© Swinney Vineyards, Frankland River, WA
© Swinney Vineyards, Frankland River, WA

The Great Southern wine region is vast and diverse and provides an ideal environment for creating distinctive regional wines. The region was instrumental in the establishment of modern winemaking in Western Australia in the 1960s.
 
The regional climate ranges from the coastal, maritime subregions of Albany and Denmark to the inland, continental subregions of Mount Barker, Porongurup and Frankland River.

The country is dominated by the magnificent stands of the veteran hardwoods of the region – karri, marri, jarrah and other eucalypts. 

35° 02'S
Latitude
75m
Altitude
303mm
Growing season rainfall

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon thrives across the region, producing long-lived wines of deep colour, intense flavour and powerful structure. They have classic Cabernet sensibilities with an austerity of flavours which reward patience. 

Chardonnay

Elegant, tightly structured, grapefruit-accented Chardonnay which ages well is produced in the region. Wines of the south can be a little finer and softer while those of the north are slightly more powerful.

Pinot Noir

Until recently Pinot Noir was regarded as the preserve of the southern area around Denmark and Albany, but some exciting wines have appeared from Mount Barker in slightly cooler years. 

Riesling

Riesling vies with Cabernet Sauvignon as the most important wine from the region. The wines age superbly, seldom reaching the peak of their development in less than ten years. As well as being crisp and lean in youth, the wines still have intense flavour, typically in the citrus spectrum with an underlay of herbs. 

Shiraz

High quality Shiraz is produced in this region. Great Southern Shiraz exhibits a compelling combination of liquorice, spice, pepper, black cherry and plum. Many producers use well-balanced oak treatment, allowing the fruit quality to fully express itself.

Top varieties grown in Great Southern
Climate
  • As one moves north and inland from the strongly maritime-influenced climate of Denmark, the Continental influence and temperature variability increase significantly. Elevation, aspect and sites vary widely, but in general terms the climate of these northern areas is slightly warmer on the higher sites. 
  • Though rainfall is greater and relative humidity increases in the south around Denmark, heat summation and sunshine hours do not change greatly, so careful site selection allows the production of virtually every wine style.
Soil
  • The predominant soils are similar to those of the Margaret River region - either lateritic gravelly sandy loams (marri country) or sandy loams deriving directly from granite and gneissic bedrocks. 
  • They are typically brown to grey-brown in colour, with the percentage of clay varying from one location to another. Fertility is moderate, as are typical yields.