Western Australia vineyardFor most well-heeled travelers, fine dining and great wines are hallmarks of an appealing luxury destination. One of the newest entries into the competition is Perth and its surrounding countryside in Western Australia.

The Margaret River region, for example, within three hours of the capital city, boasts more than 200 wine producers, and travelers eager to explore the vineyards can visit some 100 cellars to pick that perfect vintage to taste or bring home.

Fans of sparkling wines and Chenin Blanc can head to the oldest wine-growing area in the state, about a half-hour away in Swan Valley, whose vines date from the 1800s.

Economic growth in the city has sparked a whole menu of increasingly sophisticated restaurants, and culinary influences range from chic European, like the Andaluz Bar & Tapas in the central business district, to hip urban, such as the Aviary, located above the city's underground train station.

The trend toward organic, locally grown fare is exemplified at the Greenhouse, also in center city, featuring the talent of chef Matt Stone. Here diners can sample charred octopus, rabbit pie and mussel croquettes in a venue carefully designed to be environmentally friendly, and, as the name implies, the produce is sourced from the rooftop garden.

Two new eateries in Perth's Central Park are drawing buzz: Shiro Izakaya, serving small plates in a minimalist venue, and the Deck Cafe, brewing designer coffee drinks with beans from the Andes and Mexico.

Finally, travelers in the mood for champagne or high tea can sample both at the Duchess, a new venue in the Claremont Quarter, a shopping and dining area in the city.

For more on wining and dining in or near Perth, visit www.westernaustralia.com.

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