Winery Experiences Swings & Roundabouts Yallingup Credit Kelly Harwood

It used to be that only those in the know would venture south at this time of year, but word is getting out and wineries are responding with innovative new experiences, to fully immerse us in the glorious chill of winter.

There’s something special about the Margaret River Region over the winter months. Gazing out over a vineyard on a crisp misty morning is an idyllic view to accompany that first sip of your morning coffee, and bracing walks through the forest or along the coast really do recharge the batteries. Cabernet Sauvignon, the variety for which the region is famed, is also a natural partner to roaring fires and comforting meals.

Bring your gumboots and a hearty appetite, ready to revel in these warming winery experiences.

Marri Wood Park Winery Photo Credit Ryan Murphy
Relax with a cheese board next to the fire at Marri Wood Park. Image: Marri Wood Park

Marri Wood Park

Marri Wood Park is a boutique vineyard owned and run by father and daughter duo Julian and Natalie Wright. While their rustic cellar door has only been open a few years, Julian planted the vines back in 1992, and achieved organic and biodynamic certification in 2005 and 2007 respectively.

Back in July 2021, Julian and Natalie put on a vineyard tour especially for Cabin Fever Festival, and its success inspired them to start the tours on a permanent basis. And to our delight, Marri Wood’s much loved free biodynamic vineyard tours are back in winter.

Start with a vineyard walk with Julian & Lola the dog to learn about Marri Wood Park’s biodynamic farming and how their viticultural practices follow this philosophy. You’ll gain special access to the estate amongst the roaming guinea fowls, and perhaps best of all – kids & leashed friendly dogs are welcome to enjoy the beautiful surroundings too. Tours are running in the afternoons on the last Thursday of each month starting end of May, so stay tuned to @marriwoodpark on Instagram for updates (and be sure to book).

Meanwhile, back at cellar door, indulge in a cheese board and wine tasting by the fire. Natalie’s sourced beautiful woollen blankets made of recycled wool from Edinburgh, Scotland, sure to keep you warm and cosy. Outside the firepits are burning, and come summer you can borrow a picnic blanket to enjoy a takeaway bottle of wine on the lawn.

Love biodynamic wine? Visit Cullen Wines for a fireside tasting of their biodynamic wine followed by a self-guided tour of their biodynamic spiral garden. 


The Bettenay family have been perfecting a French nougat recipe, making it smooth and soft with plenty of southwest honey. And happily, they’ve paired nougat and a toasty fire, a match made in heaven if you ask us.

They light the firepit outside and take you through a tasting by the fire with a warm shawl on your shoulders if it’s cold. Next, taste the nougat and learn to toast it by the fire, finishing with a Nougaretto liqueur-infused hot chocolate. Children are very welcome, plied with nougat and alcohol-free hot chocolate.

Following a fireside chat, come back inside to see the nougat being made through the window.

Bookings are currently available throughout winter and early spring, and if the fireside tastings have finished for the season (fire bans prevent it running during warmer months) then try the Wine and Nougat pairing instead.

Bettenays also has accommodation with wood fires and generous windows, lovely for watching storms roll in over the vineyard and lake.

Loved this? Visit Gralyn Estate, the region’s first cellar door, where their fortified wines will warm you up.

Winery Experiences - Vasse Felix Wine Lounge
The Lounge at Vasse Felix is an ideal spot to while away the afternoon. Image: Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix Wines

There’s nothing quite like snuggling up by the fire, wine glass in hand, watching rain fall on the region’s first vines at Vasse Felix. Taste at the bar, browse Art Gallery exhibitions from the Janet Holmes à Court Collection, then pull up a chair in The Lounge for wine, cheese and charcuterie. Looking like something from a design magazine, the Lounge features a suspended fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass with superb views of vines, the winter creek and sculptures.

Also on offer are a range of behind-the-scenes tours, tutored tastings and delectable epicurean experiences. Upstairs, the restaurant blends modern features with original timber panelling and another roaring fireplace making it a supremely comfortable place to while away wintry afternoons indulging in modern Australian fare and fine wine.

Love the luxe surrounds? Also visit Howard Park for a superb cheese platter by the fireplace, in the cellar door that was architect-designed to ancient Feng Shui principles.

