Alpine Valleys

Located in the North East viticultural district of Victoria is this cool climate region that with its varying elevations and valleys grows around 32 varieties that reflect its many micro-climates.

Annual rainfall at the lower elevations of Wangaratta at 150 metres above sea level is around 638mm which is in the low to mid-range for viticulture and in the higher elevations of 300 metres above sea level at Bright it is around 1218mm which combined with 43% humidity shows that at higher altitude in the cooler climate disease pressure is high. Whereas at the lower altitude frost is the greatest risk as it can occur at both ends of the season, both 150mm growth and just prior to harvest. Natural airflow is often limited in the lower valleys which makes mitigating frost damage expensive or near impossible.  The North East is extremely prone to black frost events.

 Mean January temperature at lower altitude is 21.25 degrees and at higher elevation it is 20.15 degrees. Many growers will utilise the higher ground for white wine production and the lower ground for reds as many red varieties require a period of lifted heat to achieve optimal ripeness.

Site selection is important in the Alpine Valleys as it is also a major premium contract fruit district. The best positioned vineyards often achieve high value long term contracts from any number of the corporate wineries that target the district. The soils are generally quite fertile resulting in high maintenance vineyards and the substrates vary greatly. They range from sandy loams to red-brown duplex soils which tend to retain a healthy structure. As far as contract fruit production goes many growers do struggle with the maintenance costs of these high vigour vines. The region is heavily influenced by Italian migrants who settled the area many generations ago. It is common to see many Italian varietals planted across the whole of the North East.




Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon – 62Ha





Merlot – 153Ha



Petit Verdot

Pinot Noir – 38Ha



Shiraz – 44Ha





Chardonnay – 87Ha


Moscato Giallo

Petit Manseng

Pinot Gris




Sauvignon Blanc – 35Ha


Tocai Friulano







The city of Bendigo is the heart of the district around 150km north of the capital city of Melbourne. A regional economic centre the region is an attractive destination for many boutique wine entrepreneurs who have had a lifetime of success in Melbourne.

The climate is warm and relatively dry as compared to many other regions of Victoria. Rainfall averages around 500mm to 550mm annually  and the average humidity is a low of 19%. This means that disease pressure is low and many growers will farm with this in mind. When the wet years arrive many of these growers are caught in the midst of Downey Mildew events that have the potential to halt ripening. The district is also extremely frost prone towards late winter with the onset of new growth. Late frosts have been known to occur in mid to late November decimating crops. The costs of frost protection are high and the region is predominantly made of smaller boutique operations that have no budget for the capital expenditure.

The region is 3000km squared and has a diverse range of soils with the majority being brownish surface loams and clay over a stony clay base to quite acidic soils, yellow-brown in colour. Jackson and Schuster (1981) typify the region’s soils as "sandy gravel, volcanic basalt or clay loams mostly over clay sub-soils.

Volcanic Plains; Soils are red gradational and duplex on generally well drained slopes

Alluvial Flood Plains; Predominantly brown loamy soils. Red duplex soils with sandy loam top soils and non-mottled clay sub-soils.

Granite Hills; Gentle slopes and crests feature yellow and yellow grey duplex soils [southern granites] and red duplex soils[northern granites].

Sedimentary Rises; Shallow stony gradational or uniform soils typify rocky crests and red or yellow duplex soils.

Due to the number of average heat days the region has the capacity to ripen many varieties to `optimum ripeness’, the core varieties grown are;

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet franc, Malbec, Mataro, Sangiovese, Touriga

-          Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Traminer.

Shiraz and Cabernet are famous internationally for their natural balance and texturally velvet characters. The further north through the district the more seamless the wines become and the more suited to shiraz and cabernet harnessing the regions famous reputation.


Located on the Corio Bay of Port Phillip Bay in Victoria this region is heavily influenced by the offshore winds of Bass Strait. The region is just 75km’s from Melbourne and is home to 52 cellar doors and many more vineyards. The wine industry did not start here until the 1960’s but has grown a strong reputation for a versatile range of reds and whites.

The climate is not as forgiving as one may think, with an average rainfall between 500 and 600mm annually drip irrigation is essential as most of the rainfall is outside the boundaries of the growing season. Offshore winds are high all year round, this does keep disease pressure very low as the leaves remain dry and diseases such as Powdrey Mildew and Downey Mildew have trouble getting a genuine foothold. But this does make life difficult for varieties like Merlot which are sensitive to high winds through flowering resulting in naturally low yields.

