How To Spend A Day In The Ferguson Valley Wine Region

Happy Birthday To Me

I recently celebrated a 30-something birthday and my birth date can be both a blessing and a curse.

  • Blessing: My birthday is held over the Australia Day long weekend and I am always guaranteed a ‘recovery’ day.
  • Curse: It can be really difficult to try and get friends together, as it is a good time to go away. And this year was a three-day long weekend.

bryce and naomi at bushshack brewery sitting at a table drinking small beers

I convinced the other half to make an extra-extra long weekend, taking a four-day long weekend and our destination was Busselton.

Using Busselton as our base meant we were in the middle of two major wine regions; Bunbury-Geographe (highlighted in blue) and Margaret River (highlighted in pink).

australian south west regional map

Source: australiassouthwest.com

I have visited quite a few Margaret River wineries, so I thought it would be a good chance to check out what was available in the Bunbury-Geographe wine region and I had a few areas to choose from including:

  • Harvey
  • Ferguson Valley
  • Donnybrook
  • Capel
  • Busselton

There are over 25 cellar doors in the Bunbury-Geographe wine region, so I knew I would be able to find a couple of cracking good wines.

I reached out to the team at Pop A Cork Tours who offer wine tours in a 1968 convertible Mustang (their car looks pretty amazing) in the Ferguson Valley for a wine tour suggestion and they came up with the following list:

  • Hackersley Estate Wines
  • St Aidan Wines
  • Ferguson Falls Wines
  • Willowbridge Estate
  • Green Door Wines
  • Capel Vale Wines

We managed to visit five of the six wineries (sorry Capel Vale Wines!) and snuck in a brewery partway through the day.

Before I visit any new wine region, I like to get a lay of the land.

About The Ferguson Valley

The Australia South West website describes the Ferguson Valley as:

a picturesque agricultural hinterland where traditional farming enterprises like beef and dairy production have been joined in more recent times by a now thriving tourism industry.”

As soon as you start driving through the region you have this beautiful mix of open farmland and towering trees from the native bush.

Ferguson Valley is about a 15-minute drive from Bunbury, about 35 minutes from Busselton and if coming from Perth, it is just under a 2-hour drive.

The Geographe Wine Association notes that the”

climate is ideal for medium to full-bodied wines including Shiraz, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Chardonnay.”

Although we were heading to Ferguson Valley for the wine, you may know Ferguson Valley for their most famous attraction Gnomesville; home to over 3,000 gnomes.

Hackersley Estate Wines

After a brief drive from Busselton, Hackersley Estate Wines, located approximately twenty minutes inland from Bunbury, was our first stop for the day and can be found nestled amongst trees and the hills of the serene Ferguson Valley.

front of hackersely winery

Before becoming a winery, the property had been a dairy farm for over 100 years. Luckily for us, they opted to plant some vines!

six bottles of white and rose wines at hackersley estate

We tasted through their entire range, which I wasn’t expecting to be as extensive as it was.

After reading up about their range of wines, I was surprised to learn that they have eight grape varieties including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Verdelho, Petit Verdot and Mondeuse.

Their current white wine vintages were between 2016 to 2018.

three bottles of red wine at hackersley estate

While the red wine had been aged for much longer, including a 2011 Shiraz which we decided we just had to buy.

inside the restaurant at hackersley estate

The restaurant at Hackersley is an institution in the area for its degustation lunch and after reading “A Curious Road” blog post about their cellar door and lunch visit I was salivating for more.

Travelling Corkscrew contributor, Nicola has also visited Hackersley and enjoyed the degustation lunch.

outdoor verandah at hackersley estate

We had already made a booking for lunch, however, I would love to come back again to enjoy an afternoon on their verandah, overlooking the dam.

lake and verandah at hackersley estate

Although I didn’t get a photo, you may be lucky enough to spot a black swan sharing the dam with a few wild ducks.

Hackersley Estate Wines
Address: 1133 Ferguson Road, Ferguson
Phone: 08 9384 6247
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Cellar Door: Thursday – Sunday, 10am-4pm

Bush Shack Brewery

We hadn’t intended on visiting a brewery.

Bush Shack Brewery has taken over the site that was formally Moody Cow and is just down the road from St. Aidens Winery, which was meant to be our second stop for the day.

At this point in the day, we were running ahead of schedule so we thought we would pop in.

woman standing behind the bar at bushshack brewery

As soon as you walk into the venue you get a clear sense of light-hearted fun with labels such as the Twisted Lemon Lagar.

