East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Friday, 15 May 2020

Head west for a choice of gourmet stays

With travel restrictions being eased, the Great Southern wine region in West Australia has a lot to recommend it - in addition to some of Australia's best small wine producers.

First up, there are fewer crowds than in Margaret River or the Swan Valley - and several discoveries to be made.The prices, too, are reasonable.

Third-generation family business, Alkoomi Wines in Frankland River, 330 kilometres from Perth, has a two-bedroom chalet on site that sleeps up to seven people. Suitable for families, rates start from $120 per night or $650 per week.

CEO and owner Sandy Hallett was born and raised on the property and has been involved in the family business since 1994 and took over management of it with her husband Rod in 2010, continuing to build on the legacy of her grandparents.

“We are looking forward to seeing visitors explore the beautiful Great Southern, once again,” she said.

The original 1,220-hectare property was purchased by Vic and Netta Lange in 1946, and they named their rugged property Alkoomi after the local Aboriginal word that means “a place we choose”.

The first vines were planted in 1971 by their son Merv and his wife Judy, Sandy’s parents, who decided to stop selling their grapes and start making wine themselves in 1979. The sustainable operation has grown from one hectare under vine to 105 hectares at the estate vineyard. Alkoomi also has a 14-hectare olive grove.

Just three kilometres from the town centre of Denmark is rising star Castelli Estate (above), situated on 60 hectares with a Tudor-style building perched upon the hill top.

The working winery has been in operation for 35 years and offers bed and breakfast accommodation in five modern guest rooms with luxurious linens, mini bar and superb views.

Ana Fiore from Castelli Estate is currently offering a 10% discount on all accommodation bookings.

The estate restaurant, Castelli In Cucina, is open for lunch Wednesday to Monday and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Think hearty Italian food with pasta, gnocchi and bread all made in-house and ingredients sourced from their garden or local suppliers.

Monkey Rock Merlot
Also situated in pretty Denmark is Monkey Rock Winery, which has the Turicum Chalets accommodation, a winery and farm stay with rates starting from $120 per night. There are three chalets that each have two-bedrooms and one of those chalets also has an attached studio.

Owner and winemaker Stephanie Watts said that guests who stay three nights or more receive a complimentary bottle of Monkey Rock wine.

“Our combined farm and winery accommodation has lots for kids to do but also the cellar door for adults and we also have a cidery on site. We’re pet friendly too,” Watts said.

The 100-hectare property backs onto the Williams Bay National Park. Guests can hike to the beach, stroll or a local winery or sit back and watch the visiting kangaroos from their patio.

The fully self-contained Gamekeeper’s Cottage at Poacher's Ridge winery (below) offers sweeping views of the Porongurup Ranges and comes with a cosy stone fireplace.

Owner Janet Taylor said that the location of Poacher’s Ridge in the middle of the triangle of Porongurup, Albany and Denmark makes it easy for visitors to access many of the region’s attractions.

“The Gamekeeper’s Cottage is our old house and is fully equipped with everything for a comfortable stay,” she said.

A coffee machine, breakfast provisions and Poacher’s Ridge preservative-free olive oil are included in the rates that start at $190 per night.

The Great Southern is the largest mainland wine region in Australia with five sub-regions: Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker, and Porongurup.

About 12,000 tonnes of wine grapes produced annually which is about 25% of Western Australia’s annual wine grape crush. The main varieties are riesling, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and pinot noir.

For more information on the region visit www.greatsouthernwine.org.au

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