Margaret River is a renowned wine region in South Western - Australia, with approximately 5,500 hectares under vine and some 215 wineries as at 2012. Margaret River wine region is made up predominately of boutique size wine producers. The climate of Margaret River is more strongly maritime-influenced than any other major Australian wine region. It has the lowest mean annual temperature range, of only 7.6°C, and for good measure has the most marked Mediterranean climate in terms of rainfall.
The varied landscape is given character by the abundance of small creeks and gentle valleys, as well as the profusion of native trees, shrubs and flowers. In physical terms, a degree of protection from winds blowing in from the ocean is the most important factor.
The principal soil type is that of the ridge which runs from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin; it is predominantly gravelly or gritty sandy loam that has formed directly from the underlying granite and gneissic rock. The soils are highly permeable when moist but moisture is quickly shed from sloping sites.
Cardiologist Dr. Tom Cullity planted the first Margaret River vines on 8 acres of land that he bought in 1967. He named his property ‘Vasse Felix’, a name the much-extended vineyard still bears today. The area known as Vasse was named after a French sailor named Thomas Timothee Vasse who was lost overboard off the coast in the area from the ‘Naturaliste’ in 1801. After dedicated research performed by Dr John Gladstones from the University of Western Australia, he published a paper in the Journal of the Australian Institute for Agricultural Science in 1961 which reignited the interest in the region.
It has been a mere 45 years since the first vines were planted, but near perfect growing conditions have enabled Margaret River to quickly become recognised as one of the world's great fine wine regions. The principal grape varieties are fairly evenly split between red and white; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin Blanc and also Verdelho.
Celebrated as one of the world’s most conducive areas for producing Chardonnay it’s here you will find wines of great intensity, length and character. The region is possibly even more highly regarded for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends which are prized for their dense fruit flavours, multi-layered complexity and cellaring potential.
Margaret River is hugged by the ocean on three sides the resulting maritime influence lends itself to ideal growing conditions. The maritime climate provides natural assistance from the wind, rain and sun and is considered one of if not the most isolated and pure grape growing regions in the world. There is a sense of uniqueness of place and personality that comprises the Margaret River wine region. Although Margaret River contributes only around 3% of the country’s wine grapes - it commands over 20% of Australia's premium wine market.