We couldn’t decide on just one drink each as they have over 20 alcoholic beverages available. We opted for two tasting paddles instead.

blackboard sign with rugs for parking your ass on the grass at bushshack brewery

They offered to bring the beers out to us so we made our way out onto the deck. If the deck had of been full, we would have grabbed a rug and made our way out onto the lawn.

bryce sitting down on verandah looking at grass at bushshack brewery

It was such a great day to be outside and enjoying a beer.

two paddles of flavoured beer at bushshack brewery

Staff delivered two, six x 100ml tasters to our table and we were mesmerised by the amazing colours.

Recall how I said we couldn’t decide? Well, we ordered 12 of the possible 20 odd drinks available which included:

Left Paddle (front to back)

  • Ginger Beer – old fashioned-styled and refreshingly spicey
  • Yallingup Old – Malty dark amber ale
  • SMaSH Ale – 100% Aussie ale using Munich malt and enigma hops
  • Twisted Lemon Lager – Cripse dry lager made with lemon rind and honey
  • Chilli Beer – Pilsner with a mild chilli bite
  • Milky Wh-Ale – Smooth milk ale with hints of caramel and vanilla

Right Paddle (front to back)

  • Black Cherry Bliss – Retro inspired cherry cola
  • Old Ps’s Sars – A liquorice creamy soda sensation
  • Mango Madness – Sparkling beverage with tropical fruit flavours
  • Kick’n Kale – Alcoholic soda with caramel and vanilla flavours
  • Passionfruit Beer – “Passiona Pop”
  • Scream’n Cream’n – Alcoholic soda with raspberry and vanilla flavours

Bush Shack Brewery
Address: 791 Ferguson Rd, Ferguson
Phone: 08 9728 3553
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Brewery Opening: Thursday – Monday, 10am – 5pm

St Aidan Wines

Just down the road from Bush Shack Brewery is St. Aidan Wines.

st aidan winery building and vines

Image Source: visitbunburygeographe.com.au

St. Aidan Wines is a boutique vineyard found in the heart of the Geographe wine region. The name of the winery derives from the districts historic church next door.

condiments and bottles of wine on a wine barrel at st aidan winery

As soon as you walk into St Aiden Winery you get a sense of what goodies you will get to sample while there. Not only do they have wine for people to try, but they also sell condiments, olive oil, jewellery and local artwork.

gnome cards in a stand at st aidan winery

You may even spot a gnome or two at the cellar door.

shelf with wine bottles lined up at st aidan winery

St Aidan Wines is also a part of the “Geographe Alternative Wine Trail”, along with eight other wineries within the Bunbury-Geograph Wine Region.

The trail aims to introduce drinkers to alternative grape varieties such as Arneis, Barbera, Fiano and Tempranillo. The Wine Trail recommends trying two of St Aiden’s alternative grape varieties; Tempranillo and Moscato.

bryce tasting wine at the cellar door at st aidan winery

We tasted an assortment of wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Tempranillo.

bottle of the sister serieskay rose at st aidan winery

We adored listening to the story about The Sister Series and if you visit the winery the cellar door I encourage you to ask about the three sisters.

The three sisters have been immortalised in their wines and on the St. Aidan Wines website:

  • “Kay” Rose 2018 – A Rose by any other name would probably have been Kay. The youngest of our three sisters as personified in the Sister Series of St. Aidan Wines, Kay brings a light-hearted sense of fun and enjoyment and a warm glow to any occasion.
  • “Cassie” Moscato 2018 – The grapes for this Muscat (a petit Gris) like all our vineyard are handpicked. The fermentation is stopped early and the wine is cold stabilised. The wine is blush in colour and displays a wonderful spritz on the tongue due to the cold ferment process retaining naturally occurring Co2.
  • “Sybil” Chardonnay 2018 – Sybil, the eldest of the sisters personified in the sister series, holds a richly deserved position of respect. This elegant Chardonnay is a tribute to her indomitable spirit. The wine exhibits rich full flavours making it an ideal wine for any table.

wine glass of chardonnay st aidan winery

To match our lunch we opted with a glass each of the 2013 Chardonnay, which we were able to compare against the 2015 and 2018 vintages during the tasting.

food platter at st aidan winery

As we had called in advance, we requested a platter for two which was the perfect amount of food for the two of us.

naomi and bryce sitting at a table drinking wine at st aiden winery

St Aiden Winery
Address: 754 Ferguson Road, Dardanup
Phone: 08 9728 3007
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Cellar Door: Weekdays 11am – 4pm and weekends (and public holidays) 11am – 5pm.

Ferguson Falls Wines

After our lunch and wine tasting, we were back on the road to visit Ferguson Falls Wines.

