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The barrels just keep rolling out

THE Western Australian wine industry is going from strength to strength with three cellar door facilities, worth a total of almost $5 million, either having opened within the past week or opening within days.

ERG chief executive officer Peter Fogarty and wife, Lee, opened the Millbrook Winery tasting room last Wednesday and this week Xanadu Wines opens its cellar door and restaurant facility in Margaret River. Goundrey Wines also will be welcoming its first customers to the cellar door at its Fox River winery.

The Millbrook Winery is set on a 202-hectare property located in Jarrahdale, at the southern end of the Perth Hills viticulture region.

The $2 million tasting room, built from local stone and jarrah and marri timbers, is now open to the public, although plans to open a restaurant have been put on hold for the short term, according to Millbrook sales and marketing manager Annie Rankin.

“We have a temporary kitchen so we can serve small meals and we do believe most people will want to come for a meal, but a restaurant is a big investment, so we will make a decision on that in a few months’ time when we have an idea about the demand,” she said.

Ms Rankin said the new facility was part of a value-adding and brand-building strategy for the Jarrahdale operation.

“If you are just growing grapes then you are in a very tough position at the moment. You need to turn that into wine and even then you have to brand-build and market,” she said.

“Exporting is very important but the WA market is very important to us as well.”

In the South West, Xanadu yesterday opened its $1.7 million Margaret River cellar door and restaurant after a six-month construction period.

The cellar door will house new merchandise and wine accessories, while the cafe-style restaurant will seat 150 guests. There also is an outdoor barbecue facility.

And on Saturday, Goundrey Wines will open its $1 million Fox River cellar door in the Great Southern.

Goundrey Wines general manager and senior winemaker David Martin said the location of the cellar door, right on the Albany Highway, was about increased exposure and attracting passers by.

Major winemaker Evans & Tate is building a new facility worth about $2 million at its Redbrook Winery to better cater for the estimated 45,000 visitors each year. The company is building a new tasting room and small cafe and converting the original facility into a new VIP tasting room and administration block. The new facilities are expected to be finished by March next year.

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