Today we welcome back Naomi on the blog who recently spent a day out in Perth’s beautiful Swan Valley on a D’Vine wine tour. Rain, hail or shine, a cellar door is the perfect place to be year round!
So we’re officially well and truly into winter. It has been raining, its cold and it feels like everyone who is at my day job has a cold. But why would I let the elements ruin a trip out to the Swan Valley wine region?
I was fortunate enough to be invited on behalf of the Travelling Corkscrew to experience a wine tour with the lovely team at D’Vine Wine Tours recently.
Choosing to take a tour of the Swan Valley is great for several reasons:
- You have a dedicated driver for the day – no chance to drink and drive and everyone has an opportunity to taste the wines.
- You have a dedicated tour guide who can answer any questions about the region and give some valuable insights into the wineries you’re visiting.
- You have a snapshot into the delicious wine and food scene in the Swan Valley.
- You can take advantage of the deals that the tour operator has organised directly with the wineries.
- Learn first hand about wine appreciation, the tasting process, and even a little cellar door etiquette.
- Enjoy snacks during the day at the venues and lunch is provided with the tour price.
To celebrate the business name and play on words for D’Vine Wine Tours, this is my warning to you all – there will be puns!
The forecast for the day wasn’t ideal, with a minimum of 9 degrees at 9am and a high of 20 degrees.
So the question was ‘Chardonnay’ or should I go?
I did prewarn you about the puns!
My partner and I made sure we were dressed for the cooler weather and the instance that there may be a spot of rain. The bus was kept warm while we moved between wineries and most venues we visited had their tasting rooms inside or undercover where you were protected by the elements. So, ‘wine’ not, right?
There were plenty of pickup locations to choose from. We selected the Crown Casino as we live fairly close by, however, if we were to do another tour in the Swan Valley, we would opt to be picked up in Guildford, as it would have taken a similar amount of time for us to get there.
We were on our way out to the Swan Valley, where we picked up a couple near the Guildford visitor center. Here our tour guide Brianna (Bree) introduced herself and gave us a quick rundown of how the day would run, or commonly known as the days housekeeping.
The first question that was asked as a part of the housekeeping was who hasn’t been out to the Swan Valley before, with most participants on the bus raising their hands.
Next, she listed out the venues we would visit:
- Lancaster Winery
- Mandoon Estate
- Sandalford Wines
- Margaret River Chocolate Factory, including Providor and Coward & Black Wines
- Elmars in the Valley
- Maison Saint-Honore
My partner and I opted to deviate slightly from the tour. Read on to find out how we personalised our tour at the end of the day.
Our first stop of the day of the day was Lancaster Winery where we tasted many of their wines, accompanied by a cheese platter.
Bree used this as a great opportunity to explain to the group how to enjoy the wine, teaching the group how to look at the wine in the glass, how to smell the wine, and finally, the best part, taste the wine.
Lancaster Winery is also a popular spot for venue hire, especially for weddings.
The full list of wines available to taste and buy at Lancaster Winery. We almost tried all the wines on the list.
Getting ready to pour some of the wine for the tasting.
There is a fridge dedicated to cheeses and antipasto and plenty of seating options to create your own platter, or picnic
Our delicious assortment of cheese, including soft and hard cheeses, chilli, olive and plain options.
While at Lancaster, we made sure to stop and smell the ‘rose’!
I had mixed emotions about visiting the venue again as it held a special place in my heart. This was the last venue I shared a glass of wine with the Travelling Corkscrew and Mr. Spittoon before dropping them off at the airport. But, just like the first time, I was really impressed by the service and the wine.
The Mandoon Estate logo.
We tasted through most of their wines, however, we did miss out on the Rose as it was sold out.
Once we had tasted the wines, we had the choice of three wines to have with our lunch or a glass of beer. If you didn’t know, Mandoon also has a brewery on site, so it is a perfect place to take friends and family who may not want to visit a winery, when you do.