The Sub-regions of Geelong are;

Moorabool Valley; Located on the northern side of the city of Geelong and experiences lower winds and slightly warmer conditions. The soils are black topsoils over volcanic deposits, some believe that limestone is present deep under the vines but it is yet to be confirmed.

Bellarine Peninsula; Located southeast of the city of Geelong and heavily influenced by offshore winds and very cool all year round. The climate is wet in comparison to the other sub-regions and soils are high in sand content. The vines are generally high vigour and slightly more disease prone as a result, meaning that high maintenance is required by those seeking premium fruit.

Surf Coast; Located right on the coast line this region is heavily influenced by offshore winds temperatures and salt. This region is cold and harsh with challenging ripening conditions. The soils are shale clays and sands with gravel content. Old vines exist here but it is a small district.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Grenache

-          Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viogner, Gewurtztraminer, Trebbiano, Marsanne, Riesling, Semillon

The mean January temperature is 19 degrees throughout the district and the elevation rises from the coast at sea level up to around 400 metres above sea level.

Phylloxera once decimated this district, not the bug itself but the government of the day forcing growers to pull vines to halt the bugs infestation and migration. Thankfully the Selton Family replanted in the 1960’s and many more have followed. 


This is a large region running from the NSW border south along the coast to Wonthaggi and inland to the Great Dividing Range. Including Wilsons Promontory and Phillip Island the region extends to just below Melbourne and is thought to be some 41,500 square km’s in size.

The region has around 50 wineries who are mostly small family boutique business’s who never existed beyond the 1970’s. The region is young and can be separated into three unofficial sub-regions;

South Gippsland; located between the Strzelecki Ranges and Bass Strait, it extends southeast to Leongatha and Foster including Phillip Island which hosts one producer. This district is cold to cool climate viticulture and heavily affected by Offshore Bass Strait winds and weather. This restricts the capacity to grow many varieties as the conditions are challenging and wetter than the other sub-regions.

East Gippsland; located between Traralgon and Mallacoota extending from the lakes district north to Omeo in the alpine area. This region can experience drought as it is where two weather systems collide from the north and west. Low rainfall and a slightly higher average temperature make this district versatile, allowing it to ripen Cabernet in most years.

West Gippsland; located between Bunyip River and Traralgon and extending North to Mount Baw Baw this district experiences warmer conditions with less wind resulting in wines of lifted aromatics and rich fruit textures. Disease pressure is moderate and probably the most diverse of the three sub-regions and now starting to emerge as a sparkling wine district.

The soils range between black loams to lighter sands with gravel and underlying clay and retain moderate drainage. For the most part the Gippsland soils are rich fertile lands that historically have been exceptional cattle and sheep properties. High vigour is an issue for most Gippsland vineyards even though rain fall ranges between 420mm and 998mm annually. Altitude is generally between sea level and a mere 83 metres above sea level and average temperature is 19.6 to 20.4 degrees.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet

-          Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Gris, Semillon, Traminer

Goulburn Valley

At the heart of the Goulburn Valley lies Shepparton around 181km north east of Melbourne within the Central Victorian grape growing district. To the south is the Great Dividing Range and to the north lies the Murray River, bordering with NSW. Nagambi Lakes is a sub-region within its borders and is home to some of the oldest Marsanne Vines in the world.

The region is a major irrigation district and is considered the fruit bowl of Australia. The Goulburn River is its main artery and over the decades man has built hundreds of kilometres of water channels to irrigate vast areas of land. Viticulture is considered to be of lesser importance historically to the Australian demand for stonefruit, apples and citrus.

The climate is warm with relatively balanced growing conditions provided by the large lakes and tributaries that dominate the district with the Goulburn River itself. Rainfall ranges between 590mm and 670mm annually which is extremely low and results in the rivers being the lifeblood of the industry. Mean January temperatures vary between 21.1 degrees in the south at Seymour and 23.55 degrees in the north at Yarrawonga. The undulating hills in the south assist to fight frost as they create natural airflows that push the cold inversion layers down through the valleys but in the north the land is flat offering very little escape through mid to late November into mid December.

The Goulburn ranges between 150 metres above sea level and 350 metres above sea level with most of the higher country being around Seymour and Euroa. The soils of the district are of many types and generally can fall into three main brackets;

-          Red and brown sandy loams [of South Australia].

