If you’re after a unique tour of the Geographe Wine Region, something a little bit different that’s more personalised than a minibus tour (with a bunch of folk you probably don’t know) then you’re going to love this.
We believe that the Geographe Wine Region is one of Western Australia’s most exciting areas, and a new start-up is making the most of showcasing not only the amazing scenery, but also some of the small boutique wineries off the beaten track – showcasing them in a unique and individual way.
It’s a Taste, Tapas, and Tour Adventure with Vince and Karen from Mr Mustang Hire!
First – a little about the region and what to expect.
Table of Contents
The Geographe Wine Region Climate
The Geographe Wine Region is an area of spectacular untouched beauty, with a climate that’s tempered by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and the hills of the Darling Ranges. It offers different soil types and micro-climates which give it a terroir suited to a range of quality grapes and varietals.
Geographe Region history
Geographe Bay was named after a French ship called Le Geographe which in the early 19th Century took part in a scientific and geographic expedition to the area. The Geographe Wine Region was also named after the ship.
Where is the Geographe Wine Region?
Many people are surprised that this beautiful spot is only about 2 hours south of Perth. With it’s lovely Mediterranean climate and long sunny days, and its picturesque river valleys, the Geographe is a gorgeous region to explore at any time of year.
Apart from the country vistas and the quaint townships, we also love the fact that here you can buy nationally and internationally acclaimed red and white wines as well as visit excellent cellar door cafes and restaurants where you can have long lazy lunches.
What to expect
You’ll find small country towns, boutique cellar doors, and wine estates peppered along country roads with magnificent scenery. You’ll find quaint little places, friendly people, and of course … exceptional award winning wines and fresh locally produced food.
Great hospitality characterises the Geographe Wine Region. Here you’re likely to find wine estate owners passionately expounding upon wine growing principles, or offering rare tastes of reserve specials in characterful small cellar door environments.
The Geographe Wine Region is also becoming known for its pioneering entrepreneurs, and one dedicated new enterprise is making the most of introducing all the region has to offer in a unique way.
On a day tour – In a Turqoise Blue 1965 Mustang called Sally!
View this post on Instagram
A classic way to visit the boutique wineries 🥂 of the Geographe Region. Teamed up with Vince and Karen aka Mr & Mrs Mustang 😍 who promote the region in a very special way 👍👏 This must be one of the best tours … drive around the highways, byways and roads less travelled of the South West while taking in some of the best wineries en route. Cruising along in a turquoise blue 1965 Mustang called Sally … (🎶🎶MustangSally 🎶🎶🎶) is a fabulously unique experience … @mrmustanghire is also available for weddings, school balls and other special events – especially if you want to turn heads as you arrive 😲😁More on the blog soon. I’m wearing #yesadress silky black top and #vivid ponte pants from @vividinternational with @frankie4footwear ankle boots (gifted) and cropped jacket from @marksandspencer . . . #spon @mrmustanghire #geographewine #tours #winetour #winetours #winetasting #mustang #driveinstyle #limousine #australiassw #bunburygeo #thisiswa #westisbest #justanotherdayinwa #destinationwa #southwest #travel #geographewineregion #australiassouthwest #downsouth #donnybrookwa #australiassw #chicover50 #everydaystyle
Please let me introduce you to the fabulous Mr Mustang Hire.
Mr Mustang Hire
Karen and Vince Civello share a passion. Two passions to be exact: One for Mustang cars and the other for the South West Region of Australia.
As a boy, Vince always dreamed of owning a muscle car, particularly a Mustang.
Having been in the car industry for most of his life and working on Mustangs as a panel beater, he remembers saying : “I’m going to own one of those one day.”
Little did he know that his prophesy would indeed come true.
A few years ago, around the time of his birthday, his lovely wife Karen presented him with a turquoise blue Mustang named Sally – complete with a bow. It was literally a dream come true for Vince, and from that auspicious birthday present the fledgeling idea for a new business came about.
If you’d like to read the full tear jerking, happy smiley story, you can read Karen’s tale on the Mr Mustang Hire About Page.
In fact DO read the full story – it’s heartwarming and very special.
Sally is a legendary, original, 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe. Her job these days is to transport anyone seeking a fabulous tour of the region, or for those looking for a point-to-point car in a more specialised sense.
Perhaps you want to make a ‘look-at-me’ entrance in classic style for a ball, a prom, a wedding, a photo shoot, a corporate function or even a TV commercial? Then Sally’s your girl.
Called Sally, (obviously!) after the song Mustang Sally, she’s known as Sal for short.
Sal is a sleek, well preserved, gracious old lady with staying power.
She sports an original dash and instrument panel. She’s a two door, five seater coupe (licensed for 4 passengers) complete with creature comforts, a fine throttle and a smooth growl.
