The history of WA wine commenced with the birth of the colony in 1829. In fact, Olive Farm in the Swan Valley is believed to be the oldest continually operating winery in Australia. Swan Valley, in the outer suburbs of Perth, continued to dominate winemaking until 1970. Most of Swan Valley's production focused on brawny reds, and fortified dessert wines - ideally suited to its hot climate. Over the last 40 years the cooler regions, notably Margaret River and Great Southern, have revolutionised WA wines both in terms of quality and production. Having only 7% of Australia's vineyards, and a mere 3% of grapes crushed, Western Australian wines attract an inordinate amount of media and the buying public's attention.
In the 1950s Harold Olmo, a Californian researcher, determined that the south-western tip of Australia had a climate closer to the Bordeaux region than anywhere else in the world. Using Olmo's research, John Gladstones from the CSIRO supervised trial plantings at Forest Hill in the Great Southern, in 1965.
By 1972 the legendary Jack Mann was making wines from these plantings, for Houghtons and Sandalford. Similar trial plantings in Margaret River in the late 1960s yielded equally promising results. The search for the ideal climate to grow Bordeaux style wines in WA led Robert Mondavi from California, to link up with the Horgans of Leeuwin Estate. Noted Margaret River producers - Cullen, Moss Wood, Cape Mentelle, Pierro and Vasse Felix - also commenced operation at this time. It is no surprise that the classic Bordeaux varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc - have thrived in Margaret River.
There is equal excitement about regions further south - around Mount Barker, Albany, Frankland River and Pemberton. Pemberton and Albany are notable for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; while Mount Barker and Frankland River are receiving many accolades for their Riesling, Shiraz and Cab Sauv.
Much of the success of WA wines has been fuelled by the state's resources boom, especially Pilbara iron ore, over the last 40 years. Cashed up entrepreneurs have established many new wineries, or have been major customers of them.
Fortunately the ‘no expenses spared’ approach to viticulture and viniculture, has ensured that wines, at all levels, have been of very good to exceptional quality. Recognition of this by the media and wine-buying public, has given the WA wine industry a momentum that should continue - even if the current resources boom fades.
Dan Murphy's supports the Responsible Service of Alcohol. New South Wales: Liquor Act 2007. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years.Victoria: WARNING: Victoria Liquor Control Reform Act 1998: It is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $7,000), for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $600). WARNING. Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence: to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on licensed or regulated premises; or for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase, or attempt to purchase, liquor on licensed or regulated premises.South Australia: Liquor Licensing Act 1997, Section 113. Liquor must NOT be supplied to persons under 18. Queensland: Under the Liquor Act 1992, it is an offence to supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years. For more specific legislation in your state or territory visit our Liquor Licensing Acts page. ABN 88 000 014 675.