In the early 60’s, three family’s who had homesteaded down around Margaret River wanted to try their hand at wine making. It was these three families who asked the government to do a survey for the land to see if they would have any luck. The scientist was named Gladstone, and after conducting soil and weather experiments, he pronounced that this region of Australia was strikingly similar to the Bordeaux region in France, due in large part to its proximity to the Indian Ocean. From this he drew the Gladstone line, a line that goes 27 miles inland from the coast on this thick fat peninsula that holds Augusta, Margaret River and Busselton. It’s a small region: 27k wide and 90 to a hundred km long depending on the coastline. Despite its size, it produces 3% of the country’s wine, a fair bit for a small area, however, most remarkable is that it produces 25% of the country’s premium wines.
I toured with five couples between their twenty’s and seventy’s and almost every decade in between. The soundtrack in our bus was the oldies, mostly U.S. pop, but some Aussie songs thrown in for good measure. Hour after unrushed hour we were leisurely bussed around, trying up to seven wines at three (or four) wineries, a brew at a brewery and a visit to a cheese and chocolate factory. Lunch was cold meats, some of which were bush turkey and corned kangaroo. All very good, and the witchetty grub that was made into a sauce didn’t really shock me. It was somewhat crunchy. At 5 p.m. and starting to get a headache from the booze and the sun, I rode another 11km to my campsite. Good vibe, but kinda hippy – somewhat different from the wine tasting.