Wine lovers rejoice - a new festival paying homage to the Margaret River wine region has been announced for spring.
The Fine Vines Festival will take place between Friday October 15 and Sunday October 24 and will celebrate the people, passion and places of the local wine industry over a series of more than 35 events.
The festival will allow visitors to get up close and personal with the region's growers, winemakers and venues, including exclusive behind-the-scenes visits to vineyards that aren't usually open to public, wine degustations such as the Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay Dinner and Leeuwin Estate Art Series Lunch, In Conversation sessions with key sommeliers and wine producers, and museum and vertical tastings of some of the region's most iconic wines.
Festival Director Erin Molloy from AHOY Management said Fine Vines is a unique offering of events dedicated to showcasing the quality and depth of the Margaret River wine region.
"For the aficionados and the occasional drinkers alike, the festival invites people to discover new aspects of our wine region through tastings and tours, masterclasses, dinners and exclusive museum wines," Ms Molloy said.
Margaret River Wine Association CEO Amanda Whiteland said the region's vineyards come alive in October.
"Margaret River is without question one of the world's greatest wine regions, and the idea behind the Fine Vines Festival was to celebrate this special time of year in the vineyards and the world-class wines produced here through a series of unique wine experiences," she said.
"October is such a special time of year to visit the Margaret River wine region. It is Kambarang, or second Spring in the Noongar six season calendar, with wildflowers abound. It's also when we expect to see a lot of new release wines."
The full program and tickets will go on sale in late June.
Key events include:
Icon Chardonnay Dinner at Vasse Felix - Join Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock on an exploration of the power, concentration of flavour and fresh acidity that define great Margaret River Chardonnay, with a focus on cult Icon, the Heytesbury Chardonnay. Over a six course menu, discover the nuances of site selection and winemaking techniques which create the subtle, hallmark wild characters that distinguish the Vasse Felix style. Featuring a wine focussed menu paired to selections from the Vasse Felix Chardonnay collection, including museum vintages of Heytesbury Chardonnay.
The Art of Fine Wine at Leeuwin Estate - Discover the story behind Leeuwin Estate's acclaimed Art Series Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in a two-hour, winemaker-led masterclass set against the backdrop of the Leeuwin Art Gallery. Experience the wines' renowned age-worthiness across 15 current and museum release Art Series tastings, connecting the emotion of wine expression to the contemporary Australian art works that adorn both the labels and the gallery walls. A three-course lunch finds its match in accompanying museum release Art Series wines after the masterclass.
Pet Nat Party at Bungalow Social - Dunsborough's Bungalow Social is giving up its back deck to celebrate Margaret River Region Pétillant Natural, giving the oldest of sparkling winemaking methods a contemporary reboot. Some of the region's favourite Pet Nats will be poured alongside a selection of fried chicken snacks running the gamut from tacos to wings. Relax with friends and raise your complimentary glass of Pet Nat to the DJ's smooth beats.
In Praise of Pink at Flametree - Margaret River region rosé is the star at Flametree winery's collaborative tasting event. This increasingly popular wine style is getting its time in the spotlight at a rosé tribute where fine wines meet floral fashions at Flametree. Don your best Spring ensemble and take to the "pink" carpet to celebrate the sparking, dry and sweet rosé styles from Margaret River's wineries. Learn about rosé from local winemakers against a styled backdrop with live music at an event that pays homage to this elegant and youthful varietal.
Sparkling Sundowner at Howard Park Wines - Oysters, sparkling wine and the golden glow of last light. The romance of sparkling wine finds expression at Howard Park Wines this International Champagne Day. Guests will enjoy a glass of Petit Jeté on arrival, and an ensuing experience of winemaking excellence that allows soiree attendees to choose their own class of bubbles - including French Champagne from the winery's Burch Family Wines' arm. A taste of elegance and Méthode Traditionelle in the heart of the Margaret River Region.
Around the World in a Wine Glass at Rustico, Hayshed Hill -An experience of the world beyond the South West wine region means an evening of winemaker Michael Kerrigan's World Series wines matched to a six-course meal by Rustico at Hay Shed Hill. A transformative taste to fuel unrequited wanderlust. Western Australia's own jazz supremo Jessie Gordon will set the tone for a dinner designed to transport you afar.
Wine on the Water with Clairault Striecker - Step aboard a 20-metre catamaran from the Quindalup Boat Ramp and join the team from Clairault Streicker on a sunset canape cruise in search of whales as they begin their migration season along the Cape Leeuwin Naturaliste ridge. Canapés suited to the seas will be served alongside Clairault wines in a guided tasting. A definitive Margaret River Region experience that showcases the wild beauty of a landscape producing some of the world's best wines.
Syrahcentric at Domaine Naturaliste - Lovers of Syrah and Shiraz can dive deep into the similarities and differences of those two wine styles with trophy-winning winemaker Bruce Dukes at Domaine Naturaliste. Take a tasted tour of the Rhone Valley, South Australia and return to Margaret River via six wines showcasing classic examples of the two styles, accompanied by a selection of charcuterie.
Spring Garden Party at Voyager Estate -Experience Voyager beyond the dining room with a four-stop progressive food and wine tasting through the Estate's famed Cape Dutch-style gardens. The new release of Project Pet Nat will combine with crowd favourites of sparkling Chenin Blanc and the winery's acclaimed Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon styles, matched to head chef Santiago's beautifully executed bites. Learn from chefs and winemakers on hand, and finish the afternoon alfresco with DJ sets and a marron bun or gourmet hot dog from the grill.
For more information and to stay up to date on tickets and news, visit www.finevinesfestival.com.au