According to Australia’s Bureau of Statistics, beer drinking now accounts for just 41% of alcohol consumed annually, down from 75% in the 1960s. Enjoying a glass of wine on the other hand, has increased over the same period from a mere 12% up to 38%.
It appears this trend is also growing elsewhere. The UK, which makes up the largest number of foreign tourists visiting Australia, has also seen a big decline in beer drinking. According to the UK’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), wine is now the favoured alcoholic drink of 60% of the UK adult population–all of which bodes well for Australia’s local wineries, and those who organise wine tours along Margaret River and the surrounding areas.
Australia is wine country, and Margaret River is one of the many places you can visit if you would like to sample some the best wines the country has to offer. The small town is in the Southern part of Perth and has excellent weather perfect for various activities. Touring a winery is one of the most sought after activities in the region that tourists and locals can engage in.
If you are new to Margaret River, going on wine tours is a good idea, as these tours are designed to introduce to you the best of what local wineries, such as The Berry Farm, have to offer. Here are a few tips to remember when planning out your wine tour:
Intimacy is the best setting when visiting a winery if you want to find out as much information as possible regarding the wines and produce. Talking with the owners and winemakers one on one is a very educational experience. For someone who doesn’t feel comfortable in crowds, consider the size of the group you are travelling with.
At only 110 square kilometres, the Margaret River region is quite small but is also one of Western Australia’s most diverse and renowned holiday destinations. As stated by MargaretRiver.com, the region boasts a bevy of fine winery restaurants. Aside from great food, what kinds of wine and other delightful beverages does the area have to offer?
Sparkling wine is a type of wine that has considerable amounts of carbon dioxide, which gives it a distinctive fizziness. Champagne often comes to mind, but other interesting varieties of sparkling wine do exist. Wineries provide a selection of fine variants including sparkling passionfruit, strawberry, lemon and wild berry, and nashi pear wines.
Your wine tour can last from one day to a couple of weeks, depending on how much you want to see and how you pace yourselves. Tour the vineyards and leisurely walk along the fragrant rows of grapevines. Learn how Australian grapes are grown and harvested, and maybe even get the chance to pick a few, if the season permits it.
If you’re feeling famished, there are some trendy Margaret River cafes in selected wineries like the Berry Farm. Take a break from walking around and indulge in local wine products or maybe have some snacks and afternoon tea for two.
Taking a tour of the best wineries in Margaret River may seem like a totally macho thing to do, but the fairer sex can enjoy wine, too. As it is, many of Australia’s wine drinkers are women, as Pia Akerman notes in her recent article for The Australian:
Women are leading the race when it comes to Australia’s wine consumption, with surveys showing nearly 60 per cent of wine drinkers are female. They also wield mighty purchasing power, helping put sauvignon blanc (predominantly of New Zealand origin) into position as the country’s most popular wine variety, well ahead of the second placegetter, shiraz.
The Gourmet Escape was popular enough last year to net over 16,000 visitors. This makes the event one of the biggest food festivals in the world, a testament to the guests invited and the cuisine featured. The festival may have lasted only three days but excellent Margaret River winery restaurants like The Berry Farm’s Cottage Cafe are there for tourists year-round.
What makes Margaret River so special? Well, first of all, there’s the wine. Wineries dot the area and some of them only sell their vintage to visitors or exclusive distributors. If you’re looking for the perfect pairing of your wine with your dish, you can go on a tour around the many wineries that open their doors to the public.
From Swan Valley, the industry quickly branched out to the Great Southern region of Western Australia, along the the route of its sub-regions—Porongurups, Mount Barker, Albany, Denmark, and Franklin and Margaret River. The numerous productive Margaret River wineries specialize in red and white wines, the most popular being the red cabernet sauvignon and the bubbly sauvignon blanc.
For people who want to truly savour the best wineries in Margaret River and nearby popular places, such as the popular The Berry Farm in Rosa Glen, a wine tour of the region should be a sensible idea. There are several agencies that offer a guided tour, but with over a hundred wineries in the area, you’ll have to cast your own net around the places you absolutely need to see. Whether you take the guided tour option, or forge your own itinerary, take note of these few reminders.