The Great Southern. Ancient earth, tall skies, pristine waters.

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The Great Southern Region

The Great Southern continues to develop an enviable reputation for producing premium, cool climate table wine.

The Great Southern region of Western Australia features dramatic forested cliffs pounded by the wild Southern Ocean intermingled with cosy coves and calm bays. Coastal and country towns are steeped in the history of early European settlement. Rolling pastoral landscapes and majestic mountain ranges are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna - and fine wines are carefully crafted in the region’s vineyards.

The Great Southern wine story began in 1956 when University of California Viticulture Professor Harold Olmo reported that the Mount Barker and Frankland River areas showed great promise for making table wines in the light traditional European style.

In 1965 the Western Australian State Viticulturist established a trial vineyard at Forest Hill near Mount Barker, two years before the first Margaret River plantings. The first wines from those plantings - a Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon - were made in 1972. Recognition soon followed: a 1975 Riesling was a multiple trophy winner in wine shows around Australia.

Great Southern Region Overview

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The Great Southern wine region is vast - 100 kilometres north to south and 150 kilometres east to west - and includes five subregions.

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The region was instrumental in the establishment of modern winemaking in Western Australia in the 1960s.

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Climatic conditions range through mediterranean, maritime and continental. It is the coolest wine region in Western Australia.

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Rainfall and humidity increase to the south of the region and temperature significantly increases inland, towards the north.

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Soils are mainly either lateritic gravelly and sandy loams, or sandy loams derived from granite bedrock.

From 1965

In 1965 the Western Australian State Viticulturist established a trial vineyard at Forest Hill near Mount Barker, two years before the first Margaret River plantings. The first wines from those plantings - a Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon - were made in 1972. Recognition soon followed: a 1975 Riesling was a multiple trophy winner in wine shows around Australia.

The Australian Geographical Indication “Great Southern” was registered in 1996. The Great Southern wine region is vast and diverse, extending 100 kilometres north to south and 150 kilometres east to west and is the largest wine growing region in mainland Australia.

The five subregions of the Great Southern: the coastal, maritime subregions of Albany and Denmark and the inland, more continental subregions of Mount Barker, Porongurup and Frankland River were registered in 1999.

Great Southern Today

These days the region is home to over 70 producers and is the second largest wine grape producer in Western Australia. The region continues to develop an enviable reputation for producing premium, cool climate table wine for domestic and international consumption.

Wine grape production is essentially based on a number of small family run businesses, with winemaking in the hands of talented winemakers operating approximately fifteen wineries in the region.

This production regime provides region-wide quality assurance, continuous improvement and stylistic quality across the classic varietals whilst also providing room for contemporary explorations and garagista production.

Wine grapes from the region, especially from Frankland River and Mount Barker, are also in demand from other Western Australian winemakers seeking pristine, cool climate fruit.

Riesling and Shiraz remain the cornerstones of Great Southern winemaking with the region also lending itself to quality production of a large range of other varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.