Today we welcome back Naomi Fuller who is sharing with us her plans for visiting Western Australia’s Pemberton wine region.
My last trip away was a whirlwind three days in the lead up to Christmas. It consisted of visiting Albany, Esperance and York, before heading back to Perth, covering over 1,600km – crazy right! Although exhausting, my partner and I have been talking about another trip down south, with a few extra days, a few less kilometers and a few less towns to visit.
We have decided to visit Pemberton in the Southern Forest region of Western Australia as it ticks two pretty important boxes for the two of us; mountain bike riding for him and tasting delicious wine for me.
What has worked out super well is we will be visiting the region at the same time as the Unearthed Festival; 26 April – 6 May, where we plan to take advantage of some of the great activities and wine events on offer.
About Pemberton and the Southern Forest Region
Located in the lower south-west region of Western Australia, Pemberton is approximately a 3.5 hours drive south of Perth and is 1.5 hours drive south-east of Margaret River or 2.5 hours North West of Denmark.
Image Source: Google Maps
Majestic forests, exemplary wines and scrumptious farm gate produce make this a must-see stop-over on a Western Australian culinary odyssey. Gazetted as one of Australia’s newest wine producers, the small Pemberton Wine Region has already established a reputation for being one the most exciting emerging wine regions.”
Sounds amazing, right? I’m ready to start packing my bags!
Here’s a little more about the Pemberton wine region:
- It is part of the Southern Forests region, one of nine fine wine regions of Western Australia
- Pemberton consists of a cool climate and rich soils which are characterised by lateritic gravelly sands and gravelly loam soils underlying clay
- It is approximately 150 metres above sea level
- It consists of a mediterranean climate, which is slightly warmer and with higher humidity and more sunshine than the Great Southern sub-regions
- Many of the vineyards adjoin karri forests
- The region is ideal for growing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes and suited to the production of refined Bordeaux-style wines, however many other wine varieties are grown in the region
- The region was gazetted in 2006, meaning it was formally recognised as a wine region
- The first vines were planted by the Western Australia Department of Agriculture in 1977 on an experimental block midway between the towns of Pemberton and Manjimup
- Most wineries are open daily, offering visitor tastings, however ring ahead of time to confirm
What is the best way to explore the Southern Forrest Wine Region?
Join a tour, such as Pemberton Discovery Tours or try to create your own. I will be lucky enough to have my partner chauffeur me for the day. Or if you’re looking to be a little more active, why not go for a bike ride through the karri forest between wineries.
Trails WA suggests a fantastic self-drive multi-day Southern Forests Wine Trail, covering Pemberton and Manjimup. This is a great starting point to see where the wineries in the region are located and the distances between them. All up, the self-drive tour covers approximately 130kms. By organising a self-drive tour, you’re given the opportunity to talk with winemakers, growers or owners of the wineries at a leisurely pace, while taking in breathtaking scenery, passing orchards and farms, towering forests and lush pastures.
If you do choose to drive between wineries, drive safe and nominate a skipper / designated driver for the day. Just remember to thank them with a bottle of wine at the end of the trip.
What Wineries are in the Southern Forests Region?
The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide, noted that there were 18 Southern Forest wineries and vineyards, however, I have found a couple more. If I have missed any, please let the Travelling Corkscrew know.
- Owned by Kate and Shaun Woods
- Wine is made under contract by Rockcliffe Winery in Denmark, WA
- The name “10 Chains” is derived from the original “Group Settlement 123” map, drawn in 1924 containing the scale of : “10 Chains to an inch”
- The first vines were planted in 1996, consisting of Chardonnay & Shiraz
- Wines available: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Chardonnay
- Cellar Door Location: 89 Charlie Road, Crowea
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Friday – Sunday, 12-5pm
- Established in 2000
- 220m above sea level with gravel laterite soils
- German owners, Willi and Gudrun Schumacher
- All the vines are on Schwartzmann rootstock
- Wines available: Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Petit Verdot, Batavia (blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot), Pinot Noir and Shiraz
- Cellar Door Location: 332 Smiths Rd Eastbrook
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: By prior appointment
- Located in the sub-region of Eastbrook
- Wine is taken from naturally low yield vines
- Thella Estate (the estate where Below and Above wine is created) have supplied some of Western Australia’s finest labels since the early 1990s
- From 2013, have been producing ‘small batch’ wine as Below & Above
- They apply sustainable viticultural and agricultural techniques and where possible, minimise the impact on the environment.
