The way that Australian wine laws were originally set up, wines that are blended between two regions cannot be labeled as either region and must default to the next smallest recognized Geographic Indicator (GI) that they both fall within. Due to the size and distance between many regions, and the holdings of many wineries, that often resulted in a fairly meaningless title of “Australian Wine,” which could come from literally anywhere in the country. In an effort to create more regionally specific labeling, zones and “super zones” were created to highlight some higher quality regional wines that might otherwise go unrecognized. South West Australia is one of these instances where quality can be recognized on a broader level without getting lost in an ocean of wine.
Not nearly as large as Southeastern Australia (>500,000 mi2/1.3 million km2), which encompasses vineyards in five different states, South West Australia (<9,000 mi2/23,000 km2) contains six wine regions, all located within the southern portion of Western Australia. These six regions are Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Great Southern, Manjimup, Pemberton, and Margaret River. These six regions all share a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and wet winters, and the wines produced tend to be a bit more elegant than their counterparts from the hot, arid wine-growing regions.