Over one hundred years ago, the Giumelli Family arrived in Western Australia from Northern Italy to discover the enviable climate and lush surrounds of the Ferguson Valley.

blackboard sign with writing after so many people told us our pizza at ferguson falls

Not only do they offer wine tasting and wine purchases at the venue, but you can also order yourself a pizza. We were still pretty full from our lunch but we just had to have a pizza while we were there. We opted with a rosemary and sea-salt pizza, so it wouldn’t put us into a food coma.

Next time I will be ordering the Reuben PIzza – pulled corned beef silverside, sauerkraut, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses, pickles & homemade Russian dressing. That sounds like my kind of pizza!

While we waited for our pizza to be made we tasted through their range and we had two clear favourites.

bottle of autunno at ferguson falls

The Ferguson Falls website describes the 2018 Autunno Bianco as:

a refreshing aromatic wine with a delicate citrus blossom bouquet, a lemon/lime palate and a crisp effervescent finish.”

We were told that the wine would have an effervescent finish (the feeling of delicate bubbles in your mouth, like sherbert), and this was such a beautiful surprise on the palate.

bottle of primavera rosso at ferguson falls

Our other favourite from Ferguson Falls was the 2017 Primavera Rosso. This is a red wine that should be served chilled and it absolutely hit the spot for us. This Summer I have been loving chilled red wines so naturally, we had to buy a bottle.

The 2017 Primavera Rosso is described as:

full bodied, slight effervescent wine…, bold on the front palate with a refreshing dry finish. Ideal for drinking over the warmer months and an excellent wine to have for festive occasions.”

Ferguson Falls Winery
Address: 172 Pile Road, Ferguson Valley
Phone: 08 9728 1616
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Cellar Door: Friday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Willowbridge Estate

red and blue firefly statues at willow bridge winery

Before arriving at Willowbridge Estate I thought didn’t know the winery. As we got closer I recognised the iconic dragonfly.

bottles of wine wine on the counter at willow bridge winery

We were told at the cellar door that drinkers were becoming so accustomed to the sub-brand Dragonfly, that they had to rebrand. They still include the image of the dragonfly, however, the brand Willow Bridge Estate is far more prominent.

Willow Bridge has a large selection of wines to taste including the Dragonfly Series, Estate Series, Black Dog and Maris Sol, their small batch range.

bottle of maris sol chardonnay in front of painting at willow bridge winery

The Maris Sol range includes a 2016 Chardonnay and the 2016 Shiraz Tempranillo Cabernet.

Maris Sol is only made into small batches, capturing the essence of the vintage.

The name Maris Sol (Coastal Sun) comes from the views that influence Willow Bridge Estate. The view includes the vineyard, all the way to the Indian Ocean coastline.

The painting, and ultimately the wine label, was commissioned by artist Sara Winfield.

corflute sign with the plot of land per wine bottle at willow bridge winery

Willow Bridge Estate is also a part of the Geographe Alternative Wine Trail. The must-try wines as suggested by the trail are the Maria Sol Shiraz Tempranillo Cabernet and the Solana Tempranillo (the middle wine bottle in the picture above).

Willow Bridge Estate
Address: 178 Gardincourt Drive, Henty
Phone: (08) 9728 0055
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Cellar Door: 11am-5pm 7 Days, Closed: 25th, 26th Dec & 1st Jan

Green Door Wines

bryce sitting down at a table with wine in front of a green door at green door winery

Our final stop for the day was Green Door Wines and we only just made it in time! Thankfully Green Door Winery was kind enough to keep the doors open for a little bit longer to allow us to taste through six of their wines.

six containers each with tags contining wine at green door winery

Green Door Wines is part of the Geographe Alternative Wine Trail. The must-try wines as suggested by the trail are the Tempranillo, Monastrell and Fiano.

The wines (SBS, Chardonnay, Rose, GSM, Monastrell and a Tempranillo) were brought out to us in small carafes and then it was up to us to self-serve (or pour). It meant that we could go at our own pace.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the person at the cellar door waiting for you to finish your glass before pouring the next, then you should visit Green Door Winery.

Personally, I like asking lots of questions, but since it was the last winery of the day, it was nice just to taste and savour the view

naomi standing at the balcany at green door winery

The cellar door has a Spanish influence and includes stunning views of the Ferguson Valley and if you’re lucky enough, you might even be able to see a glimpse of the afternoon sun glistening on the ocean.

naomi and bryce standing in front of a green double door at green door winery

The centre-piece, a ginormous but very ornate green door, was purchased by the owners while in Morocco, making the perfect backdrop for a photo or two.

Green Door Wines
Address: 1112 Henty Rd, Ferguson Valley
Phone: (08) 9728 0907
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Cellar Door: Thursday – Sunday, 11am–4:30pm

Have you visited the Bunbury-Geograph wine region, or thinking about visiting the region soon? Let us know in the comments.

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.