Sneak Peek Margaret River


Our team rolled through the green hills surrounding the town, river and region of Margaret River. Few outside Perth have heard of Margaret River but, if you have, you know we are talking about a hidden gem. We are in the far southwest of Australia, where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. We are between two capes: Cape Naturaliste to the north and Cape Leeuwin to the south. We are not talking about just any corner or nook. The University of Western Australia and the University of California at Davis, no less, recognized this area for its similarities in climate and geography to the Bordeaux region of France. And thus a first vineyard was planted, Vasse Felix, in 1967, 20 kilometers or so north of the town of Margaret River. Fifty years on, the Margaret River area produces a low 3% of Australia’s wine, but a rather high 20% of the country’s premium wine …



Margaret River is a magical place. We’ve talked about it as a producer of premium wine but there is more. Locals excel at making cheeses and breads that could easily rival the French. And they produce beef, porkeggs&poultry . They slow grow fruits and vegetables. How is that for a paradise? But there is more still: some import the finest cacao beans to hand craft chocolate. Micro roasters import the best coffee beans from around the world and turn them into premium coffees that pours locally and in and around Perth. The area is remarkably forested with fine woods such as the mighty eucalyptus, marri woods and jarrah woods to name but a few. And then there are the waves. They too attract la crème de la crème when it comes to surfers, and surfing competition. It is no wonder that the area attracted many who desired to self sustain back in the sixties … But let’s go back to wine.





The Little Big Wines is all about showcasing the families that celebrate every day of life -cursing allowed- in boots, pruning scissors in one hand, wine hydrometer in the other. In Australia, wineries are sized according to how much they crush a year. The largest Margaret River wineries crush around 7000 tons a year. Wineries crushing less than 200 tons a year are considered small.





And so our journey begins with Karen and Rob.

Rob, originally a professional photographer, and Karen, an ex (and still) marketing executive set about looking for a change in their professional life, something halfway between hobby and work, a good transition before retirement. Through luck and determination they snapped at an opportunity and bought fifteen acres of prime property; property originally slated to join Vasse Felix but for a number of reasons still on the market. It ended up as Karen and Rob’s property. In 1997, they planted their first grapes, and learned to tend their vineyard and make wine … as you do. As anyone would do? Not exactly. I for one, would not know where to start. They had some knowledge, learned on the job, and are still learning. Their first and biggest ally is their sheer determination and love for being out there and making the best they can every single day of their lives. Second ally is their network of people like them, passionate and generous. They help one another, learn from one another, support each other. They keep things going in the right direction. Karen and Rob won their first award in 2000. They won our heart with their cabernet sauvignon. In a good year, they crush 35 tons producing around 10,000 bottles, all sold at the cellar door and few selected restaurants.