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Laura Pearse
5 June 2020 | Laura Pearse

Wine Tasting Phase 3

Welcome Back!

We are so very happy to see you again.






It's the New Normal, so there are things we've got to do to keep everyone safe:

All wine tastings must be seated
  • We’ve organised tasting spots with bar stools
  • If people are waiting, we may need to limit your tastings 
  • You're welcome to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, but you must be seated
  • Everyone needs to give contact case any tracing needs to be done in the future

Life is too short to drink boring wine, you've probably had to resort to the bottle shop, I tend to buy the same old thing or chose on 'interesting' label. 
I'm often disappointed.

You deserve to enjoy every single glass that you drink.

Let us help you find your perfect wine for you, don’t waste time in the bottle shop. 

Don’t waste money on average wine… Let's drink better and support a 100% West Australian Family owned winery.

We've all done so well to get to this stage - we ought to be proud of ourselves, this future is a new adventure, let’s take the best of these past months:

  • Less rushed.
  • Let's try to be kinder to each other.
  • Try to enjoy every minute of every day, as well as every glass of wine.

At Upper Reach, the safety and well-being of our guests, staff and the general public is very important to us.

Please be assured that health and hygiene are at even higher standards than normal.

We look forward to welcoming you to Upper Reach!

Time Posted: 05/06/2020 at 2:08 PM
Laura Pearse
16 May 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Fortified

As we're coming into colder weather, it's time to get the fire blazing & dive into our stickies & fortified. 

Upper Reach will be doing this  Tasting Class exploring Fortified Wine and all its warming deliciousness.

We will take a look at our:
- Tawny
- Liqueur Muscat

We'll be talking about tasting notes, food pairing, and in particular ageing fortified, the fortification process & how the Swan Valley is unique for its dessert wines.


Time Posted: 16/05/2020 at 7:20 PM
Laura Pearse
9 May 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Sparkling Wine

By popular demand from our last Livestream, Upper Reach will be doing this weeks FREE Live Tasting Class that will explore Sparkling Wine in all its GLORY.

We will take a look at:
- 2014 Sparkling Chardonnay
- 2018 Sparking Chardonnay (Pre-Release)

We'll be talking about tasting notes, food pairing, and in particular the process of making our sparkling, disgorging & riddling and how we make a rich creamy mousse.


Time Posted: 09/05/2020 at 7:03 PM
Laura Pearse
2 May 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Shiraz

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Shiraz

By popular demand from our last Livestream, Upper Reach will be doing this Tasting Class that will explore our exceptional Reserve Shiraz & how it's unique micro-climate influences it's character.

We will take a look at:
- 2016 Reserve Shiraz
- 2009 Reserve Shiraz

We'll be talking about tasting notes, food pairing, and in particular age-ability & how age influences flavour. We will talk about cellaring conditions and how long to keep a Shiraz.

So get your Shiraz ready to drink so we can make your Saturday in isolation a little less boring :D




To host your own tasting at home, you will need these shiraz. Enjoy!

Time Posted: 02/05/2020 at 7:42 PM
Stephen Wallace
26 April 2020 | Stephen Wallace

Best Recipes & Wine Pairings

Welcome to Upper Reach Winery's Recipe Sharing Blog!

We want to hear what you've been cooking while in Isolation.

Let's share ideas, match the perfect wine & find inspiration for our next cullinary creations.


We all have a little more time at the moment to focus on what we create in our kitchens. Whether it be the best Sourdough recipe, method of making a gooey meringue or simply your favourite comfort food.


To start us off, Derek the winemaker here at Upper Reach, has been having great fun making his own sourdough starter that he can re-use over & over again by feeding it. It is absolutely delicious and perfect for pizza dough as well!

Sourdough Starter (Special thanks to



  • Whole wheat flour
  • Unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Purified water


Step 1. Mix 3 ½ tbs. whole wheat flour with ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for 48 hours at room temperature. Stir vigorously 2-3 times a day. (“Unsweetened” in this case simply means no extra sugar added).

Step 2. Add to the above 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for a day or two. Stir vigorously 2-3 times a day. You should see some activity of fermentation within 48 hours. If you don’t, you may want to toss this and start over (or go buy some!)

Step 3. Add to the above 5 ¼ tbs. whole wheat flour and 3 tbs. purified water. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.