-          Yellow-brown clay loams

-          Gravelly quartzose sands following the migration of the Goulburn River

The sand of the region has kept phylloxera at bay over the decades but these river flats can promote high vigour resulting in high maintenance blocks that need some work to assist ripening. The region is considered to be geographically in a similar position to the Rhone Valley in France and can explain why the region has an abundance of varieties that can achieve optimal ripeness.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Sangiovese, Merlot, Tarango, Durif, Dolcetto, Grenache, Mouvedre

-          Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viogner, Riesling, Maranne, Rousanne


Located 250kms west oraf the city of Melbourne in the Western Victorian viticultural district. Situated in between the Grampians national Park and the Pyrenees Hills. The region represents some of the most important vine history for the state of Victoria and Shiraz is the reason why it continues to be famous today.

The Grampians region is generally around an elevation of 250 metres to 350 metres above sea level with the highest peaks being 1000 metres above sea level. The altitude keeps the region cool and wet with an average temperature of 20.5 degrees which is quite cool given its more northerly aspect. Rainfall fall is typically around 480mm to 520mm which is near perfect for getting the most out of ripening both Shiraz and Cabernet ensuring that disease pressure is low and leaf loss is avoided through the months of January and February.

The Grampians National Park is the main influence in the region and the predominant underlying ground formation is granite and quartz. The top soils are sandy loam with quartz and gravel deposits with deep hard clay. The most sought after soils are red clay loams over shaley parent material that offer optimal drainage and natural nutrient availability.[Ordovician period consisting of mudstones and dolomite shales with reddish chocolate and red solodic soils..... and Devonian granites and rhyolites decomposed to form reddish sandy loams]. The soils are only moderately fertile which assists to retain balanced vigour but the vineyards on the more flat country away from the Valley walls or hill slopes are frost prone. The relatively hard growing conditions help to keep the vine focused on ripening fruit instead of producing too much unnecessary leaf. This intensifies fruit textures and aromatics, the granite and quartz deposits will assist in the natural structure of the wines creating wines of some longevity and varietal definition.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Dolcetto, Sangiovese

-          Chardonnay, Riesling

There are now 20 vineyard/ wineries that enjoy the cool climate that the Grampians offer and most have cellar doors. While most are young the heritage of the early pioneers is being preserved by the new breed of western district winemakers.

Heathcote Region

Heathcote is located 110km north of Melbourne situated in between Nagambi to the east and Bendigo to the west. The region ranges between 160metres and 380 metres above sea level and is 100 kilometres long and40 kilometres wide at its widest point.

The climate and soils are influenced most by the Mount Camel Range which runs along the western boundary. The ancient volcanic soils are varied in content throughout the region but it is around the Mount Camel just north of Heathcote town where the soils retain a finely structured deep red soil overlaying textured red calcareous sodic clay soils. This soil type is commonly known as Cambrian Greenstone and is where the general term of Heathcote Cambrian earth comes from, even though the locals refer to the area as `the Heathcote Greenstone belt’. The soils here are rich in mineral trace elements and iron. This aids in the development of natural tannin, acid and a balanced optimal ripeness leading to premium wines that will age over a longer term period.

In districts further from Mount Camel the acclaimed Heathcote Terrosa runs through the district in formations similar in shape to lightening bolts and is not uniform in its positioning throughout the region. This has lead to some confusion over the years as to who is really situated over Cambrian earth. But the proof is in the final product and many lovers of the Heathcote style will all have their own opinion.

The climate is warm to hot and most vineyards these days are drip irrigating due to the scarcity of ground water in the district. The mean January temperature is 21 degrees which is 2 degrees cooler than Bendigo. This will allow a more natural acid structure to be present requiring less artificial adjustment. The average rainfall throughout the growing season is 279mm and in general is evenly spread throughout. The heat of the growing season tends to prevent disease and it is the natural airflow directed through the region from the Mount Camel Ranges that cool the vines and potentially dry diseases before they spread. The nights are cool and for the most part vineyards are planted on the mid to upper slope of the region avoiding serious frost concerns.

Currently their is around 70 to 100 wineries with around 40 active cellar doors and the core variety is;

-           Shiraz – 775Ha                      -  Chardonnay – 143Ha

-          Cabernet – 126Ha                  -              Viogner – 40Ha

-          Merlot – 63Ha                        - Riesling – 29Ha

-          Tempranillo – 30Ha               -  Pinot Gris

-          Sangiovese – 25Ha                 -  Traminer

-          Grenache – 23Ha                   -  Marsanne

The region has been blessed by strong recognition and effective marketing over the last ten years. This has seen the viticultural plantings greatly increase and the reputation of Heathcote becoming the home of Victorian Shiraz growing as exporters search for an alternative to the Barossa Valley grow.


