Last weekend, I was starting to get a little bit of Cabin Fever. The type when you have been cooped up inside for way too long and you are starting to miss your friends and family like crazy!
To help shake it, I suggested to my partner in wine, Bryce, to take a trip out into the Valley (Western Australia’s Swan Valley that is) to try a winery tour with a twist.
Due to restrictions in place here in Western Australia due to COVID-19, tastings are currently not on offer at any wineries, however many are still open for business and trading (almost) as normal with the sales of their wines.
Our Wine Tour Was Different For Two Reasons
- There were no disagreements about who would be skipper
- We managed to visit 7 wineries and could have visited many more!
Unfortunately, as you are unable to taste the wines, you may want to spend a little more time with the cellar door staff to understand what each of the wines entails.
We used this as a great time to try something a little different, to try something new, plus revisit a few old favourites.
Swan Valley Winemakers
Before we jumped into our car and drove out to the Valley, we needed to find out who was and wasn’t open.
Luckily for us, The Swan Valley Winemakers made this task an easy one for us as they have been putting together a weekly who’s open list each weekend, just like this one for this weekend.
Once armed with this info, we mapped out who we wanted to see and set-off.
Pinelli Winery Estate
First up for the day was Pinelli Winery Estate where we picked up a bottle of the 2019 Breanna Rose.
This is a favourite in our household and the Travelling Corkscrew has also enjoyed the 2018 vintage.
Our next stop for the day was Garbin Estate. This was our first visit to the winery after trying their wine at the Swan Valley Gourmet Escape.
Here we met with some of the family behind the brand, Katrina, and Adam where we spoke about how COVID-19 has changed how they operate, like many others in the Valley.
They were very appreciative of our trip to purchase some wine including a bottle of their reserve Chardonnay, a bottle of Semillon, and a bottle of Verdelho. We were also given a sample of their 2016 Semillon which we can’t wait to try.
Jane Brook Estate
The next winery on our list was right next door to Garbin Estate – Jane Brook Estate.
Here we looked at current vintages and took a little look in their museum wines.
Bryce and I love an aged Chardonnay and as wine doesn’t last long in our household, we were stoked to pick up a 2007 vintage from Margaret River, along with a super fresh Plain Jane Rose.
Upper Reach Winery
It was lovely to catch-up with cellar door staff member Stephen, to hear what the winery has planned coming up to try and make sure that we don’t miss out on the cellar door experience in the comfort of our own homes.
But as the bottles had to be chilled in time for the live event, I forgot to grab a photo!
Here we picked up a bottle of the 2013 Museum Chardonnay, which Stephen describes as his baby and easily the best and toastiest Swan Valley made Chardonnay you can find.
We also grabbed bottle of the 2019 Reserve Chardonnay and a bottle of the 2019 Reserve Chardonnay.
Next up we visited the lovely Arch at John Kosovich. I think we ended up staying here for almost an hour catching up and learning about future plans for the winery.
We discussed their recent accolade with the Gourmet Traveller Wine, awarded the best small cellar door in the Swan Valley as well as a recent write up on their Chenin by Erin Larkin.
Obviously, we couldn’t go past a bottle of Chenin, especially after completing a Chenin vertical tasting a couple of years prior.
We also picked up a bottle of the Unwooded Chardonnay upon recommendation.
Olive Farm Wines
Just a little further down Great Northern Highway, we stopped in at Olive Farm Wines where we spoke to Steve at the cellar door. What a delight. This was my first-time meeting Steve who was extremely welcoming and very informative across the range of wines.
It has been a while since I have stopped in at Olive Farm Wines and I loved learning about their new vintage, so much so that we only bought wine from their 2020 vintage.
Our final stop for the day was at the lovely Windy Creek. It had been a while since I had visited, and it didn’t quite have the usual hustle and bustle that I had seen previously.
The outside area is usually chockas (jam packed) with people at the cellar door counter and sitting outside in the garden.
Here we left with a bottle of Vermentino, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdelho.
Supporting your local winery, wine producer or any small business for that matter has never been as important as what it is now!
Whether you jump online and place an order on a winery website, visit your local bottle shop or pop into the cellar door, every bit counts towards these businesses making it on the other side.
Let us know in the comments what you’re doing to help your favourite wineries during this time.