12/11/2008 - 22:00

Duck in for a beer

12/11/2008 - 22:00

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THE Margaret River wine region welcomed its newest microbrewery late last month with the opening of the $10 million Saracen Estate/Duckstein microbrewery.

Duck in for a beer

THE Margaret River wine region welcomed its newest microbrewery late last month with the opening of the $10 million Saracen Estate/Duckstein microbrewery.

According to its owners, Luke and Maree Saracini, the combined cellar door, restaurant and microbrewery facility is the largest visitor facility of its kind in Margaret River region.

Designed by architect Edwin Bollig of the Bollig Design Group, the development uses local timbers and materials, including jarrah, sheoak, Donnybrook stone and local granite, as well as imported Italian ceramic tyles.

The landscaping is the work of landscape architect Blake Willis of Tim Davies Landscaping, at a cost of about $1.8 million.

The Saracini family started commercial production in 1998 with a small vintage produced under the Saracen Estate label.

The estate now produces between 8,000 to 10,000 cases of wine a year, with a combination of traditional red and white varieties.

Planning for the cellar door and restaurant facility began four years ago, shortly after Mr Saracini met Duckstein Brewery director Kieron Strahan, who was looking to establish a brewery in the South West.

A relationship between the two businesses was struck, with Mr Saracini buying half of the Duckstein business and setting in motion plans for an integrated facility on Mr Saracini's 25-hectare property in Wilyabrup.

Saracen Estate general manager, and Mr Saracini's brother-in-law, Dennis Parker, said the facility had been well received after opening its doors on Monday October 20.

"It's going very well. We're jam-packed. Were doing about 350 meals a day during the weekdays, and about 500 to 700 people coming through the day on weekends," Mr Parker told Business Class.

The facility has a licensed capacity for 500 people, with the restaurant seating 250 people and a beer garden and balcony sitting over the expansive dam.

In addition to selling its own estate wines, there are plans to sell Redisland olive oil and Njoi olive oil products through the cellar door, with the Saracinis having an investment in the olive oil producer.

The South West region is home to a growing number of microbreweries, with most concentrated around the Margaret River/Yallingup area, including the well-established Bootleg Brewery, Cowaramup Brewing Company, Colonial Brewering Co and the Bush Shack Brewery, formerly known as Wicked Ale.

Other recent microbreweries to open in the state's south include the Old Coast Road Brewery and café in Myalup, about a 90-minute drive from Perth.

The brewery, started by ex-pharmacist Andrew Harris and opened mid-year, features a restaurant overlooking a picturesque olive grove.

The Ferguson Valley, two hours south of Perth on the South Western Highway, is also one of the state's emerging food and wine destinations, with a number of wineries and microbreweries starting to spring up in the area.

The Wild Bull boutique brewery, just east of Dardanup, has been open for about a year and offers four brews, complemented by a range of light meals and snacks.

A second microbrewery, Moody Cow Brewery, is scheduled to open next year.

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