BEYOND THE CELLAR DOOR!
The promise of savouring, swilling and sipping a diverse selection of wines is undoubtedly the primary reason that most visitors come to Margaret River. However, when you want more than just a tasting what are your choices? Fortunately, many wine regions are waking up to this opportunity, and rolling out some pretty solid and immersive experiences allowing the consumer an opportunity to learn about grape growing and its relevance in making a top drop!
Be it a one-on-one tour with a winemaker, the chance to try a birth year vintage, or the prospect of creating your own blend; these experiences are usually limited to the corporates! However, a few of the larger and more established Margaret River wineries with deeper pockets and greater access to human resources are trotting out some very smart and insightful products, that are available to the everyday punter.
Here is a selection of a few of them!
CAPE MENTELLE VINEYARDS
It is said that wines of distinction start in the vineyard so why not discover terroir and how Cape Mentelle’s coastal location becomes the essence to their winemaking philosophies. Take your own personal journey with their tour guide through the vineyard and winery discovering how they look at fruit in order to create wines of freshness, structure and elegance. Walking through the winemaking process you will follow the story from our iconic Wallcliffe Vineyard through to the state-of-the-art fruit processing areas and ending in the rammed earth Cabernet Cellar, where you can enjoy a tutored wine and food pairing experience!
Wine, food, family and friends come together at Voyager Estate, who are creating outstanding wines that are skillfully matched with the finest local produce.
Voyager Estate invites you to immerse yourself in a journey from the vineyard to the table. Tour the estate to taste wine straight from the barrel and see Australia’s largest underground barrel cellar before indulging in a true degustation. Take your place at a private tasting that offers a fun and interactive way to learn more about wine, from how to identify aromas in wine to learning more about the famed Margaret River varietals; Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The estate has earned an international reputation for producing outstanding wines, an award-winning restaurant, serviced boardroom and private airstrip. Visitors are welcome to participate in the Leeuwin Immersion Experience, which is a relaxed and informative introduction to the Estate, where you will be treated to a morning tea or coffee along with freshly baked scones, in their private alfresco verandah setting. Your tour host will provide an overview of the history of the region and Leeuwin Estate’s world class Leeuwin Concert Series and the philosophy behind their winemaking.
Following morning tea you will be escorted on a behind the scenes tour of the winemaking process, incorporating a visit to their outstanding Art Gallery to view the collection of contemporary Australian artworks commissioned for the famous Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” labels. A Wine and Food flight will await you at the conclusion of the tour as your host guides you through five wine and food matches perfectly created from our seasonal menu.
The Epicurean Tour is available every Monday through to Friday at 10.00 am and 3.00 pm, where you will explore the world of food and wine at Margaret River’s founding wine Estate. This tour takes you behind the scenes on wine making, sharing unique historical insights into the region and all facets of wine production at Vasse Felix, followed by a tasting of the wine collection.
You will then step into the world of food and wine matching, where you’ll gain insights into Margaret River’s local produce, and the philosophies that guide the Vasse Felix Chefs in their creation of dishes to match with the region’s wines. Enjoy the ultimate treat of a three course set menu, paired with wines. Finally select your choice of a bottle of Vasse Felix Premier wine to take away and share with your friends and family.
At Moss Wood they welcome Moss Wood members for tastings and private visits by appointment only. (it is a simple matter to sign on as a member).
Visits there are unhurried and you will be guided by knowledgeable and experienced personnel through the winery and be introduced to their history, philosophy, vineyards and wines. You will taste wine from barrel and tank and visit the museum where you will view back vintages of Moss Wood wines. During vintage (February to April) you may see the processing of the grapes and also try pressed juice during various stages of fermentation. A visit to Moss Wood is a rare and sought after experience not to be missed. There is a small charge for your visit of $80.00, per visit/group, which is redeemable against any wine purchased.
GO BEYOND THE CELLAR DOOR!
There is a growing number of artisan and traditional wine producers tucked away here in Margaret River, that do offer unique and insightful opportunities to meet the maker and to share their passion! Understandably, time means more to them than perhaps their larger cousins who operate at a higher level of human resource. And those who thirst for knowledge and that truly unique, off the beaten track experience are encouraged to come along!
These are often referred as lo-fi or low intervention wines and are increasingly showing on the wine lists at Australia's best restaurants, and natural-wine-focused festivals.
But natural wine can be a divisive subject and some claim that natural wine is a "grape-based alcoholic beverage" and "not really wine"! The Norwegian sommelier Mads Kleppe was in Sydney in 2018 for Noma Australia, suggested that term natural wine should be abolished. Conventional wine containing synthetic additives, he said, should be referred to as "unnatural wine" instead.
So why all the brouhaha on both sides of the fence? Why has there been such a significant rise in the popularity of natural wine? And how does the conventional wine industry respond to this growing and natural intrigue?
If you would like to truly explore the region and travel down the road less trodden, then why not book yourself onto a MYDRIVER full day private tour. Here you will be travelling in the company of only family and friends, and with the day’s itinerary the result of a collaboration of ideas, thoughts and opportunities, fermented up between us!
Alternatively, you could consider either the ‘epicurean’ or revelation’ experience of the wine and food tour of Margaret River. And though offering more structure to the days planned activities, both of these are available for between two and six people and so you may be joined by other like-minded individuals!