The Margaret River wine region

While many early settlers planted grape vines and made wine, the first significant planting of grape vines took place in Margaret River in 1967, following a government report into the suitability of the soils for viticulture,. Most of these first vines were planted in the Willyabrup area and this is still the most heavily planted.

The wines that were made from those first vines received early acclaim and the clamour to be part of the Margaret River region began.

Stretching 120km from north to south and 30km west to east, the Margaret River Wine Region was officially registered in 1996, making it one of the first three wine regions in Australia to have its boundaries legally defined.

Today there are over 4900 hectares (2006 data) under vine in the Margaret River wine region, with large numbers of grape producers and over 120 wine producers.  Producers include the big estate vineyards like Leeuwin, Voyager, and Cape Mentelle, through to boutique family operated concerns such as Treeton Estate.

Despite its size the Margaret River wine region produces just three percent of the nation’s grapes but is the source for production of more than 20 per cent of Australia’s premium wines.

While renowned for its Chardonnay (3981t) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5655t) wines, Shiraz (4655t) and Merlot (2179t) are other standout red varieties along with white varieties such as Semillon (4624t), Sauvignon Blanc (4483t), Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. Note: percentages correspond to the 2006 harvest by tonnes crushed.

John Simmonds

Information sources:

Margaret River Wine Industry Association.