Step 4. Add ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup purified water. You should have a very healthy sourdough starter by now.


We have been hearing great recipes from our wonderful Cellar Club Members.

One of which came from Jeremy & Tilly for Slow Roasted Duck.

This had us salivating as soon as we strated reading the email.. Thank you so much guys!

Slow Roasted Duck (Special thanks to Jeremy & Tilly)



  • 3 whole frozen duck from Coles freezer section, (get them when they’re on special for $16)
  • 2-3 tsp Chinese Five Spice 
  • 1 Jar of Hoisin
  • 1/2 Bottle of Upper Reach Gig Grenache
  • 1/2 bottle sweet soy sauce
  • 2 Star anise
  • Large table spoon marmalade
  • Juice of one orange and shave a little rind
  • Large table spoon of butter


Step 1. Defrost the ducks and cut them in half. Trim off neck,spine, parsons nose etc. & Pre-heat oven to 140‎°C.

Step 2. Sprinkle the skin side generously with Chinese 5 Spice.

Step 3. Foil a large oven tray, place ducks on tray & pop in the oven for 4.5 Hours.

Step 4. Let's make the sauce! Combine & reduce the following in a large saucepan until thickened: 1 Jar of Hoisin, 1/2 Bottle of Upper Reach Gig Grenache, 1/2 bottle sweet soy sauce, 2 Star anise, Large table spoon marmalade, Juice of one orange and shave a little rind, Large table spoon of butter.

Step 5. Serve with rice and Bok Choy plus the rest of the Gig Grenache (assuming you didn’t drink it already). You’ll probably need another couple of bottles though ;-)

Absolutely delicious guys! Thank you so much again!


This recipe is one of Laura's FAVOURITES when we head into Autumn. 

Lemon & Thyme Pork Belly

(Image Credit


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1kg boneless pork belly, skin scored


Step 1. Place salt, fennel and garlic in a mortar and pulverise with the pestle until garlic has broken up.

Step 2. Add lemon zest and juice, and thyme leaves and lightly pulverise. Stir in oil. Rub marinade all over both sides of pork and set aside to marinate for at least 1hr, preferably overnight.

Step 3. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

Step 4. Rub pork skin with paper towels until dry. Place pork in a shallow roasting tray, skin-side up, and cook for 1½ hrs.

Step 5. Increase temperature to 200°C (180°C fan) and cook a further 30mins or until skin is crisp. If crackling is not crisp enough, place pork under a grill until crackling is done to your liking (watch very closely).

Step 6. Place pork on a board, tent loosely with foil and stand 15mins. Cut into bite-size pieces and serve.

Super yummy! Plus, that Crackling is to die for :)



Please share your recipes with us by sending them to We would love pictures of your creations as well!

Thank you very much.

Stay Safe, Stay Happy!


Time Posted: 26/04/2020 at 1:00 PM
Laura Pearse
25 April 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Chardonnay

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Chardonnay

By popular demand from our last Livestream, Upper Reach will be doing this weeks FREE Live Tasting Class that will explore Chardonnay & the use of Oak Barrels.

We will take a look at:
- 2019 Unwooded Chardonnay
- 2019 Reserve Chardonnay
- 2013 Museum Reserve Chardonnay

We'll be talking about tasting notes, food pairing, age-ability & how Oak Barrels influence the flavour profile of White Wines.

So get your Upper Reach Chardonnays ready to drink so we can make your Saturday in isolation a little less boring.

If you are unable to collect our wines or have them shipped to you in time, for the purpose of this class you can substitute our wines with an Unwooded Chardonnay, an Oaked Chardonnay and aged Oaked Chardonnay.

After how much fun our last Live stream was, we're very excited for our subsequent Virtual Wine Tasting, we hope you are too! We hope these are interactive classes , so you will be able to type your questions and comments through out the class with other like minded wine enthusiasts.


Time Posted: 25/04/2020 at 7:11 PM
Laura Pearse
19 April 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Trio of Reds

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Trio of Reds


Back by popular demand from our last Livestream, we have decided to explore Red wines ranging from Light - medium-Full Bodied and explain the difference. 

