Yep, we did manage to get to 3 wineries within the first few hours of being in the Great Southern! After visiting Gilberts, then Galafrey we had lunch with a friend in Mt Barker who said we must stop into West Cape Howe Wines on our way down to Albany. It was a little bit of back-tracking but we managed to convince Mr. Spittoon it was for the greater good (aka my palate)!
The West Cape Howe (WCH) cellar door is only 10 minutes out of Mt Barker on the way to Denmark – so it would be rude not to stop in if you’re heading in this direction. They have beautiful grounds equipped with a mini lake and a mini ‘West Cape Howe’ hollywood-sign which you can’t miss when driving along the highway.
It’s important to note that you won’t see WCH wines very often apart from at the cellar door so it’s a good opportunity to stock up. Plus it’s worth knowing that WCH were awarded ‘Best Value Winery’ from James Halliday in the 2016 Wine Companion – so you’re sure to pick up some good deals on quality wines!
About West Cape Howe
I have to admit, when I first spotted a bottle of WCH wine at Raising Riesling it was the label that stood out to me – 2 beautifully designed seahorses which of course made me want to ask the question of, why seahorses on your labels? Well apparently, the first recorded explorers along the Great Southern coast were Dutchies aboard their ship ‘Gulden Zeepaard’ which literally means ‘Golden Seahorses’. The graphic designer for West Cape Howe said this:
The twin seahorse icon was created to represent the partnership between wine and the West Cape Howe region with the world globe nestled between the two, again symbolic of the explorers’ endeavours. The seahorses are finished in a gold patina to enhance the maritime weathered feel and also create a sense of longevity.”
How lovely! I am quite a fan, as seahorses are a pretty cool creature.
WCH will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary this year having been established in 1997. The team is led by managing director and senior winemaker – Gavin Berry who works closely with vineyard manager and part-owner, Rob Quenby (and wine dog Buzz) alongside winemakers; Andrew Vesey and Caitlin Gazey. And we can’t forget Gavin’s wine dog Bessi who unfortunately we didn’t meet on our visit but she definitely sounds like a cute little character!
In terms of the vineyard, WCH are very much into their sustainable techniques with many organic principles at play.
The Cellar Door Experience
The WCH property was purchased from Goundrey in 2009. As mentioned the grounds are lovely and I was quick to notice someone loves their art with plenty of arty bits and pieces outside and inside the cellar door.
The tasting bench is fantastic and that tasting list! It’s safe to say, WCH has a huge range of wines! They grow Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz on the property but also utilise grapes from around the Great Southern region.
I also like the nifty ‘inside viewing’ window from the cellar door into the winery so you can see all their state of the art winery equipment, barrels and more! If you pop by at the right time, you may even see some of the action!
I didn’t catch the lady’s name who took us through our tasting, she was very chatty and very willing to pour whatever our palates desired which is always good! Not only did she introduce us to the extensive wine list but also the WCH olive oil and coffee.
When a bottle of olive oil comes in a 750ml wine bottle – who can resist! Give me a bowl of oil, some bread & rock salt and a glass or 5 of wine and I’ll be happy! Check out this pic of my homemade focaccia bread which I used the oil in – it was so good!
The Wines & My Tasting Notes
Mr. Spittoon was driving so he only tried a few, however, I manned up and tried through pretty much the full range.
My favourites had to be the 2016 Pinot Grigio and the 2014 “Two Steps” Shiraz which I simply just had to buy. We were treated to a cute carrier cooler bag to carry them in which was handy, at no extra cost.
West Cape Howe 2016 Pinot Grigio: We picked this up on our recent Taste Great Southern trip. As we passed Mt Barker en route to Albany we thought we may as well stop at a few of the local wineries. @westcapehowewines has a beautiful little spot just 10mins out of Mt Barker town. After trying through most of the range this was one of my favourite whites. Only $17 a bottle too! Sunshine yellow colour on the eye with cordial like aromas of tropical fruits, grape lollies and hints of minerality. On the palate it’s crisp and refreshing with flavours of pear, mandarins and grapefruit coming through for me. A wonderfully food-friendly everyday drinking vino! All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!
Quick Facts about West Cape Howe:
Address: 14923 Muir Highway, Mount Barker WA 6324
Phone: (08) 9892 1444
Email: [email protected]
Opening times: 10am-5pm everyday except Christmas Day and Good Friday
Wine Styles/Grape Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. They make a dry sparkling wine alongside a moscato and they also have a liqueur muscat
Wine tasting cost: Free
Child friendly: Lots of space outside for kids to muck around