Swallows Welcome Winery
Drinking wine in a church – and I’m not talking the communion sip, here – might be sacrilege to some, but for Pat and Tim Negus, it’s all in a day’s work. And while in Margaret River, I was happy to join them!
There are around 150 wine producers in the Margaret River region, but Swallows Welcome Winery is really different. For a start, it is Margaret River’s smallest winery, family owned and operated.
I headed to Swallows Welcome, about 20 minutes drive south of Margaret River at East Witchcliffe, to meet Pat and Tim for a free personal tour – something they happily do for all their visitors.
For a start, there’s the mud brick chapel, which they built themselves. The Chapel of Flowers has beautiful leadlight windows designed by Dawn Klok and a porch mosiac by local artist Jenny Hunt. It’s a multi-denominational church – with as many Buddhas as there are crucifixes – and welcome to all, for all kinds of events (not just weddings).
The walls of the chapel are lined with more than 100 watercolour paintings of local flora. Patricia Negus is a renowned botanical artist, and her paintings depict more than 500 wildflowers from the south-west of Western Australia. These are on permanent exhibition.
A former teacher, Patricia changed careers nearly 30 years ago, and has held exhibitions all over WA, winning many awards. In1994, she and Tim “retired” to Margaret River, where they built their mud brick home on 130 acres, with an art studio next door. The plan was for Tim to run cattle and Patricia to continue with her artistic career, but soon it was grapes that took over (for Tim at least)!
Patricia joined forces with locals Jane Scott and Ray Forma to form Cape to Cape Publishing, a venture which has produced a number of popular books, including Wildflowers of Southwest Australia and The Magical World of Fungi. There’s also Stories from the Cellar Door, a book about the wineries of the Margaret River region, and a couple of children’s books as well as diaries, cards, calendars and more. You can see it all in Pat’s studio.
But for me, the highlight was a late afternoon stroll through the colourful gardens that Pat has created around the mud brick buildings.
A Glass Half Full travelled as a guest of Tourism Western Australia and Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association, driving a Hyundai Elantra Elite while in Western Australia.
12 Responses to “Swallows Welcome Winery”
Drinking in a church. Who knew? Lovely photos too!
Oh wow, what a novel idea. It’s a gorgeous place!
Yes, it is. Lovely gardens.
This sounds great and going on our to-do list for early 2015. Would love to see her art.
Great photos, wonderful story. I’m going there.
You’d like Pat and Tim – they are characters. The wine’s good too.
Then I shall put Pat and Tim on my Christmas card list.
Thanks for finally talking about >Swallows Welcome Winery | A Glass Half Full <Liked it!
Sadly, winemaker Tim Negus died in mid-2017, so the winery part of Swallows Welcome is now closed. However, everyone is still very welcome to visit the Art Studio of Patricia Negus, and to view the permanent art collection in the Chapel of the Flowers. A lovely place for a wedding or picnic.
So sorry to hear this sad news. Thank you so much for letting me know, Ray.
My wife and I visited the winery in 2014 and purchased some bottles..I have just opened our last bottle which is the 2011 Margaret River Cabernet…an absolutely beautiful tasting wine..the best I had in years…Tim should be so proud…so sorry of his passing.Shane & Jenny Scott.