One of the things Western Australia is famous for is its wine, with vineyards dotted around everywhere you can see why. We reached Margaret River and decided to try out a ‘Wine Tour’ where you book out a bus and they take you to different wineries to sample what they offer.
We were staying out on the coast at Surf point hostel, and its one I would highly recommend to anyone going down to Margaret River who doesn’t want to spend all their money on a hotel which can set you back from around $180 a night upwards. Surf point was right on the beach, driving distance from town, private rooms and private bathrooms with great kitchen facilities and lovely staff all for $54 a night!! After travelling around Europe and Asia one of the things I have learned is that as long as you have a clean bed and shower it doesn’t matter if you are staying in a 5 star hotel as you are only sleeping there! We had a few ciders with dinner that night as well as a bottle of wine… which I don’t think we would have done if we knew just quite how much drink we would have the following day!!
There are loads of different wine tour companies you can use and having a look at the brochures we settled on the ‘Margie’s Big Day out Tour’. All the tours are roughly the same price and at $90 a head it does sound expensive to most people however you definitely get your money’s worth!! The mini bus picked us up at 11.30am and drove a few kilometers to our first winery. The four of us piled into the first winery along with another couple and explained how to taste the wine, we were also told that we didn’t have to drink it and couple spit it out into the bucket…. but that seemed a bit of a waste to us!! The woman was slightly too generous with her samples and after having 6 wines, a mulled wine and a port all in wine glasses filled half full I was beginning to doubt whether I would last the whole day…. it wasn’t even midday and I already felt tipsy!!!
The next stop was a cheese tasting… which was amazing (didn’t realise how good some cheese was!!) We got to stuff our faces with around 7 different samples from cheddar, Swiss, sweet chilli and others that I can’t remember (probably due to the wine!) Everywhere you went you had to option to buy the things you had tasted and we decided to get some of the sweet chilli cheese! Was too good to leave behind!
We moved on to another winery who at least this time gave us proper sample sizes!! We tried another 6 wines, a sparkling wine and another port; they might only be samples however it is enough to keep you on the tipsy side!!
By this time it was the afternoon and we moved onto the lunch spot… a brewery! Lunch was incredible (and all included in the tour price) with a huge platter of the regions delicacy’s such as duck pâté, beer battered chips, smoked ham, crackers, cheese and bread… again there was more however my memory is slightly fuzzy!! With lunch we also received more tastings…. this time 3 jugs of beer and one jug of cider! How we were not all drunk by this point I do not know!!! The lunch stop was beautiful as the gardens of the brewery were lovely! We stayed for around half an hour which was long enough to try and digest the feast as well as get some sun before moving onto the next stop…. the chocolate factory!!!
We had been to a similar one in the Swan Valley so we know what the score was. The factory is like a massive chocolate shop with every form of chocolate you can imagine, at the back is a cafe with a window looking onto the factory where you can watch the chocolate being made and at the front is the tasting bowls…. 3 bowls filled to the brim with white, dark and milk chocolate buttons. The big lunch maybe put a slight stop to gorging ourselves on chocolate however we did get our money’s worth all the same from the free chocolate… especially dad who managed the perfect ploy of pretending to look at the maps beside the free samples while acting cool and collected while filling up on all the chocolate he could fit in his hands!!
We moved on yet again to another stop… this time a liquor stop! We got in and were told that the last group was still finishing up so they would do a port tasting with us while we were waiting. We got to taste white port, normal port and chocolate port… all very nice however even I was starting to feel a bit too full of booze!! When the (slightly mental) bartender had finished with the group in front we went over and it was explained that he came up with all the liquor himself…. lovely guy just definite screw loose! We started on raspberry liquor, followed by a macadamia, coconut and cream concoction, followed by a strawberry cheesecake liquor and then to finish lemon cello. All very nice and very sweet but all a bit much as it was around 4pm and we had now been drinking for 5 hours.
We counted it all up and the final tally was….
1 mulled wine
1 Sparkling wine
3 jugs of beer
1 jug of cider
3 chocolate’s (although quite a bit of them! P)
We assumed that this was the last stop of the tour… but no there was still one more brewery left!! As a collective decision we all decided to pass and instead our lovely driver drove us back to the hostel. So with that the wine tour was over and as you can imagine you can see why we maybe shouldn’t have drank the night before!! However saying that the wine tour is a must if you get the chance, the day was great fun and there were lots of laughs and giggles!