Cape Mentelle

Visit another pioneering producer of the Margaret River Region and delve into the history of Cape Mentelle and its fascinating facts of winemaking.

The fire is blazing all day long making the cellar door a warm and welcoming place to taste exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon with its deep crimson colour and dark berry character. Taste at the bar, or book ahead for a private seated tasting in the atmospheric Barrel Hall with crystal Riedel glasses and expert guidance from your cellar door host.

During summer months it’s a popular place to enjoy the outdoor cinema and become one with a beanbag, and come autumn and winter, it’s no less of a popular spot for their excellent behind-the-scenes Food & Wine Pairing Experience.

Experience all nooks and corners of the estate while you soak in expert knowledge of how wine is made from the process of crushing, fermentation, maceration, pressing and barrel ageing. A favourite part of the tour is feeling the chill of oak barrel aging Cape Mentelle wines in the barrel hall, to sitting down in the warmth and original vat cellar for food and wine – perfectly paired.

Glenarty Road Warming Winery Experience Credit Russell Ord
Visit Glenarty Road for a cosy winery experience. Image: Glenarty Road

Glenarty Road

The rustic restaurant and cellar door at Glenarty Road is framed with timber, tin and glorious big windows looking out to verdant vines. Twin fireplaces keep us warm in winter, and a glass or two of Karridale Syrah (Shiraz made in a softer cooler-climate style) certainly helps.

Perch at the bar for a simple tasting or sit back, learn and listen during a private tasting with farm snacks to graze on. Book ahead the sumptuous Graze or Farm Feast set course lunch, featuring their famous grass-fed meats cooked over coals on the wood-fired grill. Other popular experiences Glenarty are their farm tours, where you’ll walk amongst vines and macadamias, veggie gardens and hops, meeting farm dogs, lambs, chicken and ducks along the way.

Ben and Sasha McDonald are the “lucky custodians” of 240 acres of fertile soil in Karridale, a patch of land that has been in the family for five generations. They grow 10 varieties of grapes, raise sheep, cattle and pigs, and harvest seasonal veggie patches which produce around 40% of their kitchen needs.

Sustainability informs everything they do, from using sheep and guinea fowl as organic pest control and soil enrichers, to a minimal intervention winemaking style and paddock-to-plate ethos.

Skigh Wines

A love of music is the thread running through Skigh Wines. Winemaker Skigh McManus’ band used to rehearse in a rustic Yallingup barn, and for years he thought “this would make a great cellar door space”.

After five years making “lo-fi” lower-alcohol wines, they opened Skigh Wines cellar door on Abbeys Farm Road in 2020. It’s a warm, timber-lined barn with comfy furniture and a roaring fire in winter, and Skigh wants you to “have a really good time, not just sample 30 ml of wine.”

Live music is a drawcard, especially on long weekends, where touring or local artists play acoustic sets and DJ Mandy B runs Reset concerts a couple of times a year.

Down the road you’ll also find Goon Tycoons and Marri Wood Park, two more splendid options to let the good times roll into the late afternoon.

Swings & Roundabouts Winery Experience Credit Kelly Harwood
The cellar door at Swings & Roundabouts is welcoming all year round. Image: Swings & Roundabouts.

Swings & Roundabouts

While Swings & Roundabouts is a dreamy spot to while away a summer afternoon, massive open fireplaces and an outdoor firepit makes it just as appealing as a winter winery experience. “We wanted a venue that was welcoming year-round, and to focus on looking after customers in winter,” says marketing manager Amanda Keady of their 2019 renovation.

Inspired by English style bars and reminiscent of ski chalets lined with wood, Swings & Roundabouts Yallingup features two floor-to-ceiling chimneys and open fireplaces in the wine tasting room, and a cosy fireplace flanked by Chesterfield-style armchairs. Outside, a generous firepit is beautifully landscaped and overlooks the adventure playground.

“Our brand is all about creating memorable experiences, and our premium label Backyard Stories tells a tale of the typical Aussie lifestyle – playing footy, surfing, backyard barbecues. We’ve created an environment where guests can sit around the fire and make memories.”

Love this? Visit Swings & Roundabouts Margaret River for a wood fired pizza.

Winery Experience Howard Park Credit Tim Campbell Photo

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