Vintage Cellars

A Winemaker’s Guide To Exploring The Margaret River Like A Local

As far as winemaking goes,  Margaret River is a go-to for producing serious quality. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, the area is blessed with unique soil and a relatively stable climate — a winemaker’s dream. 

We are so lucky here in the far-flung southwest corner,” Glenn Goodall, senior winemaker at renowned Margaret River winery, Xanadu, tells us. “It is such a pristine part of the country … Our geography, soils and Mediterranean climate combine to create ideal grape-growing conditions, along with consistent winter rainfalls, cool sea breezes that give vibrancy to the fruit and a long, dry ripening season.”

He jokes that the region is known as “Australia’s winegrowing overachiever”. And, having just taken home Best Bolder White $25 & Over at the 2024 Best of Wine Awards for its Chardonnay, it’s safe to say Goodall and his team at Xanadu know a thing or two harnessing everything the Margaret River has to offer. 

Xanadu’s uniqueness lies in the way we integrate this special place with detailed viticultural practices, our sustainability ethos, and a focus on varietals that thrive in this exceptional wine region,’ Goodall says. 

“I suppose I’ve been lucky enough to be chief winemaker for nearly 20 years, and our connection with this beautiful place, and the growers we’re fortunate enough to work with, remains a major influence on the uniqueness of Xanadu’s wines.” 

Who better then, to tap for the inside scoop on exploring the region like a local? Here, Goodall gives us his hot tips on where to eat, drink, and play when in the area. No tourist traps to be found. 

Margaret River might not be considered a hidden gem — it’s known for its beauty! Where in the region is your best kept secret for…


… A top-notch coffee?

Try the Hairy Marron café, nestled in the bush down by the Margaret River.

 The perfect cheese to accompany Xanadu Chardonnay?

Grab a chunk of Manchego, a crusty loaf of bread – pair it with your chilled bottle (not too chilled!) of Chardonnay and you will be in your happy place.

… A date night?

Too many to choose from! Try Miki S Open Kitchen for the best tempura south of Tokyo . . .  and if you’re having a lunch date then there’s no better place than eating at the Xanadu Restaurant. The menu is tailored to the wines, so when it comes to food pairing with some of our finest sips, this is the place. Wedge Island octopus and Chardonnay – yes! Perfect grass-fed beef with Cabernet Sauvignon – yes! It’s open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch.  

… A pub session?

You really can’t go past Settlers Tavern (‘The Tav’) in the centre of town. It’s known for its great food, live music, and being in a premium wine producing region, a killer, award-winning wine list. The team there are always happy to help you out with your wine selection with plenty of great local drops to choose from, as well as their extensive wine list they call ‘the bible’! If you want to go off the beaten track, try Pies and Ale in Boranup Forest or the Beer Farm for some awesome local brews and a very relaxed vibe.

If you could bring people to Margaret River for one thing and one thing only, what would it be?

Our coastline. Whether it’s an early morning swim or surf, getting a feed of abalone or just watching the swell pulse through when it’s big, the ocean is a fundamental part of the rhythm of Margaret River.

What about the Margaret River region inspires you and the wines you create?

The clarity and pristine nature of our region — its rugged, windswept coastline and powerful surf . . . I guess it’s this purity and energy of the region that’s inspirational. I’d like to think this translates through into our wines.

You’re planning a Margaret River road trip. Where are your must-stop spots for:

… A killer view

The clifftops overlooking Contos beach are spectacular, but even the view from Surfers Point (Mainbreak) is hard to beat!

A beautiful hike

The Cape to Cape Track runs all the way from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin (over 100km,) and takes in some breathtaking scenery along the way. The whole track is maintained by volunteers (including Team Xanadu!).

To pick up some edible goodies

You can’t go past a visit to Blue Ginger (who also have great coffee!), only about five minutes away from Xanadu. Great selection of amazing cheeses and all sorts of other deliciousness.

To buy a gift

There are so many local galleries and potteries to find something uniquely Margaret River.

One thing people can’t leave Margaret River without doing is…

Watch the sun go down over the Indian ocean with a glass of Margaret River Chardonnay

And finally, your Chardonnay picked up the Best Bolder White $30 & Over at the Best of Wine awards – reckon it’s to do with your region?

We’re fortunate enough to have some of Margaret River’s most sought-after Chardonnay vineyards, offering Margaret River’s classic signature characteristics. Predominantly estate grown, the Xanadu Chardonnay is a lovely reflection of the vineyard and often praised for its elegance, vibrant acidity, and a beautiful balance of citrus and stone fruit flavours. The intensity of our heritage Gingin clone chardonnay shines through with the latent power that top Margaret River Chardonnays are known for. We were also the first winery in Western Australia to use the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) Trustmark, highlighting our commitment to sustainable practices.