Located 300km west of the city of Melbourne and 500km east of the city of Adelaide Henty is the coolest viticultural district in Australia. Previously known as the Drumborg region or South West corner of Victoria.

With an average of 836mm of rain close to the coast and 691mm of rain annually inland at Hamilton the region has moderate rainfall, but there are small pockets that see far less and irrigation is generally essential. The vineyards that are closer to the coast than Hamilton create extremely long lived wines of some natural structure with a fine acid balance and it’s near constant offshore wind that keeps frost at bay but can also play havoc with yield on the vine at flowering so site selection is important and for the most part a sheltered North or North East slope is preferred.

Altitude ranges between 20 metres above sea level at the coast of Portland and 200 metres above sea level around Hamilton. The region is known for having limestone throughout the more southerly vineyards and the bulk of the soil types fall into the following categories,

-          Cobboboonee basalt soil

-          Weathered basalt with gravelly loam topsoil over red clay

-          Black volcanic clay

-          Maritime sandy loam over limestone

-          Patches of Terra Rossa over limestone

Mean January temperature is between 17.7 degrees in the north at Hamilton and 17.25 degrees at the coast of Portland. Showing that the search for the right soil is more important than simply focusing on climate data. The biggest issue for the district is that humidity tends to hover between 64% and 76% through out the growing season, disease pressure is high and given that the climate can be dryer Powdrey Mildew may be of the greatest concern. The benefit of being close to the coast may mean that for some vineyards the offshore winds will dry disease events out before they can cause fruit concerns reducing the need for chemical application.

The cool climate means that the region is familiar with Canterbury Plains on the south Island of New Zealand and Rhine Valley and Burgundy of Northern Europe. The oldest vines exist within the original Seppelts Vineyard called Drumborg and was planted back in 1964 by Karl Seppelt after he surveyed both Padthaway and Western Victoria.

 The core varieties grown are;

-          Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Merlot

-          Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc

King Valley

The King Valley is located north of Mansfield in Victoria at the entrance to the Victorian high country. The region runs for 25km’s past the plains at Oxley into the foothills of the ski fields. The valley continues in a narrow band lined by dense forest which has proven to be bushfire prone. The ground here is fertile and appeals to many grape varieties.

Following the end of World War II, a large number of Italian, Yugoslav and Spanish migrants settled in the area and established tobacco farms. Following a decline in the tobacco industry in the late 70s, local farmers branched out into other crops such as chestnuts, hops and berries. In recent years, a number of vineyards have been established.

The region is home to 75 families who drive the high standards of viticulture and research the district is known for. This has meant that the fruit is highly sought after and is now the largest premium fruit region in Australia.

The elevation of the vineyards range between 155 metres and 860 metres above sea level. With an average rainfall between 640mm in the low country and 1410mm in the high country. The regional characters vary greatly across these heights as much as the varieties grown. Currently the region is home to 1100 Ha of reds and 400Ha of whites.

The soils are a mix of older alluvial terrace, residual basalt parent material, shallow sandstone, alluvial/collovial, recent alluvial and weathering siltstone. With such a vastly changing content site selection is key to maximising fruit quality.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Durif, Gamay, Mondeuse, Muscat, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Meunier, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Sangiovese

-          Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Traminer, Verdelho, Viogner, Whit Frontignac, Pinot Grigio/ Gris, Graziano, Marzemino.

Macedon Ranges

Located 85.6km north-west from the city of Melbourne the region is between Daylesford to the west, Kyneton in the north, Lancefield in the east and Gisborne in the south. The districts holds the reputation for being the coolest viticultural region in Australia and was first planted to vines in the mid 1880’s.