My partner and I opted for a glass of wine each; I had a glass of the 2016 Surveyor’s Red and my partner had a glass of the 2017 Late Harvest which was on the sweeter side.
The tasting room had me salivating with their wall of wine!
After tasting the wines, we were treated to lunch. The spread included a large selection of pizzas, chips and salad.
Some of the artwork that you will find as you walk around the venue.
My wine partner for the day, posing for a quick snap before we left for our next venue on the wine tour; Sandalford Winery.
It was such a missed opportunity on the day, as I should have said to him, you’re the ‘wine’ that I want.
Have the puns got better or worse…?!
By the time we arrived at Sandalford Winery, the weather had changed and it felt substantially warmer.
Looking out to the vines.
Our tasting glasses.
We were introduced to the six wines we would taste, with each bottles expected tasting notes explained to us. We were then left to taste the six wines from the Margaret River Range, which included a fortified.
We were advised that we needed to consider the responsible service of alcohol and only pour to the designated line on the glass. With over a dozen people on our tour, the bottles didn’t last long, with the crowd favourite being the 2017 Sandalford Margaret River Range Rose.
So I guess you could say we had a ‘Mer-lot’ rather than a ‘Mer-little’?
Margaret River Chocolate Factory, including Providore and Coward & Black Wines
Next up was Margaret River Chocolate Factory. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, so rather than ‘wasting’ time at the chocolate factory, I made my way over to the Providore building, which included tastings for Coward & Black Wines.
There are a couple of different entrances into the building. There is even an entrance which contains a stand made of corks, over 20,000 ‘happy memories’!
We were quite strapped for time, so we were only able to taste through the sparkling range. It was so quick, I forgot to take photos of the wines!
Elmars in the Valley
Up next was Elmars in the Valley. The last time I was at Elmars in the Valley was to celebrate Oktoberfest a couple of years earlier and for my nephews birthday lunch, so it was great to revisit the brewery.
We were each given a token to have a glass of beer to drink at our leisure. My partner opted for a glass of the Over Draught, while I opted for the Kick Back.
What I didn’t realise is that Elmars is a part of the Cider Ale Trail, a fantastic initiative of the Swan Valley.
We were also treated to some live acoustic music.
Our final stop for the day was Maison Saint-Honore, a French-style patisserie in Caversham.
We were treated to a selection of macaroons and we were given the option to add a hot drink (which was an additional purchase).
We had a fantastic day with our tour and had a quick snap with our tour at our last stop.
My partner and I then opted to ‘make the tour our own’ and jumped off the tour to pop next door. Everything happens for a ‘Reisling’, right?!
Right next door to Maison Saint-Honore is Pinelli Estate. It has been a little while since I had been to Pinelli. It was great when the Travelling Corkscrew lived in the Swan Valley, as this was her local winery. The last time I was at Pinelli was with the Travelling Corkscrew, so it was fantastic to jump off the tour bus to go and say hello!
I made sure to reacquaint myself with the wines from Pinelli, while introducing them for the first time to my partner.
We started with the sparklings, and to celebrate the many bottles of Juliet I shared with the Travelling Corkscrew, my partner and I made sure to grab a bottle to take home with us, as it was just so bottlefull!
We also tasted through the whites.
And the reds.
As my partner and I live not too far from the Swan Valley we opted to catch an Uber home.
So, its time to ‘wine’ down, and finish this post.
There were no ‘pour’ decisions made that day and I can only highly recommend that you visit the Swan Valley this winter. The team at D’Vine tours were fantastic.
If you would like to take our tour, then jump on over to the D’Vine website and book the Swan Valley Tour. They also offer tours out to Bickley Valley if you would like to try somewhere a little different.
If a tour or lots of people aren’t your thing, make sure to find a designated driver and enjoy the wineries found in our backyard.
So sip, sip, hooray! I bet you’re grapeful that’s over.