We will take a look at:
- 2018 Grenache
- 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
- 2016 Petit Verdot (NEW CLUB MEMBER RELEASE)

We'll be talking about tasting notes, food pairing, age-ability & the wine making processes make for a light/full bodied Red Wine.


Join us next session for Chardonnay MasterClass. We will be looking at Good, Better, Best....(in our opinion) of the Chardonnay varitey. Unoaked vs Oaked.... winemaking secrets, food and wine matching and tasting notes.

Time Posted: 19/04/2020 at 1:52 PM
Laura Pearse
14 April 2020 | Laura Pearse

Virtual Wine Tasting Class | Verdelho

Virtual Wine Tasting Class

Verdelho 2014 vs 2019 vs 2020

Bringing the Tasting Room to you whilst we social isolate...This class was run live via facebook so everyone could give their thoughts and ask questions.   

Find out about the history of Verdelho in Australia, the wine making process and of course practice how to taste it, what the 'expert' thinks it smells, tastes and even looks like!

Along with tasting notes, food suggestions and aging tips.



Well that’s our first virtual tasting!
Ideally you'll be watching this with at least one of the Verdelhos in your glass to taste with us.

If you would like to try the wines in this video you can get them here

If you are needing a top up of wine, please support local & family owned first before going to the bottle shop.

Next class On Saturday 18 April will be for all the red wine lovers, with a trio of reds.
We'll taste Upper Reach's 2018 Gig Grenache, our 2017 Cabernet Merlot and the just released 2016 Petit Verdot

We'll focus on the different weight and body of these wines, and so have choosen a light, medium and full bodied red to contrast and compare.
You'll explore their differences, we want your food reccommendations and let's discuss how to navigate a resturant's red wine list.

Of course it would be best to taste the three featured wines, so just pause this and buy them now. 😜

If that's not possible, grab a red from your wine stockpile and have some fun with us while you work out how much body your wine has!

Let's keep doing the things we love!   🥂 🍷

Time Posted: 14/04/2020 at 4:42 PM
Laura Pearse
24 September 2019 | Laura Pearse

Dog Friendly Winery Here in the Swan Valley

‘Wherever wine is made, you’re likely to find a loyal canine snoozing in the cellar or roaming the vineyard …celebrate the working (and relaxing) dog in the wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms’

 -Wine Dogs 2019


It’s a thing, almost every family winery has a dog or two hanging around the cellar door or vineyard.

I’ve been thinking about it and I reckon its because every vigneron (the technical name for a grape grower and winemaker) spends a lot of time on their own, particularly during the growing season.

In winter Derek and our winery dog, Indi ,spend two and a half months hand pruning the vineyard. It can be a race to get this done before the buds start to burst in early September.

All through Spring the two of them are flat out in the vineyard monitoring and managing the growth of the vines, their canopy, flowering and the fruit.

You will find Indi literally flat out- sleeping at our entrance. (except for lunch time when she’s back at Cellar Door waiting for pats and hoping for treats!) Indi has a huge instagram following, there are more pictures of her on our instgram page than wine! Next time you are here, get a selfie with Indi and post to our page so we can share.

At lunch time you will find Indi watching our diners on the deck enjoying a fabulous lunch with stunning views. She is hoping there is a morsel for her...dont fall for those pleading eyes!

Important Note: Please do NOT feed winery dogs, all and any of them, our dog is a Golden Retriever she’s an absolute greedy guts- she’ll eat everything. She is literally a walking stomach! I promise I feed my dog, and anything that you give her is extra, and is just making her fat, which is already affecting her knees and hips.

We all love dogs at Upper Reach and your fur baby is welcome to visit, however as this is a public space there are a few reminders:

Dogs are welcome on lead
Please don’t allow your dog to bark, so that everyone can relax
Dogs may not enter the Restaurant
Obviously please pick up their poo, but if you could take it away with you that would be much appreciated (apparently in Canada you have to empty dog poo down the loo and flush it away before putting the bag in the bin!)

Lunch or Breakfast with your dog:

If you’d like to have a meal accompanied by your dog, RiverBrook Restaurant will do their best to look after you. You and your fur baby can sit on the Lawn Terrace under the pergola, however food service there is always at the Restaurant’s discretion, if they are super busy they may not be able to look after you outside of the restaurant. I’d suggest getting here at 12 and getting your order in early, as peak time is 1-2pm, so give yourself the best chance.