The climate is very different between the north and south and the region has been a major supplier of quality fruit for sparkling wine production as in some years fruit will often not ripen past sparkling requirements. This is predominantly a southern Macedon issue as the slightly lifted heat in the north will allow quality table wines that exhibit a natural backbone to be produced. Average annual rainfall in the south is 845mm and in the north it is 753mm with between 50% and 60% falling during the growing season. Altitude ranges between 300 metres and 700 metres above sea level and the northern districts see near constant winds which assist the district to retain its cool climate standing. Mean January temperature in the south is a low of 17.05 degrees and in the north 18.5 is the mean. Relative humidity ranges between 51% and 54% with a low of 933 heat degree days in the south and 1050 heat degree days in the north. This is a tough growing environment where low yields are essential to achieve optimal ripeness every vintage. Frost is rarely an issue due to the altitude but site selection is the key. Varietals must be matched to each site and with a mind of the final product in order to see success but even so some vintages will simply not be fruitful. For this reason the district remains the home of the boutique investor after a lifestyle more than a high reliable return.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Chardonnay, Riesling

-          Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot

The soils of the region are;

-          Granitic sandy loams

-          Patches of deep loams on valley floors and walls

Many Yarra Valley growers source sparkling base fruit from the Macedon Ranges as it offers the structure to offset the Yarra Valley regional characters. This will continue for some time and even with the challenges of viticulture the Macedon Ranges district is expanding quickly. But it will be a long time until corporate Australia invests. 

Mornington Peninsula

Located over 40km south east of the city of Melbourne the region extends south of Frankston for around 40km at a width of 15 to 25 km. Extending 15 km to the west-north it tapers down to 2km in width at Point Nepean. The region is surrounded by the sea providing for a maritime climate and slow ripening and has 190km of coast line. The region was re-started in 1970 by Bailleu Myer who realised its rich viticultural history on the world stage.

The altitude rises from sea level to around 305 metres above sea level with the landscape being more hilly and undulating in the south and flat heading to the north at the connection to the mainland. Rainfall is reliable with an average of 350mm falling during the growing season as is average higher humidity at 55%, if it were not for the offshore winds drying the vine leaves the region would be most challenging to ripen fruit. Mean January temperature is between 18.8 and 20 degrees meaning that most growers must have a fairly robust spray program if they are to guard against disease events, as a wet year in Mornington can ruin whole crops.  That being said irrigation is essential due to the well drained soils with low water holding capacity.

The region has around 60 vineyards and 50 cellar doors which are predominantly small boutique enterprises, currently the region is host to over 659Ha of vines with limited scope for expansion as the residential living increases annually.

The soils of the region generally fall into the following brackets;

Dromana Area; Hard mottled yellow duplex soils with a very distinct break marked by a thin, acid cement/ sand pan between the surface soil and the underlying friable, well drained clay.

Red Hill + Main Ridge Areas; Red volcanic [kraznozems] soils being deep and fertile.

Merricks Area; Brown duplex soils with heavy sand content.

The success of the district is seen in the export market as 70% of all production volume is sent off shore to just five countries, U.K, U.S, Sweden, Canada and China. This is a premium region with a high average bottle sale price four times higher than the Australian average of $3.82/ bottle. Currently the region produces over 207,000 litres of liquid proving vital to the Australian industry.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Meunier, Dolcetto

-          Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viogner, Riesling

Mornington will continue to succeed as the new breed of winemaker makes their mark in coming decades.

Murray Darling

Located in North West Victoria straddling the Murray into the Big River zone of NSW the region accounts for 25% of the national crush and is second only to the Riverland in South Australia. Producing close to 400,000 tonnes of fruit it is the white varieties that dominate with 60% of land dedicated to the many planted varieties. The region stretches 350km from the South Australian border and also produces sultana and table grapes.

The climate is hot and dry with long [2083] sunshine hours, humidity is low and seasonal rainfall is only 130mm to 150mm. This is a region that is not typically disease prone but is heavily reliant on irrigation. These days up to 60% of the 24,000 Ha under vine are drip irrigated but the old methods of flood irrigation still exist in some parts. With a minimum temperature of 10.3 degrees this is not a frost zone thanks to its inland location. These factors make it possible for the vines to ripen big yields as the reasonably fertile soils are also able to support the required fruit yields, but the water requirement is significant farmers are most under pressure by quickly rising water allocation prices that are competing with the low values per tonne of fruit in recent times.