- Wines available: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
- Cellar Door Location: No cellar door, however you can purchase their wines from over 40 locations around the Perth metro area or directly from their website.
- Family owned winery
- Established in 1987
- They also produce Oliver Oil and Verjuice
- Wines available: Sparkling Merlot, Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc
- Cellar Door Location: Chestnut Grove Road, Manjimup
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: 10-4 Monday to Friday and weekends by appointment
- Established in 1985
- The first winery to be established in the Southern Forest region
- The vineyard is bordered by both the Donnelly River and National Park
- The property has 1.7km of river frontage and uses the river for some of its irrigation needs.
- At the right time of the year marron and trout can be caught from the river.
- Wines Available: Chardonnay, Classic White, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pear Wine, Dolce Blanc, Methode Champenoise, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Classic, Red, Cabernet Merlot, Shiraz Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Rose, Cabernet Franc, Dolce Vita, Red Sangria, White Muscat, Liqueur Muscat and Port.
- Cellar Door: Open 7 Days, Mon-Sun 10-5pm
- Family run vineyard
- Includes a restaurant onsite
- Nestled in the Lefroy catchment valley, 3km from the Pemberton town site on the way to Big Brook Dam
- Established in 1995 on the crest of a loamy gravel soil ridge
- Wines Available: Unwooded Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Wooded Chardonnay, Sweet Chardonnay (Fortified Wine), Rose, Merlot
- Cellar Door Location: 156 Mullineaux Road, Eastbrook
- Cellar Door Hours: 9am-4pm Wednesday – Sunday & Public Holidays
- Family owned vineyard
- Wine made under contract by Castle Rock Estate
- 1997 Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and different Olive Oil varieties were planted
- Wines Available: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot
- Cellar Door Location: 2503 Wheatley Coast Rd, Crowea
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Tastings by appointment
- Overlooks lakes and farmland
- Established in 1989 and produces around fifty tonnes of premium cool-climate fruit.
- Expect to see dogs, cats, bees, alpacas, Guinea Fowl and sheep
- The cellar door is dog friendly, as long as your dog is on a lead
- They also offer cider, beer and have a cafe (although their website says that there kitchen is undergoing some renovations currently)
- They run a barista school
- Wines Available: Pinot rose, honey merlot, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, Pemberton red and shiraz.
- Cellar Door Location:14591 Vasse Highway, Eastbrook WA
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: 11am till 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday
- Certified Organic Wines and Ciders – organic vineyard practice since inception
- Established in 1987
- The stoneware ewer used on the Wine labels is a family heirloom that is dated back to 1850
- One of the first wineries in the region
- Wines Available: Blanc De Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot
- Cellar Door Location: Bamess Road, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm – 7 days a week
- The Omodei family first arrived in Pemberton in 1925 from the mountains of northern Italy
- Produce 11 hectares of reserve quality, clean grapes
- Produce their own wine and contract fruit to highly regarded names within the industry to produce their own premium regional series Pemberton wine.
- The winery has diversified to also grow apples, avocados, truffles and blueberries.
- Wines Available: Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, Blanc De Blanc (Sparkling)
- Cellar Door Location: 14586 Vasse Highway, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Not open to the public
- 15 hectares of vineyard
- Several varieties of their Chardonnay are traditional French clones
- They have diversified into potatoes, Angus beef and breeding Labrador Retrievers
- Planted their first vines in 1995
- Will be hosting “Sculptures in the Vines” as a part of Unearthed
- Produce two wine collections; The Pemberley of Pemberton range and D&V Pemberley Wines
- Wines Available: Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Merlot, Rose, Shiraz, Sparkling Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
- Cellar Door Location: 104 Ockwell Road, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: By appointment only
- 100% family owned and operated
- The Peos family have lived in Manjimup for over 80 years
- They have farmed everything from dairy cattle and beef, horticulture, potatoes, cauliflower and beans
- Wines Available: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot, Verdelho,
- Cellar Door Location: 1163 Graphite Road, West Manjimup
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: To be confirmed
- Established in 1993
- All Picardy fruit is estate grown, unirrigated, cane-pruned and handpicked
- Picardy follows sustainable management practices
- Have several varieties of cloned Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
- They use sustainable growing soils practices and practice a non-cultivation policy
- Wines Available: Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Tete de Cuvee, Shiraz, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc and Merlimont
- Cellar Door Location: Corner of Vasse Highway and Eastbrook Road Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: By appointment only
- The vineyard comprises of 10 acres of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz vines.
