Little gems: Geographe

By Halliday Promotion

22 Apr, 2024

The Geographe wine region is just a two-hour drive from Perth. We spoke to the winemakers at bakkheia, Harvey River Estate, and Willow Bridge Estate about their key wines to try and what makes their region so special.

Geographe Wine Region

The Western Australian wine region of Geographe spans Harvey, the Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook and Busselton. Just a two-hour drive from Perth, once in the bustling region you'll find boutique cellar doors that are proudly family owned and operated, gourmet food experiences and vibrant wines.

The region has a Mediterranean climate, with the hot weather moderated by the ocean breeze. The influence of the coast and valleys means the key varietals that thrive are semillon, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon, alongside grapes like tempranillo and montepulciano.

Below are three wineries to discover on your next trip to Geographe – bakkheia, Harvey River Estate, and Willow Bridge Estate. Each producer tells us about their winery, the wines they produce (including the key wine to try), and they let us in on their favourite local spot.



Winemakers Michael Edwards and Franck Nouaille-Degorce say: Geographe is relatively undiscovered. If there was a region in WA that provides great micro terroir and exceptional growing conditions, it is this region. Combined with some exciting and highly suited varietals, the recipe is there for us to excel. There are exceptional wines already being made. We like being under the radar.

H. Tell us about your winery and wines.
ME & FND. bakkheia produces approximately 1500 cases of handmade artisan wines each vintage in the Preston Valley of Western Australia. Our vines are at 220 metres above sea level with an east-west orientation on a north facing slope. This allows not only sufficient light exposure for the fruit zone but also benefits from the cooling effect of the afternoon sea breeze during the warmer days of summer. Grown organically, the 25-year-old vines sit in loam then clay over granite and quartz rock and are, in the main, ‘dry grown’. This microclimate and terroir allow for a slower and moderate growing period seeing optimum physiological ripening.

We produce a blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre, we grow tempranillo and graciano as single varietals and blends. Cabernet sauvignon and malbec make our more traditional styles. Along with our bandol-style rosé, we produce a fumé blanc and chardonnay. 

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
ME & FND. The wine world abounds with trends and great innovation. Bakkheia’s focus is the natural direct link between the vineyard you see below the winery and reflecting the taste in the glass. It is that lasting linkage that resonates in our much-dedicated patrons. They revel in our organically grown, low intervention wines that provide highly prized varietal styling. We hand-pick, use native yeasts, open vats, hand plunge, basket press, and use terroir to present our wines.

Favourite local spot: The Geographe region presents a profusion of experiences, including great drives, dining, accommodation and, of course, the Bunbury beaches and waterfront are hidden gems.

Wine to try

2018 Aequitas Tempranillo Gran Reserva

2018 bakkheia Aequitas Tempranillo Gran Reserva

A deep purple and dark ruby appearance. The aroma is generous and powerful. A swirl revealing its complexity endlessly. Starting with savoury notes of cigar box, dried fig, chai mix, cola, nutmeg, and freshly picked mint. There are some floral perfumes of decaying rose petals and hint of milk chocolate. Touch of smokiness like firecrackers. After the long journey of ever-changing senses, the palate takes you to another sensational level. The wine is introduced by fresh crunchy red berry, cherry, raspberry, and mulberry. Thereafter followed by a confident expression of balanced spices and earthiness. The definitive charm of this wine comes with its velvety tannins, which blanket the entire mouth. Two years in barrel, four years in bottle before recent release. Tasting notes by Yu Kurosawa.

Best enjoyed: This is perfect company for manchego cheese or charcoal barbecue wagyu beef with heavy mushroom sauce or barbecue venison backstrap and dark cherry sauce. Decant well and serve in a cabaret glass at 18 degrees.

