Appellation/Region - Margaret River
Sub-region(s) - Carbunup, Karridale, Treeton, Wallcliffe, Wilyabrup, and Yallingup
Location - Australia (South West Australia Zone; 34th south parallel)
Size - 5,500 hectares planted to vineyards
Rainfall - 1,130 mm/yr (44 in/yr)
Growing Degree Days - 1,597° C
Varietals- Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Verdelho.
Claim to Fame - World-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietal red blends, not to mention stunning Chardonnays.
Margaret River is a relatively small region, located in Southwest Australia and running just over 100 kilometers from north to south and reaching 40 kilometers wide in parts. It is bounded to the north by Cape Naturaliste, the west by the Indian Ocean, the east by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, and the south by Cape Leeuwin. The region is named after the town of Margaret River, founded in 1831 and situated almost exactly in the middle of the region. Its past economy was based on agriculture and hardwood, though now relies primarily on tourism and the wine industry.
Vasse Felix, has since grown into one of the region's top wineries. Today, the region is home to over 140 wineries producing wines from 5,500 hectares of vineyards. Primarily boutique producers, the largest may crush only 4,000 tonnes in a given vintage. Providing just three percent of Australia's total grape tonnage, Margaret River wines represents approximately thirty percent of the country's premium wine market.
Margaret River's grape varietals, wine styles, and sub-regional distinctions will be discussed in a following post so check back.