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SURE IT'S EXCITING to check out the new wineries
popping up around Margaret River, but if you're after
a bit of history or keen to check out the vineyards that
have stood the test of time, it's worth adding some of
these local legends to your list.
The first vineyard and winery established in the
Margaret River region was Vasse Felix on Caves
Road, which Dr Tom Cullity founded in 1967. Today
it stands as one of the most highly reviewed wineries
in Australia. The underground cellar, originally built
in the 1970s, pays tribute to the winery's remarkable
Not long after Vasse made its mark, Diana and
Kevin Cullen planted 18 acres of vines on their sheep
and cattle farm in the same area. The family-owned
Cullen Wines has grown by leaps and bounds
since then, now making wines that are distributed
worldwide from biodynamically grown grapes.
Another mover and shaker in the industry is
Leeuwin Estate, which was originally a cattle farm
until 1972, when legendary American winemaker
Robert Mondavi identified the land's potential for
growing grapes. Leeuwin enjoyed its first commercial
vintage seven years later, and was thrust into the
international spotlight when Decanter magazine gave
its highest recommendation to the 1980 "Art Series"
chardonnay in an international blind tasting.
The other two wineries that make up the "five
founding fathers" of the Margaret River Wine region
are Moss Wood (1969) and Cape Mentelle (1970),
both of which have pioneered many of the region's
renowned wine styles.
All these early-day wineries have either kept
their original buildings or redesigned them with
consideration to the old structures so you can get a
feel for their history.
Hay Shed Hill, for example, has reinvented the
old hay shed and homestead which was originally used
as a group settlement property for returned soldiers
Redgate has an equally fascinating history with
their first vineyards planted in 1977 by World War II
bomber pilot Bill Ullinger. He and his son Paul, who
initially bought the property for winemaking, now
have over 22ha of mature estate plantings.
Then there's Woody Nook, which keeps the
old-style winery charm alive with its rustic cellar door.
Established in 1982 by Jeff and Wynn Gallagher, the
winery is nestled among 24ha of jarrah and marri
The final winery worth visiting for its history and
warmth is Happs, which dates back to 1981. Like all
these "maturer" estates, Happs is a legend of its time
and has the wine and settings to prove it.
WA's top travel destination
never stays still for long with
new cellar doors, nationally
recognised restaurants and
making the news.
TE X T: Nathan Scolaro and Tess Trenear
I TA LIAN GLORY
If you're looking for an authentic Italian
restaurant, spare a thought for Relish the
Experience -- it's a true South West treasure.
And it's got the awards to prove it. The family-
owned business recently received a gong from
the Restaurant and Catering Association of
Australia, which recognises the five best European
restaurants across the country. If you head down
to the friendly home-style eatery, a convenient
2km drive from Dunsborough, you'll see why. The
lovely owners Franco and Lella Gimelli are both
highly qualified chefs with worldwide experience,
and have brought the flavours and atmosphere
of their native Italy to this beautiful part of the
world. Nearly all the pastas are freshly made by
Franco (his gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola sauce
is really special) and the dishes are creatively put
together by Lella. The menu also has a focus on
meat and seafood (they do an amazing cartoccio),
Busselton and Margaret River Wine Region
THE OLD GUARD
FINE WINES: (this
pic t ure) Vasse Felix;
the Experience's main
entrance; (below) Seafood
caldera at Relish.
WINE AND FOOD NEWS
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