Australia's largest state extends across the western third of the continent, although the winemaking regions are almost entirely situated in the cooler climate south-western tip of the state.
Western Australia produces less than 5% of the country's wine output, however in quality terms it is very much near the top.
The Great Southern Wine Region in Western Australia's South West is Australia's largest wine region a rectangle 200 kilometres from east to west and over 100 kilometers from north to south. It has five nominated subregions for wine, the Porongurups, Mount Barker, Albany, Denmark and Frankland River.
The vineyards spread throughout the area known for production of high quality vines have significant variations of terroir and climate dictated in part by the distance however the region is the coolest of Western Australia’s viticultural areas; with a similar maritime influenced Mediterranean climate to Margaret River although with slightly less rainfall. This diverse region is known for Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Malbec.
The international definition and recognition of this area as a distinct and unique wine growing area goes back to 1859, when original settler George Egerton-Warburton planted vines on his St Werburgh's property near Mount Barker and bottled his first vintage two years later.
However, the first real commercial foundations were laid in the late 1930's by horticulturalist Bill Jamieson. His extensive knowledge of the area's soils and climate was augmented by the research of Californian Professor Harold Olmo in 1955 during a government-sponsored trip to Western Australia.
Olmo spent eight months in Western Australia at the invitation of the Western Australian Vine Fruits Research Trust, whilst on leave from his post as Professor of Viticulture at the University of California.