RRP $60 | Drink to 2035+ | To shop this wine email |

Harvey River Estate

Harvey River cellar door

Winemaker Stuart Pierce says: Geographe is an exciting place to make wines as there is a real abundance of alternative varieties available to work with. The warmer climate suits most varieties that require longer time on the vine to reach optimum ripeness (for example we have found that montepulciano is very late to ripen and is last to harvest).  

H. Tell us about your winery and wines.
SP. With roots deeply planted in Harvey, the orchards and dairies of our farming history are now the backdrop to picturesque rows of vines at Harvey River Estate. The wines are uniquely expressive – hand-crafted examples of the Geographe wine region. We produce wines with elegance and personality that express their sense of place, and our love of pristine fruit flavours.  

The vivid open slopes of vines at Harvey River Estate are a chorus of classic varietals – chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon – that were first planted in Geographe, alongside the recent additions of barbera, montepulciano and moscato. They sing the arias of our Italian heritage in some of Western Australia’s most pristine growing conditions.  

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
SP. Visitors to the cellar door can sample our range of wines and learn about the winery's history from our friendly cellar door team. Along with the range of table wines, our sought-after 10-year-old muscat and tawny are also available to taste and to purchase exclusively from the cellar door. 

Local favourite spot: My favourite spot in the region would be around the Harvey Dam, a fantastic five kilometre run on pavement that meanders through native bushland and reaches a crescendo along the dam wall with spectacular views. The Dam is also great for barbecues and picnics or fishing for marron (the latter strictly during season only).  

Wine to try

2022 Harvey River Estate Montepulciano

2022 Harvey River Estate Montepulciano

The wine displays a rich and bold character, showcasing intense fruit flavours that you can expect from a montepulciano. This first vintage of the beloved Italian grape variety is cultivated on a quaint vineyard located in the hills above Harvey. The wine has a dark core with a delicate plum-purple rim, offering pronounced dark fruit notes, intricate tobacco hints, and earthy undertones. It features a dry, robust tannin structure that lingers until the finish, complemented by a natural acidity that enhances the intense flavours of blackberry and dark cherries. 

Best enjoyed: Slightly chilled, and paired with a hearty, winter ragu. 

RRP $30 | Drink to 2030 | Shop this wine |

Willow Bridge Estate

Willow Bridge

Winemaker Kim Horton says: The Geographe region is bordered by the ocean and forest, and while we are one region, there are variations of climate and soil amongst it. Willow Bridge is located in the Ferguson Valley, which has the highest elevation in the region, moving from sea level to 300 metres in the space of a few kilometres. This unique location, being on top of the range, creates a number of aspects and microclimates that add complexity and interest to the styles of wine we produce.

H. Tell us about your winery and wines.
KH. All fruit is sourced from the Willow Bridge vineyard estate, meaning not only that our styles are unique, but we have an innate understanding of the process to get there. We make the wines from a molecular level. We are in the vineyard almost every day, and we understand every small detail from grape to bottle.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
KH. Our cellar door is located in a hidden jewel of an area known as the Ferguson Valley. It's an incredibly picturesque area that is just 20 minutes from the coastal city of Bunbury and around two hours south of Perth. Join our friendly staff for a fun and informative wine tasting. We have a great range of both white and red wines plus wine accessories and giftware to complement your take home wine experience. 

Local favourite spot: Definitely the mega mural (which covers 8000 square metres) that is painted on The Wellington Dam wall by Australian artist Guido Van Helton. It took four months to complete and despite the difficulties to complete the mural, it is an absolute masterpiece and well and truly worth a visit.

Wine to try

2022 Willow Bridge Grenache Shiraz Mataro

2022 Willow Bridge Grenache Shiraz Mataro 

Whole bunch high notes on the aromatics, gentle green spice surrounded by masses of dark berries, musk and pepper. Vibrant palate, medium bodied freshly crushed blackberry with licorice, plum and vanilla spice in support. Textured and long.

Best enjoyed: Pair with roasted artichokes and serve at 18 degrees.

RRP $30 | Drink to 2032 | Shop this wine |

Image credit: bakkheia.