Review: Enjoy a delicious day out on a Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth inner banner

Review: Enjoy a delicious day out on a Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth

The Swan Valley is just a 25-minute drive from Perth's CBD, but it feels like a different world. The picturesque region flows with fine wine, craft beer and gourmet treats, and this fabulous small group tour will ensure you get a taste of everything.
Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth. Image: Jennifer Morton
Review: Swan Valley Wine and Food Tour from Perth

The Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine region.

In 1829 the Swan Valley Colony was established, and so began European settlement of the area. The early pioneers soon worked out that the fertile soil and dry hot climate were perfect for viticulture. Thomas Waters planted the valley’s first vines, and we can thank him from the bottom of our hearts for the beginning of a fine wine industry. Today I get to explore the region and sample its many gourmet spoils on a Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth with d’Vine Wine Tours.

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As I huddle under the eaves of Perth railway station on Wellington Street to escape a downpour, I keep watch for d’Vine Wine Tours’ mini bus. I’m early for the 10.05am pick-up time and hope I’m in the right pick-up spot. Just as I’m about to check, a bus pulls up and I see three people make a mad dash from the street-side bus shelter. My people. Breana, our tour guide, opens the sliding door and welcomes us on board. This Swan Valley tour operator believes in good wine, delicious food and fun times, so I know I’m in for a great day.

I’m one of four travellers: an American girl, a Kiwi/American couple currently living on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and me — Canadian expat and travel writer. As Breana navigates her way through the busy traffic, we all get to know each other. Before we know it, the roads are dry, the sky is a little brighter and Breana is pulling up at our first stop — Fig Tree Estate Winery.

Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth: Fig Tree Estate. Image: Jennifer Morton

After a sniffy welcome from the resident dogs, we all pile into Fig Tree’s small but elegant cellar door. Waiting for us is a share plate with nuts, cheese, crackers, olives and fruit — and four wine glasses. So it begins.

Our first tasting is a sparkling Chenin Blanc and everyone agrees it’s a winner. Next we try the boutique winery’s tasty apple cider — so popular it’s hard to keep in stock. We zoom through seven more wines as Breana schools us in the art of wine-tasting, and we finish up with a 110-year-old thick and syrupy fortified wine (a speciality of the region).

Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Mandoon Estate. Image: Jennifer Morton

We’re all a little ‘looser’ as we head to Mandoon Estate. On the way, Breana describes this stop as ‘boutique style in a large premise’ and as we pull up, we understand why. The imposing modern complex is set back from the road with rows of vines as a buffer. There’s a larger than life feel here but as we step inside, its apparent that the hype is well-deserved. The cellar door is manned by several staff members flitting between groups of wine lovers. This is the region’s most award-winning winery. We sample their wares (yum, btw) from vines that date back 122 years, before heading across the corridor to the Homestead Brewery for lunch of pizza, salad and beer-battered chips. If the tour ended right here and now, I’d be well satisfied. However, there’s much more Swan Valley goodness to be had, so off we go.

Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Enjoy lunch at the Homestead Brewery. Image: Jennifer Morton

As we meander through the Valley, we pass grape-heavy vines, free-ranging chooks and countless providores open for business. We stop at Lancaster Wines — another venerable Valley vineyard with some of the region’s oldest vines. I love the tin-roofed shed-style cellar door plonked right by the vines. There’s a rustic look and vibe here, and it feels like a place for lingering. The Rosé, with its strawberry and cream tones, is one of my favourites, but the Sticky Shiraz wins the most hearts.

Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth: Elmar’s In the Valley. Image: Jennifer Morton

That wraps up the wine tasting part of the tour, and we move on to eating bonbons at the Margaret River Chocolate Company and sampling EVOO and chocolate liqueur at Providore — the gurus of gourmet foodstuffs. As a big fan of beer, I’m excited when we pull up at Elmar’s In the Valley (soon to relaunch as Valley Social) — a German-styled restaurant and microbrewery, which has the largest glass brewing kettle in the southern hemisphere. I choose to sample the mild, 4.3-percent Kolsch (the ideal session beer). It’s refreshing and easy to drink.

Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth
Swan Valley wine and food tour from Perth. Image: Jennifer Morton

The tour ends at Maison Saint Honoré — a French-style patisserie famous for its macarons. I love colour and these French cookies come in a rainbow of vivid shades. They’re beautiful to look at, and pretty impressive to eat as well. It’s a sweet way to finish our day in the Valley.

For me, this experience ticks all the boxes: wine, cheese, pizza, beer, olive oil, chocolate, pastries, time for shopping, and no driving! It’s the perfect day out.

The writer travelled as a guest of d’Vine Wine Tours.

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Cover image: Tourism Western Australia

Jennifer Morton

About the writer

Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. She also spent six months working on a cruise ship in Europe. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book, or zooming in on a beautiful scene.

 

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