Wine Regions

Western Australia Wine

The Western Australia wine region dates back to 1829, including Margaret River & Great Southern regions. Learn about the best wineries, wine varieties…

The wine map of Western Australia shows that almost all the Western Australia wine regions are located in the southwest zone of the state, with famed regions Margaret River and Great Southern the most commercially significant.

Western Australia winery history, however, shows that the Western Australia wine region first formed was Swan Valley, not far outside of the state capital of Perth, and is considered one of the hottest wine growing areas in the world. Western Australia wines date back to 1829 when the Swan Valley was established, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that Western Australia wineries started planting in the cooler southwest, including Margaret River, Great Southern and Geographe wine regions.

Western Australia red wine produced from Cabernet Sauvignon and blends, particularly from Margaret River, has been instrumental in the prestige of Western Australia wineries. Chardonnay and blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon have also been important to Western Australia, and continue to be benchmarks of their styles.

Get to Western Australia

Western Australia wineries are best accessed via the capital city of Perth, however travel to the southwest tip where famed Margaret River and Great Southern wine regions are located, can involve an additional three hour drive. Swan Valley is proximate to Perth city, and Geographe is around two hours drive from Perth CBD.

Climate and style in Western Australia

Western Australia wineries enjoy a breadth of climate and wine styles, however Swan Valley is distinctly hot, as opposed to the cooler climates found in the southwest of the Western Australia wine map.

Swan Valley wines from Western Australia wineries are typically very generous in style, rich in fruit flavour, higher in alcohol, with a focus on Verdelho wine Western Australia. There is also a strong culture of fortified wines from Swan Valley.

Margaret River Western Australia wineries produce some of Australia’s most famous Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Western Australia red wine from Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is typically elegant, medium bodied, fine in fruit character, and ages superbly. Chardonnay from Margaret River is typically powerful yet refined.

Great Southern wine styles vary greatly due to the size of the Western Australia wine region, but Riesling is piercing and fresh, while Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon show good concentration and savouriness.

Key Western Australia Varietals

Western Australia wineries work with a breadth of grape varieties, though Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are most widely recognized. Margaret River is known for its Western Australia red wine predominately, while Great Southern is famed for Riesling. Western Australian sparkling wine is on the rise, with best examples yet to come.

Western Australia wineries

Some of the earliest established Western Australia wineries and brands include Alkoomi, Ashbrook Estate, Cape Mentelle, Capel Vale, Clairault, Cullen, Devil’s Lair, Galafrey, Goundrey, Hay Shed Hill, Houghton, Howard Park, Evans & Tate, Leeuwin Estate, Lenton Brae, MadFish, Moss Wood, Picardy, Pierro, Plantagenet, Sandalford, Vasse Felix, Woodlands, Xanadu and Voyager Estate.

Other wineries and brands include West Cape Howe, Big Jetty Bay, Byron & Harold, The Gallows, Franklin Tate, Hamelin Bay, Miles from Nowhere, Stella Bella, Swan Valley Wines, Xanadu, Abbey View and Whicher Ridge, to name a few.

Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon

Margaret River Western Australia wineries typically produce Cabernet Sauvignon at a very high quality level and reputation. Western Australia wine made from Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and blends of ubiquitous Bordeaux varieties, show sweet, black berry spectrum fruit, medium weight, regional bay leaf character and fine, often firm yet structural tannin profile. These Western Australia wines from Margaret River can appear lean yet succulent in youth, and tend to age superbly.

Margaret River

Margaret River Chardonnay

Western Australia wineries from Margaret River have a very fine reputation for Chardonnay wines. The Margaret River region shows Western Australia wines are renowned for Chardonnay that shows ripeness of fruit, depth of flavour, power, concentration and yet refreshing acid profiles that can extend the life of the wine to decades. The region is also known for liberal oak use to lend complexity to these wine styles.

Margaret River Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blends

Western Australia wineries of Margaret River produce very unique Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blends. The Margaret River wine style of ‘Classic Dry White’ was often produced from these varieties, and at the more mass-market end of the spectrum fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled young to retain grassy, tropical fruity freshness and intensity.

Western Australia wineries from Margaret River have also worked on the principle that Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that are blended and aged in barrel, on lees, can create wines of profound interest, complexity and depth of flavour, that can be released as ‘reserve’ examples of the style. These wines are typically fresh, yet imbued with savouriness and layered fruit and ‘winemaking’ flavours.

Great Southern Riesling

Western Australia wines from Great Southern wine region have a superb track record with Riesling. Western Australia wineries producing Great Southern Riesling show wines that are typically piercing with acidity, but also has a succulence that makes for refreshing, brisk young wines. Western Australia wine region 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.

Geographe Shiraz

Shiraz, in Western Australia wine region Geographe, has great currency. Wines produced from Shiraz in Western Australia wine region Geographe tend to be bold in flavour, but soft in texture, though an increasing number of wine producers are shifting their house style to reflect more medium bodied rather than fuller bodied styles. Fruit characters for Western Australia wines from Geographe wine region Shiraz tend to be in the cherry or red berry fruit spectrum, with hints of mint and peppery spice.

The future of Western Australia

Biodynamic wine Western Australia is an increasingly important yet small category of wines, particularly from Margaret River. Wine from Western Australia at a glance suggests a focus on Margaret River, which continues to be an important lead in for those wishing to explore further afield.

Best Western Australia red wine continues to be benchmarked against international examples, including yearly tastings of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon against the best of fine wines from Bordeaux. Western Australia wine region profiles continue to be raised by their proximity to lifestyle activities, beautiful beaches and the ocean, and a burgeoning gourmand scene.

File under:

  • Victoria
  • Cool Climate
  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon