers. Vasse Felix’ s ‘tractor bucket’ party recreated the spirit of founding producers who celebrated each of those crucial early vintages in style with tractor buckets turned into eskys, filled with ice and wine and enjoyed out amongst the vines, even serving as a bed on some occasions. “Anniversaries such as this are an opportunity to share with the world just how special Margaret River is. It is a wine paradise,” says current Vasse Felix owner, Paul Holmes a Court. The single remaining bottle of the 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec is on display in the Vasse Felix vault and to celebrate the winery’s 50th anniversary, they have released a Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec made from those original vines. I am sure the good doctor would approve. And while he would be astounded to see how big the region has grown, he always knew how good the wines were going to be. “I knew because Mondavi told me so,” says Denis Horgan. “He always said that Margaret River was going to make wines that ranked with the best in the world. It was his catch cry.” The best is still yet to come says Dr Gladstones, who fittingly gets to have the last word. “I strongly believe that we’ve only seen the beginning,” he says. “This region has tremendous natural advantages for grape growing to produce top quality wines. “With its environments, experience and now increasing vine age, Margaret River is undoubtedly ripe to walk with the greatest.”
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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