Review: Margaret River wine tours are a treat for all levels of wine lovers

Stunning Margaret River, three hours’ drive south of Perth, offers visitors access to close to 200 wineries. You are absolutely spoilt for choice, so leaving the decisions on where to visit to the experts can be a relaxing move. This full day wine and gourmet food tour will give you a taste of everything the region has to offer. Review: Jennifer Morton

Margaret River wine tours

Margaret River wine tours. Image: Jennifer Morton

4.5 stars

Margaret River wine tours with Margaret River Tours

These full day Margaret River wine tours include tastings at six of the region’s best wineries, along with a delicious restaurant lunch with wine, a vineyard platter between destinations, and the opportunity to taste smallgoods at The Farm House, sweet treats at Margaret River Chocolate Company and cheese at Margaret River Dairy Company. Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

When visiting Western Australia, Margaret River wine tours are understandably at the top of many travellers’ wish-lists.

Margaret River is famous for its wine but with hundreds of wineries and vineyards in the region, it’s puzzling to know which to visit. Luckily, there’s a tour that takes care of the pesky decisions. Today, I’m travelling with Margaret River Tours, the area’s original wine tour operator.

I meet Andrew our tour guide at 9:45 on an overcast but warm morning. As I step into the van I smile and greet the others – a collection of Australians, Brits and Germans.

Andrew is a trained winemaker. He knows everything there is to know about Margaret River’s wine industry, which makes him a fount of knowledge. As we set out, Andrew shares his wine tasting tips, before giving us a run-down on the first winery, Stella Bella Wines.

Margaret River wine tours

Margaret River wine tours: Stella Bella Wines. Image: Jennifer Morton

Seven minutes later we arrive, ready to taste three whites and three reds. Our host and server is Sandy Hohnen, wife of David Hohnen, who we’ll meet later in the day.

The wines are a mix of vintages from 2013-2016. ‘Today’s wines are lighter; you can drink them without ageing them’, says Sandy.

The Sauvignon Blanc and the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc are clear and smooth; fresh and delicious. When Sandy pours the Chardonnay, I brace myself for dryness, but instead the wine is light and refreshing. The stone-fruit, smokey-oak wine is a pleasant surprise.

The Sangiovese Cabernet is like ‘the finest Italian boot leather’ says Sandy. I’m not overly keen on drinking boot leather, but this one is yum, considering I’m not a fan of red wine.

Aside from drinking wine at ten in the morning, I love the knowledge shared. We’re learning lots along the way; like how tannin is both a natural preservative and the stuff that creates dryness in wine.

On our way to our next liquid snack, I tell Andrew that I have never liked Chardonnay before today. ‘Do you drink ABC – Anything But Chardonnay?’ he asks. We laugh. The region is Chardonnay country, so I know there will be plenty more to try.

Margaret River wine tours

Image courtesy of Leeuwin Estate

Next stop on these Margaret River wine tours is Leeuwin Estate, which is not just a winery but also a luxury venue for big-name concerts and food festivals. After six more tastings, I’m feeling pretty good as we make our way to the on-site art gallery. Here, we see many of the framed works used for Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series wine bottle labels.

Five kilometres later, we pile out at magnificent Watershed Premium Wines for six tastings and a glass of wine with a superb lunch. Our party increases with a German couple joining us for the half-day version of the tour.

Margaret River wine tours

Margaret River wine tours: Visit Watershed Premium Wines with Margaret River Tours. Image: Jennifer Morton

The sun is shining and everyone is in good spirits as Andrew leads us across the meticulous lawns of Voyager Estate. This place is the epitome of elegance and style.

We arrive at McHenry Hohnen, which is just a simple building in the bush. Andrew shares a secret: this is a favourite.

The proprietor, David Hohnen is a third generation farmer and respected winemaker. He and Andrew share some friendly banter before David joins Chris, the server, behind the bar. The wines are incredible, but let’s face it I have loved them all so far.

Margaret River wine tours

Image: Jennifer Morton

What I also love here are the samples of meats from David’s other passion, The Farm House, a traditional butchery and smokehouse. Andrew serves us smoked ham and heated sausage. It’s fresh, free-range meat – the best I’ve ever tasted. The samples are only offered to wine tour patrons. We all leave with shopping bags of wine and meats.

With a sixteen kilometre drive to our next stop, Andrew presents a platter of gourmet snacks for us to enjoy on the road. It’s a delicious treat as we head for our last wine sampling.

Margaret River wine tours

Image: Jennifer Morton

Our final tasting is set in the art room at Vasse Felix, the oldest commercial vineyard in Margaret River. This winery bottles 150,000 cases each year. In 2017, they’ll celebrate their 50th birthday.

The tour finishes with stops for chocolate and cheese. It’s a perfect way to end a full-on day of wine exploration.

Margaret River wine tours

Margaret River wine tours. Image: Jennifer Morton

There cannot be a better way to experience the region’s gourmet food and wine scene than on one of these Margaret River wine tours with funny man Andrew at Margaret River Tours. My only question now is: when can I go again?

Jennifer travelled as a guest of Margaret River Tours.

Additional images: Bigstock


Jennifer Morton

About the writer

Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand and Australia. She also spent six months working on a cruise ship in Europe. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book or zooming in on a beautiful scene. She’s also likely to be boarding a plane – or jumping out of one.

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