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Australia’s oldest wine valley, and a favourite amongst the locals, is found in Western Australia’s very own Swan Valley. Holding a truly unique history influenced by the traditional owners of the land, the region today offers a vast landscape full of vineyards and natural beauty to be explored at any time of the year.
For at least 40,000 years, the Nyoongar Aboriginal people from the Wadjuk tribe have inhabited the region that has today become well known as the Swan Valley. Being the traditional owners of the land, they have a strong connection with the land, believing Wagyl – a Dreamtime serpent – travelled across the country to carve both the Swan Valley and the Swan River, and remains deep within the waters today.
Blending the unique Indigenous history of the region with European roots, the Swan Valley was spotted in 1827 by Captain James Stirling prior to the official settlement of Western Australia two years later. Upon realisation of the rich soils within the Valley arable, livestock farming was quickly introduced, forming large estates. After farming had begun in this region, English botanist Thomas Waters recognised the climate within the region ‘would produce wines of quality developed in France, Italy and Spain’. As a result, he planted an olive tree in South Guildford, which is today located in the heart of the Swan Valley.
Being one of the oldest valleys in Western Australia, and the oldest in Australia emerging over 180 years ago, the growth of viticulture has expanded and evolved with an array of migrants from Europe moving to the region following both World War I and II. Whilst Croatian farmers have been largely responsible for the transformation of the Valley into lands suitable for vineyards, it is the Southern Europeans who drew upon the winemaking skills from their own countries that motivated the viticulture within the state to flourish. With an array of family-owned wineries throughout the Valley, the unique traditions are inevitably seen in the variety of flavours on offer.
Popular amongst both locals and visitors, Edgecombe Brothers is renowned for their luscious fortified wines and liqueurs, each holding their own unique smooth yet rich flavours. With views of the Darling Ranges and a vineyard that overlooks the tranquil Lake Yakine, this family-owned and operated vineyard and restaurant holds a prominent position at the western entrance of the Swan Valley. Running since 1925 when two brothers purchased 50 acres of land upon emigrating from the UK, this local icon continues to prune and pick from the vineyard the old-fashioned way, inviting the public to try it out themselves. If you are seeking something a little unusual to try upon visiting, book an Asparagus Masterclass, where you can learn all about the vegetable over a glass of wine or two.
Monday to Thursday 11AM-4PM, Friday 11AM-9PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-5PM
Edgecombe Brothers, 1733 Gnangara Rd, Ellenbrook WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 4307
Established by John Griffiths and Jane Micallef in 1997, the family vineyard and winery Faber Vineyard has become known for their ‘regionally distinctive grapes and rich and flavoursome craft wines’. With the belief that wine should be inspired and that ‘Wine is still a gift from the gods’, they hand bottle each of the wines themselves. Not only do they add a personal touch, but they also store their red wines in oak barrels, holding up to 300 litres each, exposing the wine to the air to improve their clarity and maturation.
Friday to Sunday 11AM-4PM
Faber Vineyard, 233 Haddrill Rd, Baskerville WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 0209
Creating traditional wines that are not only smooth to drink but also purely natural, Harris Organic Wines is the only certified organic vineyard in the Swan Valley. First producing wine in 1998 with preservative-free Shiraz dessert wine, they quickly expanded to an array of wines including red wine aged in American oak for up to 20 months, low-preservative dry white wines, and traditional brut sparkling wines. What makes Harris so special is the enhancement in maintaining soil fertility in the vineyard without the aid of harmful chemicals, and artesian waters to create such delicate wines.
Wednesday to Monday 11AM-4.30PM
Harris Organic Wines, 179 Memorial Ave, Baskerville WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 0216
Originating from the Bordeaux region of France, the de Tastes family brought the French tradition to the Swan Valley, combining it with the climate and rich soil of the WA region to create the Little River Winery & Cafe. Holding a long and proud history of fine wines, the family passion for winemaking continues to embrace the knack for producing wine that is highly sought after for its French-influenced flavour and finesse. From harvesting to crushing, and adding their secret selection of yeast strains, they have an array of flavours to appeal to all.
Friday 11AM-4PM, Saturday 11AM-5PM, Sunday to Tuesday 11AM-4PM
Little River Winery & Cafe, 2 Forest Rd, Henley Brook WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 4462
Upon the establishment of the Swan Valley, the first grapes were planted upon a ribbon of land that was under the ‘Oakover’ grant. It is through this pioneering spirit of the past that the Yukich family named the winery Oakover Grounds upon purchasing the land in 1985. With such history and a tranquil lake accompanying the grounds, the family introduced a cellar door in 1990 whilst continuing to produce the wine in their Jane Brook Winery. However, in 2002, they shifted their entire operations to Oakover Grounds, where they now crush between 700 and 1,000 tonnes of fruit every year.
