Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 018 Contents June-December 2010 Scoop Traveller 189
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Salitage owner John Horgan was
recently awarded a Member of
the Order of Australia for his service
to the Australian wine industry and
community and the promotion of
wine-based tourism in Western Australia.
We spoke with him about the success of
Salitage and Pemberton’s growing identity
as a holiday destination.
You have worked in some of the best wine
regions around the world, so what is it that
makes Pemberton unique? Increasingly,
viticulturalists and winemakers are researching
wine regions much more intensely than they
did back in the early days – essentially focusing
on soil types and climates. Pemberton in
particular is blessed with two very favourable
growing conditions; we have a cool maritime
climate coming off the Southern Ocean, which
enables us to get true dormancy in our vines.
Also, our soils are some of the best in the world
for soil drainage and tough enough to stress
the vines naturally.
What wines in particular is the Southern
Forest region renowned for? Well, I think pinot
noir is the real star. The recent Ray Jordan wine
guide voted ours the best pinot noir in Western
Australia. Also, our chardonnay and sauvignon
blanc were both included in Robert Geddes’ Top
100 wines in Australia.
When Salitage opened in 1989, it was one of
the pioneering wineries in the Southern Forest.
With the region being such an unknown, did it
take a while to establish your reputation? Yes,
well we started based on a lot of research by
professionals and of course, your heart is in your
mouth. You have to wait four years before you
can actually taste a grape. And all that theory...
well, you can’t eat theory. You just have to
wait for it to produce. Fortunately for us, it has
turned out exactly as we predicted. Now there is
something like 60 producers in the region.
Have you noticed an increase in tourism around
Pemberton since you first opened? Thankfully,
we’ve preserved our beautiful natural assets,
namely the forests and the scenic drives. Now
the wineries are really a tourist magnet because
although the beauty of the region is a
given, people want something to do as well.
Wineries provide that and we’ve seen a marked
increase in the number of international visitors
as well as Australian visitors.
As a local, what do you enjoy about
living in beautiful Pemberton? I guess the
satisfaction of achieving the original plan,
which we made way back in the mid 80s.
We were well advised by people, such as Rob
Mondavi and our French partners... they knew
how important soil type and climate are. So,
taking advice from people and seeing that
materialise into a situation where we’ve now
got three wines in Australia’s Top 100. And the
pinot noir, which we came here for, has proved
to be a real winner for us.
What would you recommend visitors
to the region should see? I was at a tourism
meeting just last night and I complimented
the local industry on the variety of activities
available. Pemberton isn’t just a pretty face–
We’ve got three award-winning tour operators
down here and a whole array of things to do.
Now visitors are staying three or four days,
instead of just one or two.
| Wine tasting
TRAVEL DIARY All these events and more with venue maps and ticketing info can be found at scoop.com.au .
Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival, December 11-12, www.cherryfestival.com.au . • 2010 Manjimup 15000 Motocross, June 4-6, www.
williethomson.com/manjimup/index.html. • Pemberton and Northcliffe Wildflowers, September-mid November, www.southernforests.
com.au . • Whale Watching at Point D’Entrecasteaux, May-November, www.dec.wa .gov.au . • General open trout season, September to
April; open for trout fishing all year, the Blackwood, Donnelly and Warren Rivers, www.pembertonvisitor.com.au .
insider Southern Forest
Seven Day Rd, Manjimup
Ph: (08) 9777 0777
Established in 1989, Fonty’s Pool winery is situated in the picturesque Pemberton
region, amongst the majestic Karri and Jarrah forest. Awarded a 5 Red star rating - the
highest accol ade by James Halliday - Fonty’s Pool consistently produce s expressive ,
regional wines at affordable prices. Enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the undulating
vineyards and backdrop of spectacular State forest.
Cellar Door open seven days per week, 12pm to 4pm
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