It’s not well known outside of Western Australia, but no trip to Perth is complete without a Swan Valley wine tour. With several of the wineries accessible from the river, wine enthusiasts have a choice of transport- bus, boat or both. We chose the latter in a half day format, the so-called Afternoon Delights Tour from Swan Valley Tours. Just 30 minutes by road from Perth, it is a weekend playground for city folk.
First stop was the massive Mundoon Estate complex with its cavernous brewery, bustling casual and fine dining eateries, on-site accommodation, and expansive beer garden, in addition to the winery and cellar door. The tasting session was conducted on an industrial scale but well organised and informative. The standout wine was the verdelho– a varietal which is hard to find in South Australia. Normally quite a heavy, oily white which is best paired with food, this one was lighter and more quaffable. We did.
Next stop was Lancaster Wines, almost the exact opposite of Mundoon. The cellar door – what cellar? What door? Just a rustic lean-to structure and a fast food caravan- but immersed within a sea of vines. On a sunny day, which it was, this may be the most relaxing place in WA! The tasting experience was informal – just a shout to come and get each wine, and a help-yourself cheeseboard. Once again the verdelho was the outstanding bottle, so much so that we almost missed the port tasting round.
A stop at Margaret River Chocolate Company opposite brought some sweetness to the afternoon, while the adjacent Providore offered fine artisanal olive oils, relishes, chutneys, preserves, and more wine tasting.
The final part of the excursion was the return to Perth by boat on the Swan River- and yes, there are plenty of swans- black ones. We meandered slowly and progressively more sozzled along this majestic river. Arriving at Barrack St Jetty there’s always the opportunity to mix with the local wildlife at the Lucky Shag pub. It’s a bird. Apparently.
This post written pre-pandemic.