Swan District

Western Australia

About

The Swan Valley, on the eastern fringes of Perth CBD, is host to some of Western Australia’s oldest vines. 

The Swan Valley is a prime region to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, world-class wines and other artisan produce. The area beckons visitors and locals alike with a range of epicurean offerings. Tour the countryside in a reliably warm, dry climate for the state’s oldest winemaking region, which is home to cellar doors, breweries and budding distilleries. With an abundance of vineyard estates, key varietals grown here include shiraz, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon, which shows particular intensity and length. Other styles of chenin blanc, verdelho and petit verdot receive equal praise from wine lovers. 

This compact valley is only a 25-minute drive from Perth for the perfect daytrip getaway or further enjoy the spoils of the wine region during an extended stay. On top of an incredibly vibrant food and wine scene, the Swan Valley celebrates all things art and culture with a range of shows and rotational displays. Unwind and discover the latest on the music scene or embrace the Swan Valley’s galleries and boutique shops.


James Halliday on Swan Valley


Two waves of immigration by Yugoslavs, the first in the early years of the 20th century (principally from Dalmatia) and the second after the World War II, gave the Swan Valley two claims to fame. The first is that, most surprisingly, for a time it had more wineries in operation than either New South Wales or Victoria; the second is that, more obviously, it joined the Barossa Valley (German) and the Riverland (Italian) as a significant ethnically- driven wine producing region.

It was not always so. Viticulture was started by English settlers, most notably Thomas Waters who dug the cellar at Olive Farm in 1830, thus giving this winery the distinction of being the oldest winemaking establishment in Australia to be in use at the start of the new millennium. Sadly, it has since been sold and decommissioned.

Another link with the past comes through the colonial surgeon Dr John Ferguson, who purchased part of a substantial land grant owned by three Indian Army officers, the most senior of whom was Colonel Richmond Houghton. Even though Houghton never came to Australia, the property was named after him – likewise the Houghton wines of today (Western Australia’s largest wine company).

The Swan Valley (which is the core subregion of the Swan District, cowering in the south-eastern corner of the region) has always been a friendly place in which to grow vines and make wine. The completely flat, alluvial river plain provides soils which are immensely deep and well drained (or are so in the prime vineyard locations) and the hot, dry summer means that grapes ripen easily and quickly. This is an ideal climate for table grapes (huge quantities were produced for export markets in bygone years) and for fortified wines. It is likewise suited to the production of bulk table wine, which was once sold to a large but uncritical local clientele, many of whom were of Yugoslavian origin, and they brought their own flagons, drums and sundry other containers to be filled up at their chosen winery.

Facts

Wineries 14
Tasting Notes 219

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