3 - 10 March 2008
This fabulous itinerary takes in many of the star regions and visits of our past twelve tours giving a really up to the minute, comprehensive overview of not only what is going on wine-wise, but of many of the most lovely parts of this beautiful and vast country. Many of the producers are small and not yet established on the International market, so do not be surprised if you haven’t heard of them or can’t find any mention of them in reference books. In order to avoid too many lengthy coach journeys we have included several internal flights.
We start in the delightfully laid back former whaling town of Albany, where we are based in very comfortable sea-front apartments on the shores of the Southern Ocean. It’s well worth considering getting here a day earlier just to relax after your long flight out or after spending a day or two in Perth. This is a gentle, unhurried part of the wine world, yet base for many pioneers and entrepreneurs who in recent years have followed their dreams to set up wineries here, with many of the enterprises set up as recently as ten years ago or less. The vineyard region of South West Australia known as “Great Southern” is a vast region 150 by 100 kms. It is sub-divided into five sub regions according to location and climate (in fact virtually what the French call “terroir”): – Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup.
We meet up after breakfast time (you can catch the early morning flight out of Perth with Sky West, our coach will meet you at the airport). Our visits today will be to Mount Barker and the next day to Albany and Denmark. Next day we travel North via new region of Mangimup which was only planted in 1988. (This journey takes us through vast Karri Eucalyptus forests) Some enterprising young winemakers are already doing great things here and we are looking forward to catching up with them for the third time in recent years over a comprehensive lunchtime tasting.
Travelling North to the more established Margaret River we stay at comfortable small Manor House hotel – old for Australia being over a hundred years old! (Kangaroos often spotted on the lawn at breakfast time…).
From here we visit the great names that have put this region on the map – such as Cullen’s, Cape Mentelle, Moss Wood and Vasse Felix. We’ll also be sure to get the chance for a swim in the Indian Ocean – wine is important but you can’t come all this way without being able to say that you have at least dipped your toe in two oceans!
Our final days are spent in the historic Swan Valley near Perth at one of favourite small boutique hotels. It’s small and comfortably chic and welcoming . Our visits here include Houghton’s owned by Hardy’s where the great Jack Mann was wine-maker, the first to make great table wines in West Australia.