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Why Drive to Margaret River?

Image: Not Margaret River, Tonon's Vineyard and Winery with impossibly blue skies (Authors Photo)

Margaret River, the justifiably world-renowned wine region in Western Australia, is around a three-hour drive from Perth’s CBD. There is no denying that the area produces some terrific wine, and the highway makes it a straightforward though somewhat dull drive. Yet, it is possible to travel to a hidden gem of a winery tucked into the Perth Hills, which is two-and-a-half hours closer to Perth. Why drive to Margaret River when Tonon Wines is nearby. The difference enables you to zip up and back in less than a couple of hours versus having to dedicate a whole weekend away.

Image: The range and Dan in action (Author's photo)

For those in the eastern suburbs, Tonon’s could almost be your local bottle shop. Indeed, during our most recent visit, a few locals dropped by to top up their supply of wine for a dinner party they had that evening.

Image: A few of the prizes and wine awards (Author's photo)

Tonon Vineyard and Winery, run by the affable Dan Tonon, produces low volumes of superb, artisan-crafted wines in the Bickley-Carmel Valley. Tonon has received many accolades over the years, the most recent being a trophy for The Best Wine of the Show 2022 Perth Hills Wine Show for his 2022 Fiano. He also collected two other trophies for best alternative variety and best dry white at the same show.

Tonon has been ahead of the curve for years, introducing alternative grape varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino and (one I hadn’t heard of previously) Marzemino. This penchant for innovation is exemplified in the story that produced his 2021 Seven Sticks Prosecco. If you go on a day when he is not too busy (cellar door, Saturday only), it is worth hearing him tell the story of the seven sticks. It is impossible not to taste the passion and care infused into every Tonon wine.

Image: A couple of happy customers and some new art (Author's photo)

But what does this have to do with my literary interests, you may ask. My novel, ‘Darwin’s Wake’ includes a shoutout to this winery, putting Dan’s outstanding sparkling wine in the same paragraph as Verve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon. The 2017 Andrew Alexander Sparkling (winner of the best Sparkling Wine at the 2020 Perth Hills Wine Show) is a classic. This mention is an unabashed Easter Egg in my writing that I am so fond of, a fun hidden reference. It’s also a chance to provide a reference to a bloke who is doing a great job. An added bonus is ‘Darwin’s Wake’ has been available to purchase via the cellar door. Before you dismiss this as unashamed cross-marketing, read the book, drink the wine and only then tell me if I’m not right on the mark.

Drink responsibly. Read recklessly. 44 Carmel Road, Carmel WA 6076

Images: Above and below, unashamed cross-promotion (author's photos)

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