Rest assured she also has air conditioning so you can remain cool in a super cool car when the weather sizzles.
More recently, her swaggering up to date partner, Mustang Salvatore has been added to the stable. This 2017 sleek brand new Mustang, also blue, provides Vince and Karen with a greater capacity to provide unique, bespoke custom tours around the South West as well as commercial hires too.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue isn’t a problem for brides if they hire the cars for their big days through us,” laughs Karen.
Tour, Taste and Tapas Adventure in the Geographe Wine Region
One special Sunday towards the end of winter, thanks to Karen and Vince, we were privileged to travel in Sally for a wonderful Tour, Taste and Tapas adventure.
We explored roads less travelled, and visited some of the best small production wine estates of the Geographe Wine Region which are producing some memorable wines.
The tour was all about the food, the wine, the people, and the countryside. And let’s not forget a Mustang named Sally!
Our first stop was at Barrecas Wines, near Donnybrook, where we were met by Kelly who welcomed us with a beaming smile.
While Vince, our safe and steady chauffeur, had an Expresso Coffee we were free to enjoy a fabulous wine tasting,
Barrecas is absolutely one of our favourite cellar doors in the Geographe Wine Region and is owned and operated by Fil and Kelly Barreca.
Founded in 1994 the winery is built upon a foundation of strong Italian heritage. Kelly exudes dedication to the family’s business and oversees the cellar door, while her husband Fil is engaged in producing some great wines from a list of international varietals.
We were treated to a beautiful grazing platter which featured a brie cheese drizzled with South West honeycomb.
Barrecas produce a range of quality reds and whites which we love. Kelly had just sold out of Nebbiolo and Barbera, two of our favourites which is testimony to the fact that these wines sell fast.
But we were not going to go away empty handed so in preparation for a charity fundraising dinner we bought an equally delicious Shiraz Viognier 2017 (aromatics of cherry, plum and dark chocolate with fruity mulberry and spice.) A treasure that will cellar for up to 15 years.
If you’re a wine lover you’ll be interested in the non traditional wines produced on Barrecas 46 hectares, like the cult favourite Barbera, the popular and much loved blend Shiraz Malbec, the Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Pinotage, and many more.
Since our last visit a few years ago, the cellar door has evolved into an even more friendly and welcoming environment. It feels like a cosy front room in a beautiful house with a stunning view.
“Actually, it feels like a big warm hug coming here”, quipped Karen.
Kelly has done some great things in the cellar door space, making it into an inviting experience where you could comfortably chat or just sit, relax with a glass of wine and read a book from their small library.
You might choose coffee and cake, or a grazing board to accompany a lunchtime glass of wine, with a gorgeous view to boot.
As you sip and slurp, you can gaze out over a beautiful dam, or sit on the verandah and look over the paddocks and further out to the forests beyond.
Check out the lovely original artwork which covers almost the whole length of one wall. It’s by a local artist from Dardanup and is representative of Italian immigration to Australia – A boat that brings the people, their animals, culture and ways of life across the great ocean to start a new life on a new continent.
For more information : Barrecas Wines
Barton Jones Wines
This winery was established in 1999 by Jackie Barton and Adrian Jones, and has recently undergone a change of ownership.
Now the 66 Hectare estate is owned by Preeti and Brad Coughlan.
We were met by Robyn Heydenrych the friendly cellar door manager who greeted us at the cellar door, which along with the restaurant is housed in a very attractive, architecturally designed solar passive building.
As we were thirsty on arrival we started our tasting with what Robyn explained, tongue in cheek, as ‘Some of the best 2019 Vintage Borehole Water!”
“Which is very cleansing on the palate,” quipped Karen!
Barton Jones Wines is not far from Donnybrook, and set in a spectacular position with one of the loveliest views you can imagine.
Sitting on the terrace overlooking vines, paddocks and forests on a sunny winter’s day with everything so green after the rains was an absolute delight.
We really enjoyed the Chenin Blank 2018 which we bought straight away to take home, and the 2018 Rose which displayed a lovely salmon pink colour, with tasting notes of quince, strawberries and water melon.
Dave enjoyed the Big Wig Shiraz 2016, which interestingly has good cellaring capabilities until 2025. However, unfortunately I don’t think we’d find this out, as we probably wouldn’t manage to keep it for that long!
Barton jones offers lunches and tasting boards to have with your wine come rain or shine – paired with a beautiful outlook right in the midst of the Geographe Wine Region.
Look out for the Barton Jones range of events throughout the year – For more information click here: Barton Jones Wines
A beautiful gravel driveway leads from the main road to Oakway Estate.
Dwarfed by tall trees the road meanders through forest until you come to a clearing where the view stretches out across fields, and a dam in the distance, and you realise just how far into the country you have come – although in reality you are just 15kms from Donnybrook – and right in the heart of the Geographe Wine Region.
The farm originally supported apple and stone fruit orchards before its present owners Wayne and Ria Hammond took over the property in 1997 and realised its potential for vines.
If you love country farm appeal, you’ll love Oakway Estate.
At Oakway you’ll find a modern cellar door with a shady deck area to catch the views.
Wayne’s camaraderie and sense of humour are a great foil for his knowledge of wines and all things viticulture, and we really enjoyed his company.
I have to say that there was not one wine we didn’t like in Oakway’s range. Not one!
It’s no wonder that Wayne and Ria have consistently won wine awards since 2003. Their wines are crafted with such passion. It follows that we are about to become members of their wine club!
If beautiful towering trees, tranquil meadows and dams are your views of choice then Oakway offers them in spades.
We were treated to a delicious wood fired pizza and a glass of wine (do try the bubbles) as we enjoyed the relaxing ambience of Oakway Estate.
The cafe also offers tasting plates, platters and pizzas with craft beers on tap from Ned’s Brew Club, and during the year you might be lucky to get a booking at one of the popular long table lunches.
Finally we bought some bottles of wine for our cellar – Who am I kidding! What cellar?
First up we couldn’t go past the gorgeously quaffable Am’arie a Blanc de Blanc a sparkling wine made in the methode tradionelle exclusively from Chardonnay grapes. It’s is a medium dry, naturally sparkling wine.
Next we chose the Vermentino 2017 which has its origins in Sardinia, Italy and has aromas of pear and citrus.
The Mascato Dolce 2017 beautiful with its faint pink blush and slight fizz is made in the traditional Moscato style.
We also couldn’t resist a Los Ninos Single Vineyard Malbec 2018 which we were told we could cellar for up to 10 years. With is plum, raspberry, chocolate and warm vanilla hints I think this one will be shared with friends quite soon.
Our stash was beginning to fill up Sally’s ample boot.
Yes, buying wine straight from the producers is such a pleasure as you really do understand the process involved to get it from grape to vintage, and the stories you hear from the owners are just lovely.
For more information : Oakway Estate
Smallwater Wine Estate
The cruisey drive from Oakway to Smallwater Estate in Sal was filled with much chat and lots of laughs.
The scenery sped by as we meandered elegantly towards the winery, and again Sal was most accommodating with her shock absorption when it came to navigating a short stretch of gravel road.
Smallwater is located on the eastern side of the Geographe Wine Region, just a short drive south of Donnybrook.
It has to be said that Smallwater Wines have won many many awards for their wines, and John Small is passionate and knowledgeable about every single process.
He and his late wife first started planting vines at Smallwater in 1993 with the intention of growing contract grapes, and also had the idea of developing a marron farm.
In 2005 John began making his own wine and the first vintage in 2006 was a Zinfandel. The cellar door and restaurant were established in 2011.
The property occupies an enviable position, and the rustic restaurant offers views overlooking marron dams, vineyards, rolling green hills and forest.
Since we last visited Smallwater the inside restaurant has expanded to include a fabulous outside deck area with sun protecting shade sails.
The “Smallwater Kitchen & Deck” is a rustic space that takes full advantage of its location and appears to jut out seamlessly into the surrounding forest.
Sitting here, amongst the trees as the sun started sinking below the yard arm, sipping a glass of unwooded Chardonnay and enjoying some very tasty tapas was indeed a treat.
The new chef, Jonny hails from England. He has a almost celebrity status having worked for Richard Branson on Necker Island and also Gordon Ramsay.
At Smallwater Kitchen & Deck you can expect seasonal menus from Jonny featuring local produce and fresh Marron from the dams.
The kitchen offers tapas boards, woodfired pizzas, brunches, lunches and dinners, whatever takes your fancy really to pair with award winning wines.
When it comes to Smallwater wines, we think they are all fantastic, though we do have our own particular flagship favourites; notably the Unwooded Chardonnay, Rob’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon and the Zinfandel. And yes, we are indeed wine club members for we know that John makes a great drop – consistently and reliably.
For more information: Smallwater Estate
Mr Mustang Hire
We had such a lovely, full day out with Karen and Vince at the helm. A day in the beautiful Geographe Wine Region that will be treasured and remembered for ever.
If you’re looking for a unique and personalised day out in the Geographe Wine Region, or the Margaret River Wine Region, then don’t forget to Google “Mr Mustang Hire”.
Pin this post for future reference.
You might also like:
My Mr Mustang tour was complimentary. All opinions are my own.