Straddling the Great Northern Highway and hugging the eastern shore of the Swan River in the delightful Swan Valley, about a 40-minute drive east from the city, Middle Swan lies in serious wine country which is becoming increasingly recognised internationally. If you’re in the grip of the grape, then there are various tours and winery visits to tempt you. Here, on the banks of the river, is where you'll finds the historic Houghton Vineyard. Houghton is Western Australia's largest winemaker and this particular vineyard produced its first commercial wine vintage in 1859, although vines are known to have been flourishing on the property's rich soil nearly 30 years earlier. The present day vineyard was originally a part of a much larger property which was assigned in 1829, not long after the first settlers arrived to establish themselves in the Swan River Colony. However, within a couple of years, the property was purchased by a syndicate of British servicemen stationed in India named Lowis, Yule and Houghton. Yule became resident manager, but the property took its name from the senior ranking officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richmond Houghton, although he never actually came to Australia.