Great Southern

Great Southern is a vast wine region, stretching for 150km in from the coast at the southern tip of Western Australia. The landscape is scattered with regal stands of jarrah, karri and marri trees against the magnificent granite peaks of the Porongurup range. Great Southern incorporates five official sub-regions: Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup. As a whole, they produce a wide variety of wine styles. The region has earned an excellent reputation for premium riesling, chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Delicate riesling with great longevity from Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup is very highly regarded. Chardonnay is successful throughout, particularly in Albany and Denmark. Spicy shiraz, classic cabernet sauvignon and merlot are recognised for their fruit intensity and structure. Good examples of pinot noir from cooler sites and sauvignon blanc are also found. Situated almost 400km south of Perth, Great Southern is a large and important wine region. After early trials in the 1950s, viticulture took off in the 70s and 80s to reach over 3,200 ha under vine. The region now accounts for almost 40% of Western Australia’s total wine production. Each sub-region lays claim to a distinctive natural terroir that is reflected in the wine. On the coast, Denmark and Albany benefit from a cool maritime climate strongly influenced by the Southern Ocean. It becomes warmer and continental further inland towards Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup in the north. As a whole, the district has relatively low rainfall. Soils vary through well drained gravelly and sandy loams formed from granite and gneissic rock to fertile red karri loams. The city of Albany was the first proclaimed European settlement in Western Australia. It has a long history as a whaling station port. The Old Gaol that is now a museum was built in 1851 as a centre for hiring convict labour. Raised 38m from the ground, the tree top walk in the Valley of the Giants is a popular tourist walkway above the canopy of the tingle tree forest.