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As the Western Australian Labour Day long weekend quickly approaches, it’s the perfect time for a getaway to experience greatness in the Great Southern Wine Region.

The Great Southern Wine Region is the largest mainland wine region in Australia, divided up into five sub-regions, namely, Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup, each with its unique climate and soils that produce distinctive fine wines.

Besides over 50 wine producers, 35 cellar doors and 10 winery restaurants, there are five great events for visitors to experience over the long weekend.

Porongurup Festival

The Porongurup Festival celebrates the distinctive fine cool-climate wines produced in the sub-region, which is especially known for its riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir. Shiraz, cabernet, sauvignon blanc are also produced with success and all can be enjoyed alongside plenty of festivities and activities for the whole family including the signature and hotly contested ‘grape stomp’.

What makes Porongurup wines so good is a special climatic feature known as a nocturnal thermal zone that’s created by warm air rising above the denser cold air sliding down the hillsides and settling on the valley floor. This ‘air drainage’ produces ideal conditions for ripening and reduces the risk of frosts.

You can learn about that and more in wine masterclasses with Rob Diletti, winemaker and owner of Castle Rock. There’s cooking demonstrations with local chef Geoff Richardson and entertainment for the little ones including the much-loved wine barrel train, bouncy castle, face painting, clowns and cupcake decorating competition. From pomegranates to pickling, music to musings, there are plenty of activities for foodies and wine lovers alike.

Shuttle bus transport from Albany, Denmark and Mount Barker is available to and from the Porongurup Village. The Porongurup Festival will be held on 1st March from 11am to 5pm in Karridale. Visit www.porongurup.com for more.

Days of Summer

At Castelli Estate in Denmark, the Days of Summer music festival will be held on Saturday 29th February featuring Jebediah, British India, Gyroscope, Body Jar and Dallas Crane.

Castelli Estate owner Adam Castelli said that for the past twelve years the Days of Summer concert has attracted families, young people and the young at heart.

“We love hosting these concerts because we involve the community. We tend to host these events during the holiday periods which offers Denmark locals and tourists a unique outdoor experience whilst enjoying an intimate environment,” Adam Castelli said.

Held on the lawns of Castelli Estate timed for the sunset, the concert is expected to again attract a capacity crowd of 2,500. Visit www.castelliestate.com for more details.

Graze Mount Barker

If lingering over a platter of food and sipping great wine sounds like your idea of paradise, set your own pace at Graze Mount Barker. Purchase tickets to one or all of five participating wineries for a platter of fresh local produce perfectly paired with award-winning wines.

Immerse yourself and satisfy your senses with delights such as a chicken and cheese strudel matched with chardonnay, Mount Barker chicken pate with shiraz, strawberry meringue tart with bubbly rosè, plus more at either Galafrey Wines, Gilberts Winery, Plantagenet Wines, West Cape Howe Wines and Windrush Wines. Meet the owners and growers as you graze your way through a delicious long weekend. Visit http://www.mountbarkerwine.com.au/events.html for more.

A Sense of Place

For those looking for a wine tasting with a difference, book in to an exclusive ‘A Sense of Place’ tours at Singlefile Wines in Denmark. At the award-winning cellar door, guests will be greeted with a glass of sparkling then led on a tour of the grounds and estate vineyard before tasting selected current vintage varietals and back vintages from the museum in the private tasting room, as well as a special barrel tasting.

It’s a true behind-the-scenes insight into Singlefile’s history, vineyard and people that showcases the best of the Great Southern wine region. Bookings are essential, visit https://www.singlefilewines.com/Private-Tastings for more.

Markets

There is also the Albany Farmers Markets and the Boat Shed Markets held on the weekend, the perfect place to pick up accompaniments to enjoy with Great Southern wine such as freshly harvested produce, artisan cheeses, breads, condiments, chocolates and more.

The Great Southern Wine Region produces about 12,000 tonnes of grapes per annum that benefit from the cool climate viticulture in a clean and green environment, which in turn makes distinctive fine wines. Take the opportunity to explore the Great Southern Wine Region and discover greatness for yourself.

The new Great Southern Wine website is a perfect hub of information, please visit www.greatsouthernwine.org.au.

Image credits: Vicki Lyn Photography, Shelley Sypko, Burch Family Wines.