Nearby Walks with your Dog:

Bells Rapids close by is a fabulous walk for you and your dog is welcome there too. There are a variety of walks of differing lengths, from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours long. There is a three hour walk, which I’ve never done. We also have a lovely walk here at Upper Reach  going through the vineyard and down along the Swan River Bank. 

Apparently behind every great winemaker sits a loyal, taste-testing, crumb removal, grape testing, lawn-watering pooch. These gorgeous dogs are the real palate-power behind the skilled business of making wine.

Time Posted: 24/09/2019 at 4:47 PM
Laura Pearse
28 August 2019 | Laura Pearse

Tasting etiquette at a winery- what to do? And how to look like you know what you are doing!


Let’s face it, we all find walking into a winery for wine tasting a little daunting. I sometimes feel the same, and I work in a winery! Will I be judged? Will they think I don’t know about wines? What do I ask for/ how do the wine tastings go?

Here are some things you should know before you head off to your local wine region this weekend.

Tip number 1: The tasting notes

The winery will usually put the wine tasting list in “tasting order”- from top to bottom.  

Driest white wines at the top, sweetest white wines at the bottom for the whites…. Lightest/softest reds at the top to more full-bodied red wines at the bottom, for reds list. 

So, if you are in doubt over where to start on the list, start at the top and work towards the bottom.

If you know you only like sweet wines, or a certain type of wine, say a full-bodied red, ask for them. Cellar door staff are happy to show you around the wine list. You do not have to try all of the wines. Especially if the winery has an extensive tasting list.


Tip number 2: Have a conversation.

There is nothing more awkward than silence while watching someone struggle with a wine list. It is ok to say, look, I like sweet wines or dry whites, or I usually drink Sauv Blanc- what do you suggest? Actually, we love that! It also helps us get a feel for what you like, so we can make some suggestions for you to try.

Chat about the wine you like, the food you like with your wines, even if you just like a “drink now” style wine for under the pergola, tell us.

A tasting at cellar door should always be a conversation, never done in awkward silence. We aren’t going to quiz your wine knowledge. Good conversation and wine go together like…well, good conversation and wine!

Tell the cellar door staff what you usually like to drink and be guided by them….you might stumble across a variety or style you would not have otherwise tried that you love. That’s what wine tasting is all about.

Handy tip: we love a good chat about the footy and cricket too if you are not THAT into wine!


Tip number 3: Tasting fees

Some wineries charge a tasting fee. So be prepared. Some producers will charge a one-off tasting fee to taste all wines. Others may charge for only the premium wines on the tasting list if you choose to try them. Sometimes the tasting fees are waived if wine is purchased. There should be no expectation that wine tasting is free.


Tip number 4: The Spittoon

The dreaded spittoon….so scary sitting on the counter for the novice…. can I really spit out the wine? Can I pour wine into it? What’s it for?

The spittoon is there for those that do not want to swallow the wines, just sip, get the flavour of the wines then spit it out (they might be driving). This is perfectly fine etiquette. But that is not its only function.

You might have tasted a wine that’s not your favourite and decide not to finish the sample, it is perfectly fine to tip the rest out into the spittoon.

Rinsing the glass with water between tastings is common (but not essential) you can either drink the water to cleanse your pallet or tip the water into the spittoon. I personally only rinse my glass after the white wines going onto the reds or before going on to dessert wines. I don’t rinse after each sample.


The big no-no: What is not ok is putting your chewing gum into the spittoon. That’s gross. Don’t do it. Ever.


So there you have it… walk into your next cellar door with confidence! When was the last time you visited the Swan Valley Wineries? Now is the perfect time to get out and see some terrific local producers and make a day of it.



Have we whetted your appetite? Would you like to REALLY learn about wine? We have terrific beginner "Wine 101 "wine classes in Perth ( Swan valley) that are fun, friendly and we will start you at the very beginning and show you how to taste and appreciate wine like a pro.

We won't leave you there…Wine 102, the next step of your wine journey. Take an educational winery and vineyard tour where we show you have we grow the grapes and make the wine. Learn the winemaking process from grape to glass!

We will have you being that very annoying friend that "talks wine at you" in no time!

Time Posted: 28/08/2019 at 3:30 PM