The Great Outdoors
As much as we all love tasting wine …
Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia is lucky enough to have members situated on three of its magnificent wine coasts. From Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix and Voyager Estate in the awe-inspiring Margaret River to Montalto on the rugged Mornington Peninsula to d’Arenberg in stunning McLaren Vale, some of the best wine in the country is being made by the beach.
As the name suggests, a region with a maritime climate is characterised by its close proximity to large bodies of water, such as oceans or estuaries, which moderate the temperature. Maritime climates share many characteristics with both Mediterranean and continental climates and, as such, are often described as a middle ground between the two extremes.
The Margaret River Region has a temperate maritime climate, with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. The strong maritime influence is made possible by the region having water bodies on three of its boundaries – the Southern Ocean on the south, the Indian Ocean to the west and Geographe Bay to its north. This makes for strong coastal breezes which provide welcome relief to the growing vines from the heat extremes during summer. It makes Margaret River a very favourable and consistent region to grow grapes.
Moving south to the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, located an hour south of Melbourne, the cool maritime climate is influenced by Western Port Bay and Port Philip Bay on either side. The region experiences warm, dry summers and cold wet winters resulting in late ripening and is ideally suited to producing complex cool climate wines.
Further down in South Australia, the diverse McLaren Vale region benefits from a warmer Mediterranean climate, ideal for Spanish and Italian style wines among others. McLaren Vale is bordered on its three sides by the suburbs of Adelaide to the north, the Mt Lofty Ranges to the east and south, and Gulf St Vincent to the west. The influences of the Mt Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent play a very important role in moderating the climate of McLaren Vale and are largely responsible for many of climatic differences experienced within the region.
So it seems the grapes are well looked after in our coastal wine regions. The other obvious benefits are spectacular coastal scenery, magnificent weather and multiple opportunities for aquatic adventures.
Margaret River’s 135 kilometres of coastline and 75 breaks make it one of Australia’s most popular destinations for surfers and water sports enthusiasts. If you prefer to stay dry, there are many opportunities to admire the view from land. The longest and most famous hiking track is the Cape to Cape Track. The 140 kilometre (five to six day walk) track traverses along the ridge and beaches of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park following the coast from Cape Naturaliste, Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin, Augusta. If you aren’t game for the full stretch, short walks along the way are easily accessed. Vasse Felix offers the Cape to Vine Day Trip combining a walk along a section of the track with a tasting and lunch. Helicopter tours and scenic flights are also a popular way to view the spectacular coastline and all our wineries are happy to arrange these for you.
Close to Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, on the Mornington Peninsula, aquatic activities include scuba diving, fishing, surfing and even swimming with the wild bottlenose dolphins of Port Phillip Bay.
D’Arenberg offers a Scenic Flight, Wine Making Class & Degustation experience providing the opportunity to soar over the vineyards and beaches of McLaren Vale in a 1930s WACO biplane. Alternatively explore the coast by bike or on a 4WD safari.
The possibilities of Australia’s coastal wine regions are boundless. From family holidays, to romantic escapes to thrill seeking adventures, you’ll find it all where the land meets the sea.