Recently I was very excited to be asked to be a guest on Perth’s RTR FM’s Drivetime show to talk about my blog and the Swan Valley. Not being the most articulate person, it was a big step for me to take my knowledge from the blog to radio! However I loved every minute of it! You can listen to the audio clip by clicking on the media player or read the transcription of the interview below.
Wine in the Valley on RTR FM 92.1
Alice: The Food Alternative is a time to explore our growing and vibrant food and drink scene and uncover the goods with bloggers, foodies, chefs, and barflies alike. This week on the program, we are discussing the best wines in the Swan Valley with Casey Ewers. Casey is a native New Zealander that has traveled the world searching for the perfect drop. Since starting her blog, Travelling Corkscrew, in 2010, she has been sharing her wine adventures, even challenging her palette to an amazing 365 wines last year. That is amazing. Casey is here with us today to talk wines in Swan Valley. Welcome to the studio, Casey.
Casey: Thank you, Alice.
Alice: Casey, when we think of WA wines, maybe it’s just me, but we usually think of Margaret River and trips down south and bringing an overnight bag, but should we be changing our perception and thinking that it’s not just a mini break, we can go here on the weekend, and something we don’t necessarily need to pack for or plan, we can just head over to on our doorstep in Swan Valley?
Casey: Absolutely. The Swan Valley is literally a 25 minute drive from the Perth CBD. It’s in our backyard. It’s not just for wine lovers, there are breweries, distilleries, there’s coffee, chocolate. There’s so much goodness out there, and we need to embrace it and enjoy it.
Alice: You’ve mentioned a number of things. What’s your favorite thing about the Swan Valley and this time of year?
Casey: It has to be the wine, for sure! Being winter and being cold, it doesn’t beat sitting back with a bottle of Swan Valley red wine. It warms you up perfectly.
Alice: Do you think we’re seasonal drinkers? I know that I change from drinking white to red and from the cider to a darker ale. Do you think we are naturally that in WA, and do you see that in the wine region?
Casey: I think so. I think people tend to. Especially in summer, it’s hot, you want something cool, a nice white, a nice sparkling, and then, obviously, when it gets into winter, you want those reds, and you want the fortified port-style wines of the higher alcohol that’s just going to warm you up. Personally, I go for everything all the time of the year.
Alice: With your challenge last year, that was quite an epic battle. How did that go? Was it okay?
Casey: It was busy!
Alice: Was it wines from everywhere or just the Swan Valley or WA or Australia?
Casey: Everywhere. It encompassed everything from red, white, sparkling. There were some ports in there. It was mainly just so I could broaden what I’m drinking, because I do find a lot of people get very narrow visioned when they’re trying wines, and they just go for what they know. I just tried anything I could get my hands on, basically. It was great.
Alice: Are there any winter drops that we should be trying? Do you have a favorite red to look out for that comes from the Swan Valley?
Casey: I think a couple weekends ago I uncovered one at Pinelli Estate, which is on Benara Road. The type of grape is Durif, and they’re one of the first producers in the Swan Valley to actually plant it. It’s a really nice full-bodied red. It just warms you up so well. My other favorite at the moment is Upper Reach Estate. They’re doing fantastic Shiraz and Cabernet.
Alice: Where are they?
Casey: They are up in Baskerville, Upper Swan. The reds and the whites are equally good. They do a fantastic Chardonnay, which I can’t get enough of at the moment.
Alice: Did you find them by just going on a wine tasting or can you go there for dinner and lunch to those places?
Casey: Pinelli, they have a restaurant beside them called Fillaudeau’s, which is fantastic, French Mediterranean cuisine. Upper Reach, they have Broads Cafe, which, again, they do breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is brilliant. This time of year, it’s cold outside, it’s raining, the best place to be is locked off in a restaurant, in a winery drinking and eating.
Alice: With winter, I’m a big fan of mulled wine. Are they bringing out the mulled wine this time of year?
Casey: I haven’t noticed anyone doing it yet. You may find that Jezebelle in Guildford, a little tapas cocktail bar, they might be doing some, but maybe further on into winter you might see some coming out.
Alice: For the novice amongst us who don’t drink a lot, what do you think is a really good stock standard Swan Valley wine for our introduction? Maybe we don’t like something that’s as full-bodied for the winter. Would you recommend one?
Casey: I would probably recommend actually going to Olive Farm Wines, because they have a wide range of styles, from sparklings, whites, reds, fortified. I’m sure that anyone who goes there, they’ll find a style right for them. They don’t like red, they have very good whites, etc.
Alice: You obviously are a big fan of the Swan Valley, just from talking, as well, about it. You’re building a house in the region, and reading your blog, you really love it. It might be a bit hard, but can you share your top three wineries in the Swan Valley at the moment?
Casey: That is very tricky. It’s like picking a favorite child or something.
Alice: Or top five?
Casey: I’d say Tyler’s Vineyard would be one, they’re a tiny, tiny vineyard and their cellar door is literally a shed. They’ve got goats, sheep, a dog, goose running around, but just as soon as you walk on to the property, you’re made to feel like family. It’s such a nice atmosphere, so that would have to be one.
Another one I’m a big fan of is Ugly Duckling on West Swan Road. Again, you’ve got the owners who are on the cellar door, and they’re just spilling out their passion as they’re giving you a tasting, and they also have, I would say, the best meat pies in Perth. They’re brilliant. They put some of the wine in the pies, as well.
Alice: That’s a good tip.
Casey: Definitely them. I guess the other one would probably be Olive Farm Wines, who I mentioned before, because they’ve got such a good range of wines, and they’ve got the Cheese Barrel right next door, so cheese and wine.
Alice: It’s a good combo.
Casey: It’s a no brainer.
Alice: Thank you so much for coming in. You’ve got a fantastic guide to the Swan Valley that I’m sure our listeners will check out, suggestions for the best places to go in the Swan Valley for breakfast and lunch and dinner and wine tastings and tours. I had a very good browse before. Your blog is travellingcorkscrew.com?
Casey: Yes that’s right.
Alice: Great. Keep it locked, because we’ve got the Drivetime feature album to give away very shortly. You’re listening to Drivetime with Alice on the Sound Alternative.