The soils are;

Calcareous earth; brown to red-brown loamy, sandy loam or loam

With a generally flat landscape the region does have trouble if their too much rain late in the season as natural runoff is limited and drainage is not the regions strong point. This is a district that is reliable in production and for that reason attracts investment on many levels but mainly from corporate Australia. However in the last ten years the region has seen a rise in boutique operations and now there are over 40 cellar doors, both corporate and boutique. The region remains a mass production region that sees over 71 million litres of wine export annually.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Chardonnay, Sultana, Muscat Gordo, Colombard, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Ruby Cabernet

Pyrenees Region

With an altitude of between 200metres to 750 metres above sea level the picturesque Pyrenees are located 70km’s north west of Ballarat in the Western Victoria viticultural district. On the northern edge of the Grampians the region consists of gentle undulating slopes small valleys with sub-valleys that present a unique micro-climate. Most vineyards range between 203 metres and 460 metres.

The soils are a mix of sandy loams, grey-brown and brown sandy loams that are `heavy’ requiring regular gypsum and lime amelioration to maintain good viticultural density and PH. As a result the vineyards are low to moderate in vigour forcing the vine to focus its energy on ripening low yields of rich fruit flavours often high in tannin yet retaining natural structure and balance. More recently site section has favoured planting white varieties over red sandstones to lift flavour and aromatics, this has proven of benefit to producing sparkling wines which the region has grown a significant reputation for.

Generally the summer growing months taper off into a long cool ripening period. The humidity is low as is rainfall in most vintages. Mean January temperature is 20.8 degrees and average humidity is around 65%. Annual rainfall is 541mm meaning that irrigation is essential to maintaining vine health on the well draining sandy soils. Having low vigour does expose the vine to fluctuations in environmental conditions and maintaining leaf cover is a core priority through the warmer months of January and February.    

Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s the region was host to eight wineries, today as a result of many plantings in the 1990’s that has expanded to twenty plus. The core varieties grown are;

-          Sauvignon Blanc                        -           Shiraz               -           Nebbiolo

-          Chardonnay                  -           Cabernet           -           Tempranillo

-          Viogner                                    -           Merlot

-          Cabernet Franc              -           Grenache

Most of the vineyard area exists between the town of Avoca, Redbank and a settlement at Moonambel. The highest point is Mount Avoca at 747metres above sea level and Mount Warrenmang at 537 metres above sea level. The Avoca River runs through the region north to south but many vineyards rely on dam water catchments or bore water entitlements. 


Located 280km north of the city of Melbourne on the border with New South Wales along the Murray River. This is one of Australia’s oldest regions with the original plantings dating back to 1851 when Edwin Sanger of Corowa and Lindsay Brown at Browns Plains started the now internationally famous region. The district survived the Phylloxera years and forged a reputation for producing quality fortified wines that to this day are exported the world over.

 Altitude ranges between 150 metres and 250 metres with the most sort after locations being on the lower slope of the hills and flat farming country surrounding the town of Rutherglen. Mean January temperature is a high of 22.3 degrees and the region boasts 1770 heat degree days. This allows the vines to ripen higher than average yields and with the Murray River forming its northern border water availability is adequate to provide the energy to achieve premium fruit quality. Average annual rainfall is a low of 586mm and humidity is also low providing for a low disease threat this is great for supporting higher yields as a crowded canopy often creates disease events due to the decreased natural airflow. Frost is rarely an issue due to the elevated daily temperatures but the district does experience low night temperatures and a frost can occur at budburst and the flat landscape provides very little drainage to protect most estates.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Chardonnay, Riesling, Marsanne.

-          Shiraz, Cabrenet, Merlot, Durif, Sangiovese, Gamay

The region is host to 21 wineries with many being multi-generational estates of significant size. Rutherglen is also host to corporate Australia due to its reliable fruit and yield production.

The soils of the region are;

-          Lower slopes; red clay loam

-          Murray flats; alluvial black sandy loam

The wines produced here have appeal throughout both low end price points and high end and it is the relatively low production costs that have enabled the wines to achieve global success. Rutherglen is part of the Australian wine story and the rich heritage will continue to grow as the new generation of winemaker challenge the region to grow as it always has done. 

Strathbogie Ranges

Located 110km from the city of Melbourne at its most southern point and 195km from Melbourne at Benalla, its most northern point. The region stretches from the Hume Highway to the west and the Maroondah Highway to the east. The region was first planted by the Tisdall and Plunket families between 1968 and 1972 and was officially recognised as a G.I in 2001.

