This–to me–smells like Margaret River, she says while pouring the cabernet. Like home.

We ask her what Margaret River smells like, and her response is nearly instant: salt from the nearby Indian Ocean, and minty eucalyptus. She rolls her eyes as she talks about terroir, but readily admits Margaret River’s got one all its own.

Terroirs constitute a responsible alliance of man and his territory encompassed by know-how: production, culture, landscape and heritage. By this token, they are the fount of great human biological and cultural diversity. Terroirs are expressed by products, typicality, originality and the recognition associated with them. They create value and richness.

U N E S C O

Australia’s terroir is something I’ll carry in my bones for the rest of my life. To me, it’s the shock of purple jacarandas in the springtime. The wave of damp earth and fresh eucalyptus after the rain. Arctic air that slices clean through you. The welcome respite of a cool fern gully. The vast and wild landscape just beyond the city’s reach. The remarkable way everything suddenly comes alive again, all at once, after a long winter. Electric sunsets.

Victorian terrace homes that punctuate the city with a soul all their own. Aboriginal words I’m probably butchering but want to get right because it’s important. Mango dribbling down my chain that tastes like candied sunshine. Lemon myrtle. Saltbush. Magics and long blacks. The metallic sound of rain hammering away on the roof. That strange, otherworldly call of magpies. The thrill of spotting wild kangaroo. The chorus of lorikeets greeting the sun and then the moon. Fairy lights in July.

It’s so much more than this but it’s now home, too. ☾


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