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Singlefile Wines

Alicia Russell
 
11 September 2018 | Singlefile Wines Blog | Alicia Russell

The Vines and Wines of Mount Barker

Base yourself in the gateway of the Great Southern and enjoy the delights of Mt Barker and its surrounds.

Fast becoming a tourist attraction, Mount Barker is a charming town located on three important routes in the Great Southern region – Albany Highway from Perth to Albany, Muirs Highway linking the South West to the Great Southern and the Mount Barker-Porongurup Road.

This central location makes it an ideal base to explore the region’s natural beauty  – and outstanding wines. The spectacular spring wildflower season attracts large numbers of tourists, while good road systems provide access to the south coast with the coastline near Denmark and Albany just a comfortable half-hour drive away. 

The History

Mount Barker is not only the senior subregion of the Great Southern, but was the first to be declared in Australia. The first experimental grapevine plantings in the Great Southern were at Tony and Betty Pearse’s Forest Hill property west of Mount Barker in 1965 (and this historic vineyard is where we have sourced the fruit for our Single Vineyard Mount Barker Riesling in past vintages). These plantings provided the impetus for Tony Smith of Plantagenet and Ernie Mead to plant vines on their properties at Denbarker in 1968 with other pioneers following soon afterwards.

The Vines and Wines

Known as the ‘Bordeaux of the Great Southern”, Mt Barker is an important sub-region of the Great Southern. One of Australia's most awarded wine growing regions, it has impressed wine critics with its outstanding cool climate Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.

Mount Barker terroir provides the ideal growing conditions for these varietals. The area experiences high daily temperature fluctuations and strong continental aspects. During the growing season, it offers warm and sunny days providing important sunlight and excellent fruit ripening conditions, while the cool nights enhance and retain natural grape acidity. The average annual rainfall of 600-700 mm is perfect for vines; so many vineyards in the subregion employ only minimal irrigation at key times of the growing season. Some established vineyards are proudly dry grown. The soils are marri with lateritic gravelly and sandy loams derived from granite rock protrusions.

Key producers based in the region include Plantagenet Wines, West Cape Howe, Galafrey Wines and 3 Drops.

See the Sights

The gateway to the ‘Amazing South Coast’ brand, Mount Barker (located within the Shire of Plantagenet) is a great place to base yourself for exploring the Great Southern Wine Region, and the many natural attractions of the region, including the Stirling Range National Park, home to one of WA's largest mountain peaks, Bluff Knoll

Mount Barker sits alongside the spectacular Porongurup National Park and locals insist that a visit to the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock in the Porongurup Range is a must, with an abundance of wildflowers on show from September to November each year.

Indeed, spring is a great time to visit with many and varied (and often extremely rare) wildflowers in bloom.

St Werburgh’s chapel is a beautiful historic building and was built in 1874 and is still in use today. The walls were made of clay pug and the roof of wooden shingles. An Albany carpenter undertook the woodwork, using local casuarina and jarrah. The ironwork was made in the family forge and the font had been the family mortar.

Food and Dining

The Grocery Store: www.facebook.com/thegrocerystoremountbarker
Known for its great coffee and eco-flavour, this cute spot gets rave reviews for its friendly service. Try the focaccia!

The Shed at Plantagenet Wines: www.plantagenetwines.com/Cellar-Door 
If you are in the region in spring, this charmingly rustic eatery is perfect. Enjoy the alfresco area and partake of simple, yet delicious food, against a backdrop of vines. The Shed’s lunch menu uses local ingredients to create meals that are perfectly paired with Plantagenet’s range of wines. 

Mount Barker Country Bakery: www.facebook.com/mtbarkerbakery 
Word is that these are the best pies in rural WA…Chunky beef pies and sweet fruit concoctions are the order of the day. Perfect for a quick lunch on the road.

Accommodation

Gamekeeper’s Cottage at Poacher’s Ridge: www.poachersridge.com.au
Rayanne Homestead: www.rayanne.com.au
Porongurup Village Inn: www.porongurupinn.com.au
Banksia Farm: www.facebook.com/banksiafarm 
Caber House: www.caberhouse.com.au

Keep Mt Barker on your bucket list for your next holiday destination and stop by and visit us at Singlefile while you’re in the area.   

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