Altitude ranges between 150 metres and 650 metres above sea level with most vineyards being situated below 550 metres. This is high altitude cool climate viticulture and a region where many corporate estates source fruit for their natural structure and elegance. Average annual rainfall is 979mm with around half falling during the season but due to the well draining slopes irrigation is essential and generally dam water is vital to capture and retain most requirements. Mean January temperature is 19.15 degrees with an average humidity of 47% showing that disease pressure is moderate and offers some reliability of fruit quality. With the exception of Domain Chandon most corporate source fruit here through contract growing and purchasing rather than land ownership.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir,

The soils of the district are generally from decomposed granite;

-          Alluvial, colluvial sands and sandy loams

-          Generally high acid [ph 4-5]

-          High content of fractured quartz and ironstone

-          Gravel over clay or solid granite

Today there are 7 wineries and 26 vineyards over 1500Ha which service the ever growing need to supply fruit to both corporate and boutique investors. Without the pioneering work by the Plunket family over the last 40 years this region would still be undiscovered. Today the regions fruit continues to win awards all over the world and is forging a strong international reputation.

Upper Goulbourn

Located between the Yarra Valley at Glenburn to the foothills of the Victorian Ski fields of Mt Buller. The upper Goulbourn district is also a major water catchment area for the Murray Darling basin. The Goulbourn River is the artery that feeds the rich farming heritage and Lake Eildon is at the heart of the district.

Average rainfall is between 600mm and 1400mm a year. The region being known for significant rain and hail storms early in the growing season. The district is extremely frost prone and black frost is a constant threat through the drier years. Disease pressure is high as humidity increases quickly in the presence of extended rain making the district challenging for those growing organically or biodynamically. Powdrey Mildew and Downey Mildew are the biggest challenges and many sites are prone to high vigour resulting in high maintenance costs to manage the presence of disease.

The results of this hard work prove to be worth it as the region has gained a strong reputation for Shiraz, Pinot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Generally the region is very hard growing, the ground is like concrete in the warmer months and consists of sandy loams over deep compact clay and clay loams. Clay does hold water but when it dries out the vines become reliant on drip irrigation and additional nutrient supply. The elevation starts at 230 metres above sea level and rises to around 700 metres above sea level when heading north to the foothills of Mt Buller. This opens up the opportunity to grow many varieties and the core varieties grown are;

-          Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meurnier, Dolcetto, Cabernet,

-          Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Rousanne, Marsanne, Viogner, Pinot Gris

 Known as the gateway to the Victorian High Country the region has recently been renamed from the `Central Victorian High Country’. It was felt that the name did not represent the diversity on offer and limited perception in the market place. 

Yarra Valley

Located on the outer north east rim of the city of Melbourne between Lilydale in the south and Marysville in the North. First planted in 1838 but it was not to last and in the late 1960’s replanting began. Today the region is host to over 55 wineries and around 40 cellar doors. This region has been discovered and dragged along by significant corporate investment throughout the decades as operators jostle for positioning in the most prized central to north locations.

Average seasonal rainfall is 400mm but the region is known for having quite wet seasons every few years and the humidity tends to follow suit and increase as rainfall does. This is a disease prone district where site selection to suit the variety is crucial. Altitude ranges between 50 and 400 metres and tends to increase the further one travels inland towards Healesville. Mean January temperature is a low of 17.9 degrees to 19.4 degrees making the district cool climate with a long ripening phase in most years. The region can also experience very dry years where frost is the greatest threat and due to the undulating land with very little natural drainage the region has been known to suffer losses of fruit of up to 80%.

The core varieties grown are;

-          Chardonnay, Viogner, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Riesling, Gervurtztraminer, Verduzzo.

-          Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Dolcetto, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Malbec, Sangiovese, Nebiollo.

The region has been historically strong farming country and some parts would be considered valuable for the natural fertility. So it is interesting that vineyards should now occupy the landscape where lower vigour is preferred to maximise the potential to ripen fruit adequately.

North Yarra Valley;

-          Grey to grey-brown surface soils with loamy sand- clay loam and red-brown clay subsoils.

-          Acidic soils

-          Lower fertility

-          Well draining

South Yarra Valley;

-          Deep fertile red volcanic soil

Currently the region is planted to over 3,600Ha of vines and crushes around 19,000 tonnes of fruit. The region is the oldest region in Victoria and has become a standout performer on both the local and international stage. The Yarra Valley is part of the Australian identity and a major tourism destination.

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Under the liquor control reform act 1999 it is an offence

– To supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years of age [penalty exceeds $8,000.00] – For a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor. [penalty exceeds $700.00] – Liquor Licence number – 33764483 – Liquor Licence number – 36132334 – ABN – 77 145 084 055