Raise glass to star wineries

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times
Whicher Ridge Wines owner and winemaker Cathy Howard with wine dog, Polly.
Camera IconWhicher Ridge Wines owner and winemaker Cathy Howard with wine dog, Polly.

Two of the region’s wineries are toasting their success after being named star wineries in the 2019 Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s Best Cellar Door Awards.

For artisan wine producers Cathy and Neil Howard, of Whicher Ridge Wines, it was acknowledgement they were on the right path.

“It’s a benchmark — all cellar doors around Australia would have been assessed,” Ms Howard said. “We are a very small winery, and do very small batches, so it is a huge honour and recognition that we are doing the right thing.” Whicher Ridge Wines won the award for the Geographe wine region, which encompasses Busselton, Harvey, Donnybrook and the Ferguson Valley.

Ms Howard said she believed their wine sensory garden, which educates visitors on food and wine pairing, and their intimate cellar door experience, made them stand out to the judges.

“Here, if someone does a wine tasting they do it with me, the winemaker, and that’s the approach we wanted to take,” she said.

“We want to not only make our wine, but plant the vines ourselves, sell our wine and share our knowledge of wines and offer that more personal tasting experience, so visitors can learn from the people who grew it and made it.”

For Wilyabrup’s Amelia Park Wines, it is the third year in a row they have earned the star winery title for the Margaret River region.

Nevertheless, the acknowledgement was still thrilling for co-owners Jeremy and Daniela Gordon.

“This award means so much to us; it is an honour to be recognised in such a positive way for the experience we create for our visitors to enjoy our wines,” Ms Gordon said.

Ms Gordon said the team at Amelia Park Wines aimed to create a unique experience for its visitors.

“Our cellar door is a nod to what goes into creating our award-winning wines,” she said.

“From our beautiful location amongst the vines, to our barrel- room experience through to our dramatic tasting room with views across the Wilyabrup Valley.

“We have the most wonderful staff who make a visit to our cellar door a special occasion for everyone, every day — we could not do it without them.”

The full list of South West winners can be found at gourmettravellerwine.com.

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