- They use modern canopy management to ensure that the vines produce bunches of sun-ripened grapes
- Use minimal herbicidal sprays, fertilisers and water, and they cane-prune and hand-pick the grapes
- Wines Available: Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay
- Cellar Door Location: 403 Stirling Road, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: open most days between 11am and 5pm
- Silkwood was established in 1998
- 23.75 ha vineyard
- Includes a lakeside restaurant and accommodation
- Guinea fowl have been introduced to the property to control grasshopper outbreaks,
- Wines Available: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet Malbec, Semillon Blanc Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot and Sparkling Chardonnay / Pinot Noir
- Cellar Door Location: 9649 Channybearup Road, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Friday – Monday, 10am-4pm
- Part of the Fogarty Wine Group, an Australian-based, family owned wine group, including, Lake’s Folly, Millbrook Winery, Deep Woods Estate and Evans & Tate.
- Established in the late 1980s
- Smithbrook was the first major vineyard in the Pemberton region
- Focuses closely on the environment and incorporates minimal spray and free roaming Guinea fowl to control insects and pests
- Wines Available: Semillon, Cabernet Merlot, Chardonnay and Blanc de Blancs
- Cellar Door Location: No Cellar Door Available
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: No Available
- In 1997, the Truffle & Wine Co planted wine grapes and established a trufferie of hazel and oak trees
- Truffle Hunting tours are available in season – June to August
- Visit the Truffle Kitchen for lunch, open 7 days a week
- Wines Available: Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Rose, Shiraz, Riesling, Liqueur Shiraz, Sparkling Pinot, Cabernets and Pinot Noir
- Cellar Door Location: 490 Seven Day Road, Manjimup,
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: 7 Days, 10am to 4pm
- Family owned vineyards and winemakers.
- Established in 2006
- Fruit for the wines are sourced from a 5 hectare estate vineyard, a 2 hectare leased vineyard and selected parcels of fruit from local growers
- Wines Available: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo Et Al, Merlot/Cab Sauv/Malbec, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, Liqueur Carnelian, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Viognier, Fume Sauv Blanc, Rose and Sparkling Shiraz
- Cellar Door Location:43 Hind Road, Manjimup
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Thursday to Saturday and public holidays 10.30am-4.30pm, Sunday 12.30-5.00pm
- Established in 1992
- Consists of a cafe and cellar door for beer and wine
- Use traditional viticultural practices with modern techniques
- Grapes are 100% sourced from the estate
- Wines Available: Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Unwooded Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay,
- Cellar Door Location: 64 Kemp Road, Pemberton
- Cellar Door Opening Hours: Thursday to Tuesday, 11:00am – 5:00pm
Don’t have time to make it to all the wineries listed above? Why not check out…
- Pride themselves in showcasing WA’s largest tastings of South West wines
- Offer a centralised cellar door that allows guests to sample what is on offer in the region
- Taste wines from wineries who may not have a cellar door experience
- Offer breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Location: 88 Giblett Street, Manjimup
- Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday 11am – 12pm, Saturday 8am – 12am and Sunday 8am to 10pm
What Wine Producers Source Their Grapes From the Southern Forest Region?
Many wine producers based in other WA wine regions source grapes from the Southern Forest region to provide a specific style of elegant and refined wine, both red and white.
Unearthed Wine Events – What’s On
The Unearthed Festival will run from 3rd -10th May 2019.
You can check out the full list of activities on the Unearthed Pemberton event website. The website has been updated for 2019.
Image source: imags.com.au
Where have you been to in the Southern Forest region and what would you recommend for my upcoming trip?