A new hum of activity from the cellar, blending reds from the previous vintage, transferring red wines from the recent vintage into oak, bottling and the excitement of the pending new releases. Budburst on the vines begins the next cycle of growth.
The forest and coastal heath are ablaze with wildflowers. Some 30 bird species are regularly seen including honeyeaters, brilliant blue splendid wrens, parrots, fly-catching willie wagtails and stunning scarlet breasted robins. Spring is a great time to spot wildlife in the forest too.
The magnificent karri forest is unique to the south-west and home to a rich diversity of wildlife including kangaroos, possums, bandicoots, wedge-tailed eagles and raucous cockatoos. In November, visitors from far and wide flock to forage the region's famed produce as winemakers keep an anxious watch on the sky and the flowering vines.
Vintage is the busiest and most exciting time, culminating all the hard work in the vineyard and the birth of the year's new wines. Typically vintage commences late February. While tourists enjoy the brilliant blue sky, days at the beach and indulge in wining and dining, the winery is all hands on deck around the clock.
The hand-picked chardonnay grapes get the first attention followed by the sauvignon blanc and semillon which are harvested in the cool of the night. Then it's the turn of the reds. Cabernet grapes are carefully hand-picked to ensure individual bunches are at exactly the correct ripeness. By mid-April, all the shiraz, merlot, zinfandel and other varieties are harvested and the cellar is a buzz of activity of pressing, crushing and fermenting.
Elsewhere the mood is much more laid back. The days can be warm but the afternoon sea breeze brings welcome relief. Popular surf beaches are a drawcard but you can always find your own private expanse of coastline to escape. For the more adventurous dive a wreck or snorkel the turquoise waters to uncover sightings of stingrays, schools of dolphins and the occasional seal.
As autumn heralds cooler days and the end of a hectic vintage, the winemakers' craft and technical expertise come to the fore with skilful racking, blending, transferring wine into barrels and monitoring of the maturation of the vintage wines.
Nature marks the spectacular arrival of the humpback and southern right whales at the south of the Cape on their annual migration north to warmer tropical waters. The Capes region has the longest whale watching season in Australia, often extending from June to December. From June to August they frolic - sprouting, breaching and tail slapping.
On the return journey south to their summer haunts in Antarctic waters, humpbacks with calves and blue whales, the giant of the ocean hugs the coast and rests in the north of the Cape between September and December.
Winter brings rising mist over the vineyards in the early mornings and crashing surf along the coast. In the vineyard this is a time for pruning, mulching and managing the vines and the soil.
Most of the annual rainfall (average 1190mm) arrives, and the intense southerly low-pressure systems can generate gale force winds building into spring. The cooler weather (a mild 14-19 °C) encourages cosy nights by a log fire with a glass of red and exploration of the myriad of galleries showcasing local art and hardwood furniture.
If it's really cold outside, escape with a tour of a spectacular ancient limestone cave at a constant 17 °C underground!