Pemberton Wine Region Association: www.pembertonrwineregion.com.au
Pemberon, along with its neighbour Manjimup, is one of the new cool climate wine regions that is opening up in the south-western corner of the state.
Pemberton, is centred on the town with the same name in an area mainly covered with karri forest. This was another area identified in Dr. Gladstone’s 1963 study of south western Australia as prime wine-growing land. However, its remoteness, on the south-western coast between the Margaret River and the Great Western meant that trial vineyards were not established until 1977, with initial commercial vineyards starting in the 1980s.
While the annual rainfall is quite high, most of it falls in the winter, which leads to some summer irrigation. The largest and most well known local winery is Salitage although Gloucester Ridge, the region’s oldest commercial winery, is finally beginning to break into the eastern state bottle shops.
Chardonnay is the most commonly grown variety and successful here followed cold climate Shirazes and Cabernet Sauvignons. It is still early days yet in finding the best spots for the more fickle Pinot Noir and Merlot but there is some promise. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are also here both as stand alones and the ubiquitous WA blends. Another WA mainstay Verdelho is grown at several wineries. Lillian winery is experimenting with some of the Rhone varieties (Marsanne, Mourvedre, Viognier and Rousanne).
Bellarmine Estate, with its German-based owners has been having success with its range of Rieslings, particularly with its Auslesse-style. Most significant for the profile of the region was the decision of Margaret River pioneers, Bill and Sandra Pannell to leave Moss Wood and establish their outstanding new Picardy winery here that is realising the potential for world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from this region.