The Great Southern
The Great Southern wine region is vast – 100 kilometres north to south and 150 kilometres east to west – and includes five subregions.
The region was instrumental in the establishment of modern winemaking in Western Australia in the 1960s.
Climatic conditions range through mediterranean, maritime and continental. It is the coolest wine region in Western Australia.
Rainfall and humidity increase to the south of the region and temperature significantly increases inland, towards the north.
Soils are mainly either lateritic gravelly and sandy loams, or sandy loams derived from granite bedrock.
Take a deeper dive in to the geology, soils and climate of the Great Southern Wine Region HERE
The Great Southern Region
The Great Southern Wine Region of Western Australia is the most ancient, most isolated and largest wine region in the world.
Covering over 1.7 million Hectares and up to 2.8 billion years old, The Great Southern Wine Region is firmly placed in the heart of Wagyl Kaip region of Noongar boodja country. Since the Nyittiny – creation times – Our first nations people of the Wagyl Kaip region have shared and cared for this Great Southern country.
Time is a privilege. And in the Great Southern time is everywhere – vast, discernible, pure. Laying untouched for billions of years, some of the largest and most ancient land in the world – where nature has thrived.
The Great Southern wine region of Western Australia is, at its core, a place of natural distinctions and divergencies, danger and beauty, diversity and uniqueness. It’s a place of dramatic contrasts. Striking tall timber forests, swathes of rich agricultural land, dramatic peaks and imposing mountain ranges, pure water flowing from ancient rivers.
Amongst this, sit remarkable vines. To this day the same pure waters feed the ancient earth that lay beneath these vines. With the privilege of time, has emerged a wine region of international significance and reputation – the pristine Great Southern Wine region.
Isolation and a cool climate have elicited a calling. Near perfect conditions for grape growing has lured some of the most creative and talented winemakers to call this land their home and become part of its ancient story. Great Southern wine makers both time-honoured and innovative, are leading the way in the development of sophisticated contemporary Australian winemaking that has privilege in its DNA.
Today, Great Southern wine is world class. From Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup, Denmark and Albany – each with its unique style have developed a reputation of global significance. Sustainable, organic, pristine, and uniquely expressive – hand crafted by some of Australia’s best winemakers – these award winning wines have time on their side and touch lightly on this great land.
A privilege to drink now or perfect to cellar – Great Southern wines combines the purity of its pedigree with the integrity of its makers. Taste the privilege of time.
The Beginnings of Greatness
The vast Great Southern wine region — 100 kilometres north to south and 150 kilometres east to west, including five subregions — was instrumental in the establishment of modern winemaking in Western Australia in the 1960s.
It’s said that the first vines were planted in the region in 1859, however, in 1965, trial vineyards were planted at Forest Hill near Mount Barker, and a Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon were made in 1972. Recognition quickly followed. A 1975 Riesling was a multiple trophy winner in wine shows around Australia. The Australian Geographical Indication, Great Southern, was subsequently registered in 1996.
Today, Great Southern winemaking is in the hands of talented, award-winning winemakers operating world-class wineries across the region, providing region-wide quality assurance and continuous improvement across classic varietals, while also providing room for innovation, contemporary exploration and production. Now, Riesling and Shiraz predominate in Great Southern winemaking alongside Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Great Southern wine region’s five sub-regions: Albany; Porongurup; Mt Barker, Denmark and Frankland River, are characterised by distinctive geomorphic and climatic conditions. According to wine critic, James Halliday, each of the wine region’s subregions produce distinctive wine styles and subregional flavours:
- Frankland River: for rich reds, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
- Mount Barker: cool and complex, for structured examples of Riesling and Shiraz
- Albany: an all-rounder, for Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc
- Denmark: refined, for premium sparkling wines
- Porongurup: pristine and pure, for Riesling
Want to know more about the Great Southern Wine Region?
Great Southern Wine Discovered is a comprehensive guide with an editable powerpoint presentation, images, maps and videos, this is a great resource whether you’re training your team, preparing for an event, researching, or continuing your personal wine education. Great Southern Wine Discovered is suitable for all levels, from beginner to advanced, and can be tailored to best suit your audience. Take a look at the Great Southern Wine Discovered Education Modules.