Clearly we loved our time in Margaret River so much that when we finally decided to break our no-travel bubble, we chose a repeat visit to the region.
Exactly three years after our first trip in November 2019, as this is also our anniversary period, we spent a magical three weeks last year exploring Southwest Australia. We went beyond Margs to discover the wines of The Great Southern and were blown away by the raging beauty of the southern coastline and magnificent forests hikes.
Back in Margs, our aim was to prevent repeat visits of the wineries we had checked out before. Definitely check out Part 1 of this series as there are winery gems I would recommend in a heartbeat.
Our method of deciding which wineries to visit is simple. Ask a local. Especially if it’s the local’s job to know wines. Someone like helpful Dee at the Liquor Store in Marg Town.
You don’t have to go hunting her down, of course, but you get the gist. We would also make it a point to ask the staff at the wineries we visited as well for their recommendations.
For us, we wanted boutique wineries, and sooner or later, the same names eventually cropped up.
As usual, we didn’t make it to all, there was the gorgeous nature of Margs to explore, our beautiful Eight Willows retreat to relax in, but if small producers are what you’re after, here they are.
Wineries In Margaret River Region:
If not for Dee, we probably would not have made it to our 1st stop of this visit – McHenry Hohnen. There is a pop-up cellar door in Witchcliffe and we were hosted by a very friendly staff who enthusiastically explained about the winery and wines.
I’m not sure if it’s because this was the 1st tasting in Margs, but I think this is among my two new favourite wineries in Margs.
And this is my other favourite of the trip. Once again, the staff hosting you can really make a difference. This time, it was a French native, and she takes gold for bringing each wine to life with her descriptions. Things like “this wine is like the warm hug from your grandma, while the fireplace roars and its snowing outside.”
That’s the kind of visual imagery that sticks and makes me remember what I tasted!
Owner Chris Davies, a trained viticulturist, planted the vineyard at just 19 back in 1996 and his dedication to creating wines that express the terroir is evident in the wines we tasted. The focus is during the wine growing process, and there is minimal intervention during the wine-making process, almost all of which is done by hand.
Especially on the whites, we enjoyed sniffing out notes of pineapple, ginger, lemon verbena, and were impressed by the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon as well.
If you’re looking to stay, there is a Petit Eco Cabin, nestled among the vineyards.
House of Cards:
They are a 100% organic winery, so expect some funky results. It was a paid tasting, and we very much would have loved to buy a couple of bottles back, but our suitcase quota was already full, and looking at the exorbitant shipping costs, we didn’t.
The cellar door is located up north in Yallingup, amongst a cluster of other noteworthy cellar doors such as Arimia Estate, Windows Estate, Wills Domain and so on. Frankly, you’d probably drive up and down Caves Road which is home to many of the best wineries, so pace your wine tasting stops!
A note about Wills Domain – it was a highlight for us on our 2019 visit, the restaurant and the cellar door. We ended up shipping 12 bottles back to Singapore, so definitely wine and dine there.
We had arrived there late, around 4.30pm so that might have explained one of the staff’s sour face, but the other staff on duty was pleasant enough and took us through a brief tasting of the wines from this small-batch producer.
There was a fee but we ended up buying two bottles so both our fees were waived.
The one name that kept popping up amongst the local experts was Glenarty Road, not just for the wines, but for the food at their top-rated restaurant.
Well, since we already had a lush lunch at Amelia Park the day before, we didn’t want to have yet another big lunch. So we booked ourselves in for a wine tasting with bites (AUD 35 each). Here, we were hosted by a French Canadian, once again, impressing us with her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm.
Like Stella Bella above, Glenarty Road’s cellar door is also down south, in Karridale, so a good plan would be to make a stop at these two cellar doors before heading down further to Augusta or vice versa.
Margaret River Wineries We Didn’t Make It To:
And others that I missed out on in 2019 but thought I’d visit this time were Fraser Gallop and Howard Park. But I didn’t have time, which means, the 3rd trip, next time round!
A Quick Tip:
In general, the recommended wineries are located further up north from the Margaret River town area. It’s at most only a 30 minute drive if you’re staying in town, but the areas of Metricup, Wilyabrup and Yallingup are home not only to the top boutique wineries, they also provide gorgeous accommodation options.
In 2019, we stayed at Smiths Beach Resort in Yallingup, this time round, we had six nights, we broke them up into stays of 2 nights each between luxe Eight Willows in Metricup, and Shiraz Studio (highly recommend) and Margaret Forests, both in town area itself.