Geographe

Western Australia

About

Geographe of Western Australia is a diverse and developing wine region with a suite of intriguing vinous productions on Perth’s doorstep. 

Wine lovers won’t be disappointed with the array of fine wines available throughout Geographe, in addition to the region’s great produce and natural beauty. The region embraces Harvey, the Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook and Busselton with particularly warm summers and high humidity on the back of sea breezes carried from the Indian Ocean. Among Geographe’s notable wines are chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, but the region’s producers are also exploring new styles and varieties, including smaller plantings of tempranillo and viognier. 

Surf meets the vines in this region, offering a number of striking settings for picnics, walks or simply soaking up the sites. Take a break between the region’s wineries and head for nearby Geographe Bay for excellent swimming spots. Walk the famously long 1841-metre pier at Busselton Jetty, which is said to be one of the longest wooden structures in the world. The drive from Perth takes around two and a half hours.


James Halliday on Geographe


Geographe was initially joined with Peel in an amorphous region called the South West Coastal Plain, but this grouping was abandoned before registration under the GI process was finalised, and the boundaries redrawn. Geographe’s centre is Bunbury, its southern (or, more properly, south-eastern) corner is Busselton, while the Harvey River meanders through the northern boundary on its way to the coast. It is bisected by the Vasse, Capel, Fergusson, Collie and Brunswick rivers, which – as they descend from the hills in the east – create valleys with distinctive climates.

Indeed, while there are (as yet) no officially recognised subregions of Geographe, there are in truth three quite distinct areas. The first is the true coastal sector, stretching from Busselton to Bunbury, and with the lush, peaceful Capel River (and the town of Capel) at its centre. Wholly maritime-influenced by the warm Indian Ocean, its climate is similar to that of the northern part of the Margaret River, although the soil types vary considerably – the richer alluvial soils around Capel leading to exceptionally vigorous vine growth. Next is the Donnybrook area, which has a distinctly different climate, as it is cut off from the maritime influence of the Indian Ocean by the intervention of the Darling and Whicher ranges. The net result is a climate which Dr John Gladstones describes as closely resembling that of Bendigo and Rutherglen in Victoria, with considerable diurnal temperature fluctuations.

The third area is the Ferguson Valley; here, early success with sauvignon blanc, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon has led to rapid expansion in plantings. The largest venture is Willow Bridge, with a 100-hectare vineyard and a 2000-tonne capacity winery.

Facts

Wineries 39
Tasting Notes 1008

Geographic

Latitude 33°18’S
Altitude 5–70 m
Heat Degree Days 1700
Growing Season Rainfall 185–220 mm
Mean January Temp 22°C
Harvest Early February to mid-March