Wine Regions

Great Southern Wine

Great Southern wine region is one of Australia’s biggest grape growing regions, stretching some 200 kilometres from east to west and 100 kilometres fr…

Great Southern wine region is one of Australia’s biggest grape growing regions, stretching some 200 kilometres from east to west and 100 kilometres from north to south. Indeed, looking at the map of Great Southern wine region suggests a grand landscape in which vines grow, but often with large gaps between vineyard land, uncommonly seen in most growing areas. Great Southern wineries are scattered across five distinct sub regions, including Porongurup, Mount Barker, Albany, Denmark and Frankland River.

The Great Southern wine region history dates back to the 1850s when original settlers to the region brought grape vines and planted fledgling vineyards, however the Great Southern wine region was officially planted to commercial viticulture in the 1960s, with the arrival of Dr John Gladstones, who further recognised the potential of the region.

Great Southern wine region is named well, with its proximity to the Southern Ocean prominent and its diverse and vast area an often surprising characteristic of the region. Great Southern wineries are renowned for Riesling and Shiraz, but there are notable plantings and quality wines produced from Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and, increasingly, a raft of newer-to-Australia varieties like Tempranillo.

Get to Great Southern

Regular flights to Albany or Denmark from Perth allow relatively easy passage to the Great Southern wine region. Flights are seen to be at times a greater convenience than the four-or-so hour drive from Perth to various parts of the vast Great Southern wine region.

Climate and style in Great Southern

Great Southern wineries experience a relative breadth of climate conditions, from more continental-inland moderate temperatures and growing seasons, to the full impact of near-coastal maritime influence of the Southern Ocean. The Great Southern wine region is diverse, with five sub-regions each lending character to wines in sometimes subtle yet different ways.

Great Southern wineries are able to produce Riesling wines of great intensity, succulence and briskness of acidity. These wines are generally very cellar-worthy, and in youth prove to be relatively lean, though very refreshing. White wines of Great Southern wineries produced from staples of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are often elegant, tightly structured and fine in profile.

Red wines of Great Southern wine region are also often elegant, finely boned and yet carry good intensity of dark fruit flavour. Shiraz has great potential to be of very high quality from Great Southern wineries, with a restraint meshed to attractive spice and savouriness, with suggestions of regional pepper and anise character.

Key Great Southern Varietals

Great Southern wineries enjoy a broad spectrum of grapes to work with, however, regional staples are generally seen to be Riesling and Shiraz, with notable examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and blends. The Great Southern wine region uses its varying elevations and climatic conditions to its advantage, offering a broad spectrum of interpretation of wine styles.

Great Southern Riesling

Great Southern wine region has a superb track record with Riesling. Great Southern Riesling is typically piercing with acidity, but also has a succulence that makes for refreshing, brisk young wines. Great Southern wineries produce intense, crisp, and leaner Riesling styles than many wine regions in Australia, with an expectation that the wines will age with aplomb in cellar for up to and sometimes beyond two decades.

Great Southern Cabernet Sauvignon and blends

Great Southern wine region has a proud history of very high profile, high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and blends. Cabernet Sauvignon is grown widely across the Great Southern wine region, and many will argue it is the big growing areas most significant red grape variety, though Shiraz has accelerated in recent years.

 

Great Southern wineries produce Cabernet Sauvignon with typically good concentration and firm tannin profile, and often show elements of herbal complexity and earthiness. The wines are intense and often quite rigid when young, but have potential for excellent aging.

Great Southern Shiraz

Great Southern Shiraz has long been in the wings of Great Southern wineries expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon, but has had a raise in profile as the styles have been fine-tuned. Great Southern wine region may produce a breadth of examples of Shiraz, but the take home message is wines of medium weight, spice, silky texture, fine tannin profile and pepper/anise character. These are sublime wines for drinking in relative youth, but can age medium term too.

Great Southern wineries

Great Southern wineries number more than 40 and the map of Great Southern wine region reflects an increasing number of smaller wine producers who are appearing from younger generations working in established wineries. Great Southern is often synonymous with Riesling, and Frankland Estate winery takes on the mantle of highest profile producer to work with the white grape.

There is a great collection of high profile wineries in the Great Southern wine region, including Alkoomi Wines, Duke’s Vineyard, Castle Rock Estate, Castelli Estate, Ferngrove, Abbey Creek, 3 Drops, La Violetta, Howard Park Wines, Express Winemakers, Larry Cherubino Wines, Kerrigan + Berry, Singlefile, Plantagenet Wines, Rockliffe, West Cape Howe, Wignalls, Bunn and Galafrey Wines.

The future of Great Southern

With increasing interest in the Great Southern food and wine festival, alongside greater traction with Great Southern wineries producing noteworthy Riesling and Shiraz, darlings of the fine dining and hip bar world, there is a great and bright future for the Great Southern wine region.

The map of Great Southern wine region may describe a tyranny of distance, but the groundswell of interesting, unique wines from often smaller, start up and experimental producers, is also creating a currency of interest. Meanwhile, established Great Southern wineries are going from strength to strength as they fine-tune viticulture and push the boundaries with their existing fine wine programs.