As most of you are aware, I recently teamed up with the good folk from Explore Tours Perth to run a ‘Travelling Corkscrew Wine Appreciation Tour’ of the Swan Valley. After literally weeks of anticipation and planning it finally took place on Saturday October 3rd (yes grand final day) and boy what a day it was! Check out all the juicy gossip from the tour below.
Firstly, I want to say a huge wine filled thanks to Explore Tours Perth for making this tour possible and for capturing the day so well in the below video – however perhaps the music should be Alt J Left Hand Free seeing as it was a highly requested tune on the bus or my personal pick would be Six60 Finest Wine 😉
The Travelling Corkscrew Wine Tour of the Swan Valley was both fun and informative. As a Perth local, I discovered plenty of new places to visit in the Swan Valley that have now become my firm favourites – who new about an organic vodka made from grapes or a place that lets you print your own wine label! Casey was an awesome host, and thanks to her encouragement my palate has finally broken the Shiraz rut” – Nina
My experience on the travelling corkscrew wine tour was one to be remembered. Casey had meticulously planned the day to ensure fun was had by everyone. I loved that she kept the group small to ensure maximum attention and interaction with the amazing winemakers she took us to meet. Since the tour, I have revisited every single winery we stopped at one the day, some twice. Delicious wines, beautiful views and awesome winemakers all too eager to share their knowledge and passion with us all. Can’t wait for the next one” – Heidi
Where did the Perth Wine Appreciators go?
This was the hard part! As I said to a few of the tour goers at lunch on the day, every single wine producer in the Valley has their own unique point of difference. Whether they’re big or small, family owned or commercial – each and every one of them has something to offer the thirsty winos of Perth.
For this first tour (yes there might be more in 2016!) I stuck to the middle-upper Swan heading to Upper Reach, Harris Organic Wines, Olive Farm Wines & Tyler’s Vineyard.
I only wanted to go to a max of 4 wineries in the day so we had a leisurely pace and plenty of time to soak up the true essence of each and every vineyard. Here’s what we ended up seeing and doing..
Swan Valley Winery #1 – Upper Reach
The lovely Laura kicked the tour off to the perfect start. We basically were taken through a 1 hour condensed wine 101 course. We learnt about tasting wine (and not to be afraid of spittoons) as well as how wine is made. We walked through the working winery, learnt about all the equipment and made a ‘imaginery wine’. While on our journey we ended up trying approximately 10 different wines. I couldn’t have asked for a better first stop of the day and I’m pretty sure it was a major highlight for everyone on the tour!
Swan Valley Winery #2 – Harris Organic
A hidden gem this baby was! Many tour goers hadn’t visited before and like myself on my first visit were smitten with the quality of wine on offer. We had a special lunch catered by Taylor’s Cafe in the Harris underground cellar which was a real treat. From enjoying hand disgorged sparkling wine, Verdelho, Shiraz, Malbec to devouring heavenly delights of olives, cheese, mini savoury tarts, kofta with chermoula dipping sauce and pea fritters with prosciutto. Even Rosie the cat had to join us and sweetly followed the group around between the cellar door and underground cellar (she also loved to pose for photos!). We ended our visit with a nip of organic vodka made from grapes which definitely warmed everyone up! I offered everyone a second sip however they assured me they were all hydrated enough.
Perfect long lunch at Harris Organic Wines @travellingcorkscrew @theswanvalley #thisiswa
Swan Valley Winery #3 – Olive Farm
So many wines to try, such little time. Plus with The Cheese Barrel next door, well what’s not to like at our third stop after lunch! I’m pretty sure everyone had an appreciation for at least 1 of the wines we tasted if not for all 10 of them. We also had the pleasure to taste the ‘Willy Wonka Wine’ or the ‘Pièce de Résistance Wine’ as Deb and Gemma from the OFW cellar door call it. The Stari fortified wine is a 4th generation vino made from Muscat, Verdelho, Tokay and Pedro grapes and me oh my, it was heaven! I love this wee tasting note from Brooke on the OFW Chenin Blanc – doesn’t it make you thirsty!
Third stop on the #TCWineTour2015 was @olive_farm_wines, definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a wide variety of wines to taste all at one spot. This little beauty was the 2015 Chenin Blanc, vibrant citrus on the nose with a burst of passion fruit and pear on the palate. Perfect for a hot summers day ?? #swanvalley #winetour #perth A photo posted by Wine Blog by Brooke ? (@simplivino) on
Swan Valley Winery #4 – Tylers Vineyard
The perfect end to a day out in the valley with the wonderful hospitality of Donelle & Colin Tyler who took us through all the wines and ended our visit with drinking port out of those fancy looking port sippers. Between Whisper the dog, Gilbert/Gilly the Goose, the chooks and the sheep – it was definitely an eye-opener for a number of the tour goers and I know everyone was surprised to find out all the wines from the sparkling to the white, to the reds and the fortified were all made from the Grenache grape! The best bit had to be the special release reveal by Donelle of the bottle below – recognise those mugs? To end the tour I just had put together a little goodie bag (seriously who doesn’t love a goodie bag!) for everyone with help from Riverbank Estate, Swan Valley Fudge and my 2IC Mr. Spittoon. I had an absolute ball on the day and I even managed to get on the microphone headset for a tiny duration (this was after the 3rd winery mind you – liquid courage)! Prior to the tour I asked Mr.Spittoon for last-minute advice which was ‘just be your normal wine loving self’ and I think I clearly achieved that with the below selfie from Heidi!
And thanks to Heidi and Nicola, I am now dying to get my hands on an iPhone 6S, in rose gold!
I hope everyone who attended had a great day (a huge thanks to Nicola, Nina, Brooke, Heidi & Sharnee, Tracey & Ian, Emma & Matt, and Marieke & Peter!) and got to know just a little bit more about the Swan Valley and the people, wine and land that make it so amazing! Plus you guys were so much fun, I had so many great chats throughout the day so do let me know if you’re in the neighbourhood again soon and we can catch up over a vino or three (we are wine appreciators after all!).
And lastly I want to give a shout out to some awesome tour goers who have blogs too – check them out:
- Nina @ Western Australian Explorer
- Brooke @ SimpliVino