Margaret River wine region poised for boost on international stage as borders open

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Deep Woods Estate chief winemaker Julian Langworthy at the Margaret River Wine Show.
Camera IconDeep Woods Estate chief winemaker Julian Langworthy at the Margaret River Wine Show. Credit: Supplied

Coming out of the other side of the pandemic, the Margaret River region is poised to take a major step up in the world of wine, local industry leaders say.

Increasing recognition by the international wine community, stellar wins for local wineries on the world stage, the re-opening of international borders, and the prospect of more direct flights into the region come as the industry, led by the Margaret River Wine Association, embrace the “true international style” of the region’s leading wine varietals.

Deep Woods Estate chief winemaker Julian Langworthy – still celebrating last month’s news that the Decanter World Wine Awards recognised the Yallingup winery’s 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as the world’s equal-best – told the Times this week all of the factors were pointing towards a bright future for the region.

“The more people who visit our region and see the positive nature of it and the quality of the wines, there’s an amazing blue sky in that for us,” the winemaker said.

“The best place to make the world’s best wines is in Margaret River.

“We’re just getting a grip on how to nuance these (varietals) and really make them shine.”

Although Deep Woods scored recognition for its cab sav, Langworthy said many of the region’s best offerings placed it on the same footing as Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley.

Compared to other Australian wine regions, Margaret River wines offered “international” complexity and nuance sought by overseas judges and consumers.

The trick was now to sell the story of those wines on the world stage, outlining the individuality of local terroir and its appeal to a wide variety of palates.

“Margaret River is now the triple threat that we make some of Australia’s best chardonnay, rose, and the best aromatic white blends,” Langworthy said.

“We’ve got this amazing capacity because of our climate.

“We have a lot of work to do to herald and triumph our wines.”

In line with that mission, the MRWA has unveiled a comprehensive prospectus on the wine region geared towards international media and judges aimed to lift Margaret River’s profile on the main stage.

MRWA chief executive Amanda Whiteland said the information pack was a “powerful storytelling tool” with the most up-to-date information about the region, including the work of scientists, geologists, historians, and third-party endorsements.

“This project has been several years in the making and the objective was to create a valuable resource to help the wider wine community to tell the Margaret River story consistently and accurately,” she said.

The media pack gave consistent, comprehensive information to promote the region to the world in a way not previously possible, Ms Whiteland said.

At the same time, five Margaret River wineries were on show at Colorado’s Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and last week eight wineries were involved in Melbourne and Sydney’s Good Food and Wine Show – all offering valuable chances for promotion.

MRWA saw the direct flights into the region as another worthy fillip.

“There was a lot of interest at the Melbourne show about the new Jetstar flights,” Ms Whiteland said.

Mr Langworthy said more flights into the region were valuable, but future international flights, including from South-East Asia, would be a massive boon for Margaret River and visitors previously deterred by the drive from Perth.

Flametree Wines brand, export and sales manager Leah Clearwater, who chairs the MRWA’s technical sub-committee, said the prospectus would be continually updated.

“Never before have we had such a compelling and comprehensive tool at our fingertips,” she said.

“It tells the regional story via a patchwork of heritage, science, international accolades, and good old-fashioned romance.”

The kit was available to all and offered ready-made information for publishers to draw upon.

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