Great Southern

Western Australia

About

The vast Great Southern region of Western Australia shines as a producer of high-quality grapes and distinctive wine styles. 

Winemaking and viticultural talents continue to emerge from the Great Southern’s five sub-regions of Porongurups, Mount Barker, Albany, Denmark and Frankland River, all focusing on their own distinguishable wines. The Great Southern is enjoying exciting development and progress with riesling and shiraz in particular, but other varieties such as pinot noir have found a home here too. Its temperate climate, ranging from Mediterranean to maritime, mostly enjoys a long, consistent and warm ripening season. But the vast region is not a uniform terroir and winemakers and vignerons are working with many grape varieties, including grenache, tempranillo and chardonnay with immense success. 

The ruggedly beautiful coastline, with crashing waves further south, is a powerful reminder the Great Southern offers more than just stellar wines. Stroll the untamed shoreline and enjoy the waterfront sunset in Demark or Albany, plus the incredible surrounding landscapes. Visit local producers for their brilliant cured meats and cheeses, while fresh seafood and produce abounds. Hike the ancient mountain range of Porongurup National Park for stunning Sky Walk views or the unspoilt wilderness of the Stirling Range National Park. 


James Halliday on the Great Southern


Even by the standards of Australia, Great Southern is a large region: a rectangle 150 kilometres from north to south, and 100 kilometres from east to west. It embraces climates that range from strongly maritime- influenced to moderately continental, and an ever-changing topography: there are the immense eucalypts of the south coast near Denmark and Albany, which surround tiny vineyards like Tingle-Wood (taking its name from the Tingle Forest from which it was hewn), the striking round boulders and sweeping vistas of Porongurup, the harder grass-plant country of Alkoomi (near Frankland), and the softer rolling hills of Mount Barker, where habitation seems to have somehow softened the remote savagery of many of the other subregions.

Two of the earlier prophets of the Great Southern area were Maurice O’Shea and Jack Mann, an unlikely pair in that not only did they never meet each other, but Maurice O’Shea also never visited the region – his enthusiasm came from an armchair view of its climate. He is said to have expressed the opinion that if he had his time again, he would establish his vineyards there. Jack Mann formed his favourable view of the Great Southern area as a result of regularly playing cricket in the region between the two World Wars.

Almost as unlikely was the first serious consideration given to the region by a wine company. In the early 1900s, a large area of leasehold land was cleared at Pardelup, just to the west of Mount Barker.

Regeneration problems with the scrub saw the land revert to the Crown, and the Government sought to interest Penfolds in the project. When Penfolds declined, the area became the Pardelup prison school. It was left to the distinguished Californian viticulturist Professor Harold Olmo, who was retained by the Western Australian Government in 1955 to report on the status of the industry, to recognise the potential of the area for the production of high-quality, light table wines.

Facts

Wineries 22
Tasting Notes 864

Geographic

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