How the Margaret River Wine Region Came to Be


Posted on 04 Apr 2018 15:49:07

How the Margaret River Wine Region Came to Be

A few decades back, Australia wouldn’t have come to mind at the mention of great wines. This was when Margaret River, a dairy farm region in Western Australia, was an unfamiliar name, a potential that had yet to be realised.

Today, the mention of “Margs” to true wine aficionados conjures the taste of the cabernet sauvignon or the full-bodied chardonnay, and the image of world-class surf breaks and vibrant food scenes amid a rugged natural backdrop.

From an unknown dairy farm region, Margaret River is now a bonafide tourist haven, attracting 1.5 million visitors every year with its cuisine, scenery, beaches and last but not least, its wine.

So, how did this humble region go from obscurity to one of the country’s most renowned producers of wine?

Let us explore the rich history of Margaret River.

The “Discovery” of Margaret River

The first European settlers who made Margaret River their home came in the early 1830s. Back then, the primary sources of livelihood were forestry and dairy agriculture.

It was not until the late 1960s that Margaret River emerged as an ideal grape growing region. Researchers Prof Harold Olmo and Dr John Gladstones individually conducted studies on the feasibility of viticulture in Margaret River. Gladstones’ study influenced regional pioneer Tom Cullity while Olmo’s research influenced politicians to look closely into the developments in Margaret River.

The Man with the Vision

Margaret River’s commercial vineyard started back in 1967 with Perth cardiologist Tom Cullity. Inspired by Gladstone’s study, Cullity came to Margaret River with a vision of transforming a quiet dairy farm into a wine region.

Farming was not Cullity’s strong suit, and local avian pests made his work harder. Every time Cullity successfully grew grapes, flocks of native birds would strip the vines of their fruit. Amid the problems and the scepticism of the local farmers, Cullity could have quit; according to his daughters, there was a time when he was “shattered”. But Cullity stuck with his dream, continued tending his vines, made grapes into great wine and eventually, the famous ’72 vintage was born.

From the success of Cullity’s 1972 batch, more winemakers came and set up shop. Years after, restaurateurs, wine tourists, artists, musicians and regular tourists were attracted to the burgeoning wine region.

Today, Margaret River has over 200 wineries and 100 cellar doors.  

A Taste for Something Different: The Berry Farm

People in Margaret River did not wait long until they started growing and cultivating other types of fruits and berries and making them into wine. The Berry Farm, in particular, is a pioneer in the fruit and berry wine production and development and has earned its reputation as one of the best wineries in Margaret River, for its ciders,sparkling fruit wines, dessert wines and fortified wines.

Since 1986, we’ve welcomed guests and tourists to the taste of our sparkling strawberry wine and dark plum fortified wine both available in our cellar door and cottage café. Not long after our first year of business, we introduced our sparkling pear wine, and in 2011 we introduced our ciders and our sparkling passionfruit wine.  We are continually developing new wines for the public to try and the new quince cider has been very successful.

To bring our delectable wines closer to our customers around the world, we have made our wines available for online customers. You’re welcome to walk through our cellar door and experience the beauty of Margaret River and the charm of the Berry Farm firsthand.

For questions about our products and amenities, contact us today.