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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wine and Food Discoveries Down South, Western Australia

I  recently spent a couple of fun filled days Down South WA with my Book Club girls and if there's something we have in common it's wine and food

We went to some fantastic wineries and food places so I thought I'd share them with you so if you are ever around the Dunsborough / Yallingup / Margaret River region these places are all within driving distance and great places to visit.

Bushtucker Winery and Brewery Tour - I strongly suggest you book yourself onto a wine tour so you don't need to worry about driving!

You are spoilt for choice on tour companies Down South - we chose the Bushtucker Tour because they change their itinerary depending on where they pick up from which keeps it interesting - our tour was for 6 hours and we visited 2 winery's, a brewery, a liquor factory, chocolate and cheese factory.

Our tour guide was forthright and straight to the point he kept us moving and got us to places on time. Lunch was included and was an Aussie tucker tasting plate of crocodile, emu, kangaroo and witchetty grubs to name a few!

Driftwood Winery Estate - The building is like an old castle and they also have an amphitheatre which would make an incredible party venue under the stars in summertime.

The wine here was the best of our tour and reasonably priced, we picked up bottles of Rose for only $10 each.

Knotting Hill Estate - This winery was picture perfect with a large lake backdrop and deck to sit and enjoy the view. The wines here were a bit more expensive and not to my taste although you can buy any glass of wine for $7 and it's a big glass!

The wine guide gave us a rundown on the vineyard history and was really friendly.

We had lunch here overlooking the lake, which the Bushtucker Tour Guide set out for us.

The Grove - This place is best known for its liquor factory but it's also a winery and is a must visit if you're ever in the region. The guys that served us were so entertaining (even though I got called Julia Gillard's illegitimate love child!).

The liquors were sensational and I couldn't resist a take home bottle of lemonchello for the freezer. There's a sunny garden out the back to enjoy a strong liquor cocktail or two.

Cheeky Monkey Brewery / Killerby Winery - Why hasn't anyone thought of this before putting a brewery AND winery at the same venue?! The guys head to the brewery side for beer tasting and the girls to the cellar door for wine tastings. Meet outside on a table out under the patio or sit on the lawn and soak up some sunshine. A perfect place for a few lazy Sunday drinks, I recommend the cider on tap.

The only downside was they only serve pizzas in the afternoon which was unfortunate because we were craving some easy nibbles with our drinks, so they missed out on our food order and all the others craving some hot chips with their drinks!

House of Cards Winery - This is a new up and coming winery located in the same complex as Gabriel Chocolate (see below). The name comes from the fact that the growth of vines is always a gamble, depending on the hand that is dealt by mother nature.

The tastings here were fresh and crisp and the shop sells funky homewares art and books.

Clancys Fish Pub, Dunsborough - They don't take bookings for dinner so we were lucky to arrive on a Saturday night and secure a table with fun multi coloured chairs.

There wasn't a long wait for the meal as feared and if you aren't afraid of spicy food I'd recommend the fried mice they are unusually tasty, the fish and chips were crunchy and delicious.

The only downside was they only served beer and wine but no spirits and after a day of wine touring I was really craving a refreshing Rum and Lemonade.

Rivendell Winery - Our group of 6 stayed in the Rivendell Winery Villas on site so we had to check out the restaurant after a taxi driver told us it was one of the best places to dine in the area.

We had some wine tastings in the Cellar Door beforehand and bought a few bottles of sparking white wine to take home. We had lunch in a beautiful setting with kangaroos bouncing around the vineyards.

The downside was the same wine we just tasted we had to pay double the price for in the restaurant. The food was nice but I think we were all a bit too full from wining and dining over the last few days to enjoy it completely.

Gabriel Chocolate - Located in the same complex as House of Cards Winery (see above) this is a sweet smelling chocolate factory with friendly staff who offered to show us into the factory so we could see the chocolate being made.

The chocolate is roasted from beans across the world and each packet is colour coded to show you where it is made.

The Margaret River Chocolate Factory - Most Perth people have heard of or been to this place and the size of the shop gives you an insight into it's popularity.

Head straight for the big silver bowls of chocolate buds for tastings and then linger over the wrapped chocolates deciding if you really want to spend that much on a small bar of chocolate, then head back to the bowls for more tastings, then buy the chocolate anyway!

Olio Bello Olive Oil Farm - This organic olive oil farm offers a large number of oil tastings as well as relishes, sauces and dukha. The flavours of these products are amazing you won't be able to walk away without buying something.

We shared a tasting plate with delicious fetta, tomatoes and olives in their oils and I couldn't help myself I had to go back inside and buy more products to take home with like the Mandarin Chilli Sauce ah-mah-zing!

The Margaret River Diary Company - With all those wines we'd purchased we needed to stop by the Cheese Factory for some cheese tastings and to take home some cheeses to make up a tasting plate.

You can buy these cheeses in a lot of the Supermarkets now but you get more variety purchasing from the company direct.

The Berry Farm - About a 15 minute drive out of Margaret River, we should have visited here when we were in Margaret River the day before but decided it was worth the drive back there to check it out and we made it worth our while - between 2 of us we spent $350 on liquors, ports, ciders, passion fruit sparkling wine (to die for!) and of course jams, relishes and salad dressings.

That was after getting a discount when we discovered some bullants floating in our port tasting - hey if I was an ant I'd want to die being drowned in booze too! There are so many products here to taste and the liquors and ports were really good value.

We finished our morning with scones, jam and cream in the Cafe before the long drive back to Perth.

You can fit a lot into a weekend Down South especially if you're a wine drinker!

Do you have a favourite place to visit when you head Down South? 

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Images my own - Book Club Girls x 2, Knotting Hill, The Grove, House of Cards, Gabriel Chocolate, The Berry Farm]

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  1. Love a trip down south! The all important question though, did you stop in at Hot Chocolatte in Dunsborough and have a hot chocolate??? I'm heading down there this weekend for a friend's wedding, looking forward to stopping in at all my favourite places :)

  2. So you say this is a BOOK club?? I would say its masquerading as the Wine/Cheese/Chocolate club :-) What an awesome weekend!

  3. Bookmarking this post for my next trip down south! So many amazing wineries!


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