Occasionally the stars align: cheap flights combine with babysitting options and, before you know it you’re Margaret River-bound sans one 14 month old.
As everyone knows, my husband and I love our wine regions. He’s definitely the wine connoisseur out of the two of us, while I’m there mainly for the ambience and delicious food.
Surprisingly, this was our first time to the region.
In a word, Margaret River was unexpected; unexpectedly different to the many wine regions I’ve visited before. There is less of the gloss that you tend to find in wine regions further east, and a real working winery feel at many of the wineries we visited. The region is also unexpectedly vast and the soil unexpectedly red. Much of the land hasn’t been cleared and remains packed with native vegetation, creating an authentic rural feel.
Here are five of my top picks from our long weekend getaway.
Moss Wood Winery
This is a working winery both by name and nature. Described as a “specialist, high-quality winery”, Moss Wood is a founding estate of the Margaret River wine region. The family-owned and operated winery does not have a cellar door, so tours are by appointment only. We felt lucky to take a private tour and were surprised to learn that many of the wines were sold out. Their award-winning 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon sold out in a matter of weeks! Fortunately, we were able to try the 2015 straight from the barrel.
Margaret River Bakery
I’ve never had a bakery experience quite like Margaret River Bakery. This is so much more than a bakery! While we went for plenty of delicious fine dining meals while visiting the region, this bakery was my favourite food experience of the trip. Located on the main street in the centre of town, this vintage-inspired locale has both an eclectic decor - think mix and match crockery and substantial colourful velvet armchairs - and menu. With everything from vegan bircher muesli to bacon and egg classics, pastries and desserts available, you certainly won’t go hungry. Head here for breakfast and lunch; this is a local hangout for good reason.
It’s easy to see why Windows Estate has been awarded Best Small Cellar Door three years running. The family owned winery has a bright, beach house themed cellar door overlooking a sprawling lawned area. Their wines are in hot demand and their highly rated Chardonnay is particularly good!
Burnside Organic Farm
While I’m far from a farm girl, staying at Burnside Organic Farm was a treat. The working farm and winery is a little taste of the best of Margaret River in one location and sees the McCall family live largely self-sufficiently on their property. Aside from lounging by the fire in our generous bungalow, we also walked around the property spotting kangaroos, meeting the pigs (and new piglets!) and admiring the large vegetable garden, avocado trees and bee hives. Owners Jamie and Lara have an interesting story, swapping city life in Perth and careers in journalism and finance for farm life in Margaret River two decades ago.
Cullen Wines is another founding estate of the Margaret River region, with a 50 year history of winemaking. The light-filled cellar door and restaurant opens out to a backdrop of vineyards and peppermint trees. Cullen Wines are committed to sustainability and carbon neutrality - which I love (and suspect is no small feat!) - and the wines are Australian Certified Organic.
I hope this article inspires you to visit this top Australian wine region before too long!