Here in Western Australia, we are lucky enough to have nine amazing wine regions to choose from. We are spoilt for choice, but which wine region is right for your wine tour in Perth?
Perth is believed to be the only Capital City in the world to have not one, but TWO wine regions within 30 minutes of our CBD - the Swan Valley and the Perth Hills wine regions. For those looking to go further afar, some of our regions are quite remote and have very few cellar doors, but the world-famous Margaret River wine region has plenty to offer. The main regions that we recommend for Perth wine tours (in no particular order) are:
A Perth wine tour to the Swan Valley wine region is high on most visitors' to-do list due to it's proximity to Perth (about 30 minutes from the City) and being our oldest wine region it has had almost 200 years of building a reputation for quality, boutique wine production.
You may wonder why you have not heard of, or seen, Swan Valley wines outside of Western Australia? Quite simply, the region is actually quite small (roughly a 32km loop in total) and most of the wineries don't make enough wine to be able to export to large markets.
With the first plantings dating back to 1829, the Swan Valley is the second oldest wine region in Australia - and for 150 years, the Swan Valley was our only wine region! The region was put on the map in 1937 by the highly respected winemaker Jack Mann, who created Houghton's White Burgundy - one of Australia's most acclaimed wines.
This region has just 890 ha under vine, with a warm Mediterranean climate with very hot Summers but with low humidity and good breezes which is ideal for avoiding disease. This climate results in juicy fruit-forward wines that are very ageworthy, but also extremely drinkable as young wines due to their tannins being lower than many other regions.
The signature varietals in the Swan Valley wine region are ones that thrive in the warmer weather - Chenin Blanc is the superstar of this region, along with Verdelho, Grenache and Shiraz. In fact, Jancis Robinson (world-renowned wine critic and Master of Wine), believes the Swan Valley makes some of the best Verdelho in the world.
This region also boasts world-class Fortified wines thanks to generations of winemaking tradition and the warm climate allowing the grapes to reach a ripeness that many other regions can never achieve.View Swan Valley Tours ➔
The Perth Hills wine region is located in the Darling Range and is geographically quite large, spanning from Chittering in the North to Serpentine in the South. For our Perth wine tours in this region, we concentrate on the pocket known as the Bickley Valley - located about 30 minutes from the Perth CBD.
The Bickley Valley has about 14 boutique wineries, along with a handful of local cider makers. Originally an area that was mostly orchards, present day vines date back to the mid-1970's however the 'Perth Hills' was only gazetted as a wine region in 1999 which makes this quite a young region in comparison to the historic Swan Valley. With just 119 ha under vine in the whole Perth Hills wine region, the wineries here are mostly very small producers that sell direct through their onsite cellar door.
Home to the highest altitude vineyards in Western Australia, the elevated location of the Bickley Valley has a continental climate similar to areas of Spain, Portugal and Italy, with milder temperatures and a slightly later ripening season than that of the Swan Valley.
There are no strict 'signature' varietals in this region, being small producers that mostly sell direct to the public through their cellar doors, many of the wineries have a varied and interesting tasting line up including some rare varietals that are hard to find elsewhere. There are some emerging varietals such as Vermentino and Tempranillo that are starting to become popular in the Perth Hills as they grow particularly well in this climate and are well received by customers.View Bickley Valley Tours ➔
The most famous of Western Australia's wine regions, technically a wine tour to Margaret River is not a 'Perth wine tour' as it is located about 3 hours/270km south of the CBD. Although it's not that close, it is possible to do a Margaret River day tour from Perth, or even better, an overnight tour will showcase even more of the region.
The first plantings in Margaret River took place in 1966 by Tom Cullity (of Vasse Felix), with the assistance of the Swan Valley's winemakers passing on their generations of knowledge and cuttings from their vines.
At approximately 100km in length from north to south, and with approximately 5,725 ha under vine, there are vineyards planted throughout most of the region with a lot of variation in the characteristics of the wines depending on which subregion the grapes are from. The Margaret River region is considered to be very similar to that of Bordeaux and is mainly a Mediterranean climate, with its proximity to the ocean on three sides imparting strong Maritime influences.
Although it covers a large physical area, the Margaret River wine region makes up only 2% of Australia's total grape crush, 60% of the producers here make less than 4000 cases a year! Yet it produces 25% of the country's premium wine - with the grape prices being valued at almost twice the Australian average.
The signature wines in the Margaret River region are namely Bordeaux varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay thrive in this area and are consistently produced to world-class, award winning standards. Shiraz is also popular in this region, as well as the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend (also known as 'SBS' or 'SSB') - a distinctive blend unique to Western Australia.
There are 100+ cellar doors to visit in this region, which is one of the reasons that all of our tours to Margaret River and the South West region are run as private tours - so we can handpick the wineries that will suit you best.View Margaret River Tours ➔