The uniqueness of the Margaret River region
Margaret River is the major geographical indication wine region in southwest Western Australia. Margaret River wine region is made up predominantly of boutique size wine producers; although winery operations range from the smallest crushing 3.5 tonne per year to the largest around 7000 tonne. The climate of Margaret River is more strongly maritime-influenced than any other major Australian region. It has the lowest mean annual temperature range, of only 7.6 °C, and as well as the most marked Mediterranean climate in terms of rainfall, with only 200 millimetres of the annual 1160 millimetres falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. Although the region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production, it produces over 20 percent of Australia’s premium wine market. The principal grape varieties are fairly evenly split between red and white; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin blanc and Verdelho.
- 300kms South South West of Perth Latitude 33 ° 55’S
Longitude 115 18’E (Gladstones Line)
- SIZE OF REGION (GI)
- 213,000 ha with 98,750ha remnant vegetation (46%) 100 kms from north to south | 27kms from east to west 5,800 hectares under vine (2.7%)
- HIGHEST ELEVATION
- 227 meters
- Mediterranean - annual rainfall 1000mm + Jan Mean Temp - 20.4 degrees (68.7 ° F)
Growing season rainfall - October-April 200 millimetres (7.9inches) Relative humidity - October-April, 3 pm Average 59%. Harvest - February mid April
- Gravel, Loam / Sand Granite. The soils are highly permeable from sloping sites
- NUMBER OF GRAPE GROWERS
- NUMBER OF WINE PRODUCERS
- TOTAL TONNES HARVESTED
- Vintage 2017 - 42,003 tonnes
- NUMBER OF GRAPE VARIETIES PLANTED
2016 vintage – 31,626 tonne – 39% Red 61% White
2012 vintage – 35,813 tonne – 41% Red 59% White
2011 vintage – Not available – Not available
2010 vintage – 31,370 tonne – 40% red 60% white
2009 vintage – Not available – Not available
2008 vintage – 36,601 tonne – 48% red 52% white
2007 vintage – 33,825 tonne – 39% red 61% white
2006 vintage – 28,637 tonne – 44% red 56% white
2005 vintage – 30,630 tonne – 51% red 49% white
2004 vintage – 35,101 tonne – 54% red 46% white
2003 vintage – 26,178 tonne – 57% red 43% white
2002 vintage – 25,751 tonne – 59% red 41% white
1999 vintage – 13,041 tonne – 38% red 62% white
The Margaret River Wine Region’s climate is strongly maritime-influenced, as might be expected in a region surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With a mean annual temperature range of only 7.6°C (45.68°F), it has less than 25% of its annual rain falling between October and April.
The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth and while spring frosts are very rare they tend to be highly localised.
Margaret River is a wine region of superior growing conditions that are seasonally consistent with a Mediterranean style climate. This means vineyards are not affected by extreme summer and winter temperatures. Humidity levels are ideal during the growing period and the combination of climate, soil and viticulture practices leads to consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour. Consequently annual vintage results continue to exceed expectations and reinforce its reputation of one of the premium wine producing regions of the world.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay seems to acquire a unique extra dimension in the Margaret River Wine Region. It is more concentrated, more complex, more viscous and tangy, yet does not become overly cloying or heavy. The voluptuous fruit lends itself to the full range of winemaking techniques and the region’s winemakers do not shirk from using them.
Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon: In most vintages the region welds the two varieties together in a way which no other area does. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon being aromatic varieties are outstanding with fresh citrus, lemon blossom and stone fruit on the nose with the palate balanced off by crisp acidity. Intensity and elegance are hallmarks of these blends from Margaret River.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon were the first to win acclaim in the Margaret River Wine Region for their consistently high quality. Virtually every winery produces a Cabernet although Merlot is an increasingly common blend component. The style has evolved over the decades – the common threads are ripe grapes that provide a sweet core to all the wines, which are never leafy or herbal, and often with slightly earthy or gravelly tannins. These latter characteristics are very much a product of the local terroir, which provides complexity, authority and structure.
Shiraz: There was some conjecture within the Australian wine industry about the future of Shiraz in the Margaret River Wine Region with results of late solidly indicating it has a true home here. Various styles can be present with everything from medium bodied spice and pepper to rich full bodied fruit driven wines available.
Predominant Varieties (2017 Harvest)
19% Sauvignon Blanc
18% Cabernet Sauvignon
9% Other Red varieties
6% Other White varieties
The varied landscape of the Margaret River Wine Region has an abundance of small creeks and gentle valleys, as well as a profusion of native trees, shrubs and flowers. This flora provides a degree of protection from winds blowing in from the ocean.
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.
- The Margaret River Wine Region is located in the far south west corner of Western Australia and is one of the most geographically isolated and pure wine regions in the world.
- Everything to the West of 115’ 18” East longitude is known as the Margaret River Geographic Indication (wine region).
- Viticulture was firmly established by the 1970’s and is a very young wine region particularly internationally, only just over 45 years old, and was quite unique as it was built upon science.
- The Margaret River Wine Region gained early fame for its powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
- Other principal grape varieties include Shiraz as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends.