Valley of wines

Valley of wines

You don't have to travel all the way to Europe if visiting wine country is on your bucket list.

Closer to home is Swan Valley, arguably one of the most beautiful wine regions. The wine region is a 25-minute drive from the Perth city centre and less than 10 minutes from the domestic airport.

The 180-year-old Swan Valley boasts a rich history. It is Western Australia's oldest wine region, with a heritage that is a blend of indigenous, colonial and southern European roots.

Perhaps one of the best ways to explore the region is to do a self-drive trip. Rent a car and take a leisurely drive through the 32km Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail.

The scenic loop will take you past some of Western Australia's finest wineries, restaurants, breweries and cafes, and give you an opportunity to sample freshly picked produce. Pick up a bottle of wine from one of the wineries, pack some food and enjoy a lovely picnic in beautiful surroundings.

Speed grazing

If you want the best of Swan Valley in a nutshell, book yourself on a speed-grazing food and wine trail.

Join a group of adventurous foodies as you zip through more than 25 tastings in under five hours.

Touted as an adventure for the senses, the 32km trail includes visits visits to a gallery, cafe, confectionaries, a nougat factory and a honey farm.

Coffee lovers will relish the visit to Yahava Koffee Works, where you will get to sample coffees from around the world, from iced coffee to chai latte. You will also get to witness up close how coffee beans are roasted, blended and ground.

At Maalingup Aboriginal Gallery, you will get to browse the showcase of artworks by some of Australia's best-known indigenous artists, and pick up hand-crafted jewellery, glassware and artifacts.

Here you will also get the chance to learn about Australian bush tucker - also known as bush food - food native to Australia, consumed by its original inhabitants for sustenance.

At Windy Creek Wine Estate, you will have the chance to savour the extensive range of wines produced by the Cobanov family since 1937.

Other tasty highlights of this tour include a visit to Western Australia's oldest confectionary, Whistler's Chocolate Company, Oggie's ice-cream cafe and Cape Lavender for their lavender-infused scones.

Drink up

Swan Valley is home to numerous wineries and cellar doors, as well as several distilleries and microbreweries.

Check out the small family run wineries for their affordable wines. There is a good chance you can snag a bottle for as low as A$10 (S$10.19).

Most of the wines at these family run wineries are not sold outside Swan Valley, so this is good chance to stock up on quality wines.

Stop over at the cellar doors to sample and purchase wines that were recently awarded at the Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show in August. Look out for Windy Creek Estate's Chenin Blanc; Pinelli Estate's Reserve Durif 2014; Mandoon Estate's Shiraz and Shiraz Blend; Upper Reach's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and its Reserve Chardonnay 2010.

But there is more to Swan Valley than just vino, despite its rich wine making heritage. The region today is also becoming known for its award-winning handcrafted beers and spirits. To date, the valley is home to five boutique microbreweries and two distilleries.

Make sure you try Wild Swan Distillery's flavoured vodkas (pavlova, chilli and lemon among others) and stop by Elmar's in the Valley for German style ales.

Sup in the Valley

Go French at Fillaudeau's Restaurant, run by the Michelin star restaurant trained Chef Manu Fillaudeau, who uses classic French techniques with locally grown and harvested produce. Order the duck confit - you won't be disappointed.

Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe offers wholesome, hearty fare featuring seasonal, and, where possible, organic produce. Stop by for breakfast and check out their extensive tea selection as well as their homemade granola and buckwheat pancakes.

Those who want to learn about wine, chocolate and cheese can attend different master classes. At Swan Valley Providore's Chocolate and Wine Masterclass, for instance, you will learn to pair chocolates with wines from the Coward & Black Range.

Those who cook will have a ball at the Mini Asparagus Masterclass with Alf Edgecombe at Edgecombe Brothers. You will head to the fields to pick fresh asparagus and then learn to turn out a tasty dish in the open-air kitchen.

Weekend gourmet indulgence

If you're headed to Swan Valley next month, mark out Nov 13 to 15 on your calendar for Entwined in the Valley, a premier annual fun-filled event that showcases wine, beer, food, art, entertainment, fashion and culture.

The highlight of the event is a Degustation Dinner, held at Mandoon Estate Winery. Headlining this year's event is star chef Matt Moran, who heads the ARIA restaurants in Sydney and Brisbane.

Chef Moran will be preparing a seven-course degustation menu that will include a roasted Wagyu for the main course and goat's curd pannacotta for dessert.

Go to bestperthdeals.com/Singapore and westernaustralia.com for more information on Swan Valley and Entwined in the Valley.

Go to sgtravellers.com for more stories.

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