Monday to Sunday 8AM-4PM
Oakover Grounds, 14 Yukich Cl, Middle Swan WA, Australia, +61 8 9374 8000
Lying within the Swan Valley is the oldest established winery in Western Australia, established in 1829 by botanist Thomas Waters. Upon being granted a large portion of land, Waters began planting olive trees, influencing this winery’s name, before adding vines shortly after. Since then, the owners of the Olive Farm Wines dug out an underground cellar, which is still used to this day. In 1933, the Yurisich family purchased the winery upon emigrating from Yugoslavia, becoming one of the first winemakers in the state to produce méthode champenoise (champagne or sparkling wine) and to use ‘cold fermentation techniques and selected yeast strain fermentations’. Expanding their winery, the entire business is now run purely in the Swan Valley, producing wine like no other in the state.
Monday to Sunday 11AM-5PM
Olive Farm Wines, 920 Great Northern Hwy, Millendon WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 4539
Upon relocating to Western Australia in the mid-1950s, Domenic and Iolanda Pinelli from the Molise region of Italy purchased a seven-acre block in Caversham to create a family winery. Established in 1980, Pinelli Estate Wines incorporates the Italian heritage that recognises that good wine should be part of every dining experience. Becoming a second-generation family winery, the Pinelli family continues to put in a lot of patience and hard work into delivering deliciously flavoured wines. Today, they produce up to 150,000 litres of wine every year, all with a unique Italian flair.
Monday to Friday 9AM-5PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-5PM
Pinelli Estate Wines, 30 Bennett St, Caversham WA, Australia, +61 8 9279 6818
The lush 30-acre vineyard at RiverBank Estate offers a romantic setting for both fine dining and wine tasting. Growing their vines free from chemicals (including pesticides and fungicides), they are as near to organic as possible. Further, the vineyard’s canopy has been perfectly positioned for nighttime mechanical harvesting, ensuring the fruit is ripe from indulging in the most amount of sunlight possible. In creating their delightful wines, all estate-grown fruit is machine harvested, excluding those used in sparkling wine. If you fall in love with the estate, you can even book to hold your function or wedding on the grounds!
Monday to Sunday 10AM-4PM
RiverBank Estate, 126 Hamersley Rd, Caversham WA, Australia, +61 8 9377 1805
Sandalford Wines is one of the oldest and largest privately owned wineries in Western Australia, being established in 1840, coinciding with the birth of WA’s world famous wine industry. They produced wines in the Valley for over a century before becoming one of the three initial pioneers branching out to shape the Margaret River wine region. Not only does this family-owned winery hold a long-standing reputation for over-delivering, but they are also one of the country’s most sustainable wineries, featuring advanced viticultural practices. Whether you fall in love with them here, or in Margaret River, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Monday to Sunday 10AM-5PM
Sandalford Wines, 3210 W Swan Rd, Caversham WA, Australia, +61 8 9374 9374
Bringing the passion of growing grapes to Western Australia upon visiting France in the 1980s, Simon and Maaike Bern purchased a block of land in the Swan Valley in the early 90s, where they began planting their vineyards. By 1998, they opened their restaurant and cellar door to the public, introducing them to Sittella Winery & Restaurant. Specialising in producing some of Australia’s finest premium wines – from chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon to sauvignon blanc and malbec – the Bern’s are tastefully located in the heart of the Valley.
Tuesday to Sunday 10AM-4PM
Operated by the Marshall family, the Swanbrook Winery & Cafe has become a boutique winery where you can enjoy a glass or two amongst the Shiraz vines. They produce excellent wines that can be enjoyed by the bottle – on-site or purchased at the cellar door – or through a local wine tasting trip, and a stop by their café is a must. After all, this is one of the few places you will be able to indulge in a family-made wine-infused burger!
Friday to Sunday 10AM-5PM
Swanbrook Winery & Cafe, 38 Swan St, Henley Brook WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 3100
For over 70 years, the Kraljevich family have owned and run Twin Hill Wines, producing fruitful vintages for you to enjoy. Upon emigrating from Dalmatia in 1926, Steve Kraljevich met his wife Annie, and they began to establish their first vintage in 1937. Continuing the family heritage, their charming cellar door holds a good collection of red and white table wines, fortified wines and barrels; however, it is their popular chilled sweet red wine that is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Accompanying this, you can enjoy an on-site cheese and wine tasting any day of the week.
Monday to Sunday 10AM-5PM
Twin Hill Wines, 1093 Great Northern Hwy, Baskerville WA, Australia, +61 8 9296 4272