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Margaret River Wine Region 50th Anniversary celebrations: All you need to know

Make sure you’re equipped with all of the facts and information you need to join in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Margaret River Wine Region in 2017. Read on for all the details!

Margaret River Wine Region History, Facts & Figures

  • The first European settlement in the area was in the 1830’s
  • The region’s birth as a significant wine region took place during the 1960’s when Dr. John Gladstones, an agronomist with the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, identified the area around Margaret River and northwards as far as Yallingup and Vasse as sites for premium wine grape growing.
  • The region is now internationally recognised as a premium producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It also produces a signature style of wine with the blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • A relatively small producer of Australian wine, the region produces 3.5% of Australia’s wine, but a massive 20% of the premium wine that leaves this country.
  • The Margaret River Wine Region extends 27kms east-west, bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean, and 100 kilometres north-south between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.
  • Today there are over 215 wine producers ranging from niche growers producing 3.5 tonnes to the largest growers producing approximately 10,000 tonnes
  • There are currently around 40 wine-related tours available in the region.

About the 50th anniversary

  • 2017 is the celebration of Dr. Gladstones report, which triggered the 1967 planting of vines by cardiologist Dr. Tom Cullity at Vasse Felix
  • This report also led to the establishment of Moss Wood the following year in 1968, Cape Mentelle in 1970 and Cullen in 1971, hence the modern Margaret River wine industry was born
  • To celebrate this 50th anniversary milestone, a number of events will unfold during the course of the year:
    • The Margaret River Golden Jubilee Colossal Celebration on Friday 5 May
    • The Decade Tastings, Thursday 16th November
    • Margaret River Collaborative Cabernet Cuvee Gala Dinner and Auction on Saturday 18th November

About Vasse Felix

  • Vasse Felix was established in 1967 by Perth cardiologist Dr Tom Cullity.
  • The estate has been owned and operated by the Holmes à Court Family since 1987, current owner is Paul Holmes à Court.
  • Vasse Felix focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, its wines and the estate experience are recognised as leaders of their kind in the region, and within Australia.
  • All wines are grown with the estate’s four specialty vineyards which are located at premier sites throughout Margaret River
  • In 2017 a new icon wine from Vasse Felix, the TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec will be released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the estate.
  • The Vasse Felix estate offers numerous wine, culinary and historical tours and experiences in its Tasting Bar, Restaurant, Wine Lounge, Art Gallery and museum space The Vault.
  • The Vasse Felix Restaurant is one of Australia’s most awarded establishments – reviews include: Gourmet Traveller Top 100, Australian Financial Review Top 100, The Weekend Australian Hot 50 Restaurants

50th Anniversary events

  • The Margaret River Golden Jubilee Colossal Celebration, Friday 5 May, Vasse Felix
    • An event for all the wine producers of Margaret River and the local friends of our industry. This will be quite a large, festival-style tasting event and will run throughout the afternoon and into the evening. All guests are to bring an interesting bottle of wine made in Margaret River in the last 50 years – get creative. For Information – visit or view the invitation.

The Margaret River Wine Association is also working on a series of events throughout the 2017 Gourmet Escape program aimed at celebrating the 50th anniversary of the modern wine community in Margaret River.  These will provide opportunities for MRWA members to take part in the celebration and the great stories that will be shared, told and created over the coming year.

  • Margaret River ‘Fifty Years in the Making’ Tastings, Thursday 16th November, Vasse Felix Art Gallery
    • Masterclass styled tastings set in the iconic surroundings of the region’s founding winery, carefully curated to tell the unique story of the region and the key varietals. Wines spanning decades of wine production, covering both established pioneers and up and coming brands.  The most comprehensive review of Margaret River Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to date.
  • Margaret River Collaborative Cabernet Cuvee Gala Dinner and Auction, Saturday 18th November
    • This dinner event will be a fringe event of the 2017 Gourmet Escape, and includes the auction of the inaugural Margaret River Collaborative Cabernet Cuvee; a collaborative wine created by producers from across the region. The event also include an international auction of 10-14 lots of a blended barrel of 2017 Cabernet En Primeur. A five course degustation will be developed using five local chefs, each creating a course using local hero ingredients and matched to a contemporary selection of Margaret River designated wines from Langton’s Classification VI.

For more information on the Margaret River Wine Association’s activities and plans, please contact Amanda Whiteland, Marketing Director


Related events

  • Cabin Fever, 14-23 July 2017, various locations
    • The inaugural 10-day winter festival will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the region as the locals break out of hibernation to create a range of unique events featuring regional produce, award winning wine and beverages, live music, art and entertainment, all set in inspiring locations.
  • Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show, 30 October – 2 November 2017, venue tbc
    • A jury of local, national and international judges review around 750 Margaret River wines according to variety and/or blend and vintage and are compared against as like-for-like as possible.

If you are planning to hold any special 50th anniversary themed wine events in 2017, please get in touch with Jenny Lee or MRWA President Cath Oates.

Dedicated ‘Margaret River Wine story’ video content

  • The video assets for the Margaret River Wine Story will be released during March, April and November 2017, telling the story of the region’s wine in the words of some of its most inspiring wine personalities. All video content is available for sharing by third party publications by request. Content is currently under embargo, but please get in touch if you’d like to see a sneak preview and receive notifications when new content becomes available.

New wine experiences (less than 12 months old)

We anticipate and will be helping to drive an increased level of interest from media in covering our region’s wine experiences during 2017. We’ll be letting media know about any new wine-related products, so please get in touch if you’d like to be added to the new product list below.

  • Vasse Felix: New historical museum, The Vault, opened January 2017.
  • Passel Estate: This winery features a wildlife sanctuary and a contemporary tasting room where it is possible to taste the Passel Estate range alongside benchmark wines from renowned wine regions across Australia. The unique guided tasting showcases Margaret River’s stylistic differences.
  • The Flying Corkscrew: Travel by helicopter to one of the region’s award winning wineries to enjoy a six course degustation meal, with matching wine.
  • Fishbone Wines: A cellar door complete with a sushi bar. Freshly made sushi can be enjoyed in the relaxed surroundings of the onsite restaurant, or to take away in a bento box.
  • Tipsy Tours and Transfers: The region’s first wine tour based out of Augusta, located at the southern end of the region.
  • The Supper Club: A new dinner experience partnering with the region’s most sought after wineries, enabling them to ‘Open for Dinner’.
  • Amelia Park Wines: An exquisitely designed cellar door which welcomes visitors through the barrel room to a magnificent tasting room with sweeping views of the Wilyabrup valley.
  • Margaret River Bubbles: The region’s first tour specialising in showcasing the sparkling wines of the region.