Fans of premium wines will have a field day. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot are the star red varieties, with most wineries making a straight cabernet and/or a cabernet-merlot blend. Shiraz is also popular and Cape Mentelle makes a powerful zinfandel. Chardonnay is the standard single variety white wine, while fresh vibrant semillon-sauvignon blanc blends have become synonymous with the region. A few wineries make (Australian-style) Rieslings. Most wineries offer free tastings 10am to 4:30pm daily, and several have restaurants serving lunch.
The region's best known winery is Leeuwin Estate, Stevens Road, Margaret River (tel. 08/9759 0000; www.leeuwinestate.com.au), set within magnificent grounds. It has a towering reputation, with its Art Series chardonnay often rated Australia's finest. Winery tours run three times a day. Its next-door neighbor, Voyager Estate, Stevens Road, Margaret River (tel. 08/9757 6354; http://voyagerestate.com.au), has exquisite rose gardens and a South African Cape Dutch-style cellar and top-notch restaurant.
The three pioneer vineyards from the late 1960s all rate very highly. Moss Wood, 926 Metricup Rd., Willyabrup (tel. 08/9755 6266; www.mosswood.com.au), accepts visitors for really comprehensive tours Monday to Friday by appointment, while both Vasse Felix, Corner Caves Road and Harmans South Road, Cowaramup (tel. 08/9756 5000; www.vassefelix.com.au), and Cullen Wines, Caves Road, just north of Harmans South Road, Cowaramup (tel. 08/9755 5277; www.cullenwines.com.au), have tasting rooms and restaurants. Other labels to look for are Cape Mentelle, Lenton Brae, Pierro, Woodlands, and Cape Grace Wines. Ashbrook, 379 Harman's Rd. South, Willyabrup (tel. 08/9755 6262; www.ashbrookwines.com.au), takes a very serious approach to style and quality, and makes one of the best WA Rieslings.
Concerts & Kookaburras
Every summer, Leeuwin Estate Winery (tel. 08/9759 0000; www.leeuwinestate.com.au) stages its Leeuwin Concert Series starring leading showbiz lights (past performers have included Sting, k.d. lang, Kiri Te Kanawa, Julio Iglesias, and Diana Ross) and usually a major orchestra, attended by 6,000 picnicking guests. Tickets are about A$130, and sell out months ahead. The concerts are held in the open air, below the winery, just as the sun is setting, accompanied by kookaburras cackling in the surrounding karri trees.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.