Margaret River is a relatively new wine region – the first significant vine planting took place here in the late 1960s – but it has quickly established itself as one of the foremost wine-growing names in Australia, if not the world. There are more than 200 wine producers in the region, the bulk of which are located in a 100km-long stretch of land between the Bussell Highway and the Indian Ocean, though technically the region extends further east to the line of longitude known as Gladstones Line. Most of the wineries are boutique producers making relatively small quantities and selling only at the cellar door.
The Margaret River region has a reasonably cool, maritime climate with plenty of summer sunshine and very little rain during the grapes’ ripening season – in Bordeaux such conditions would produce a great year. Consequently many of the Bordeaux grape varieties grow very well here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. You will see Margaret River SBS (a Sauvignon Blanc–Semillon blend) on menus up and down the state, as well as overseas – it’s reliably good. Great Chardonnays and Cabernet Merlot blends are also stand-outs from the region.