Australian Wines Uncorked: Regional Victoria

A range of outstanding wineries are hidden in the rural landscapes of Victoria, offering a great day trip or weekend adventure. One of the oldest wineries in Victoria, Tahbilk, was established in 1860 and offers an unforgettable wine tourism experience only 90 minutes north of Melbourne City. The property is located within an idyllic Australian bushland natural setting, oozing with the character of yesteryear - historical buildings, large barns, vineyards, old agricultural sheds filled with vintage winemaking equipment, and an impressive underground cellar with the enormous old storage barrels.

The Goulburn Valley/Nagambie Lakes wine region is warm climate and soils can vary, but are predominantly sandy loam to heavy clay. Some of the key wine styles that characterize the area include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marsanne, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Tahbilk was established by one of 'Australia's first families of wine'. Indeed Tahbilk has made a significant contribution to the wine industry over five generations of the Purbrick family and shows an ongoing dedication to the pursuit of excellent wine and a long-held passion for winemaking and viticulture.

The range of wine on offer is extensive, from Roussanne, Viognier, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Marsanne, and Rose, to Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Tawny, and Muscat.  The bottles range from around $20 AUD to premium or collectible wines such as the 1994 '1860 vines' Shiraz Magnum at $985 AUD.

The Winery has received the prestigious Wine Companion 'Winery of the Year' Award from James Halliday AM and has received many medals over the years reflecting high quality. 

Wine Review - Marsanne 

A wine that is truly celebrated is the gold award winning Marsanne 2012 made from the 1927 vines. What a delight!

The aroma of peach, floral notes and familiar scent of honeydew melon and buttered caramel, with a hint of pear, are met with crisp citrus elements that surprise the palate with acidity and lively spicy mineral flavours; being early picked and long-matured brings a certain complexity and balance that creates a refreshing yet composed, robust wine. 

It carries you away like the sweet embrace of the foxtrot during the Jazz Age with its timeless taste and personality. The Marsanne would make a decadent pairing with soft cheese, duck or delicate seafood dishes.  A total of 5801 bottles have been produced. My bottle was #4785. The cost is great value at $45 AUD.

It is impressive to note that the winery has strong sustainability principles and has been carbon neutral since 2013. There is a sense of warmth about the premises created through the comforting historical ambiance, holistic approach, knowledgeable staff, delighted visitors, and the natural setting. These ingredients combine to make the most memorable place. 

2012 Marsanne
In the historic barn/cellar door

High above the riverfront sits a large modern cafe/restaurant with open doors to the generous deck and gorgeous views across the water and treetops. The menu is delicious. Visitors can take an ecotour through the natural environment, enjoy wildlife and wetlands, and take a boat trip along the river at Tahbilk.

Wetlands and River at Tahbilk
Vineyards, Tahbilk
Mitchelton Winery

Another stunning winery nearby is Mitchelton, with a modern cellar door/wine shop, new hotel, art gallery, provedore, and restaurant with green lawns stretching to the edge of the river for boat tours. The seasonal menu selection at The Muse is fantastic. 

Mitchelton is a place where you can indulge the senses, through the day spa, delightful cuisine, chocolate treats, regional produce, fine wine, music, and art, and you can immerse yourself in nature. This is often a place that is animated with events, such as outdoor cinema, food and wine functions, and weddings.


Hotel at Mitchelton
Cellar Door at Mitchelton

The Mitchelton Gallery of Aboriginal Art is absolutely amazing and reflects the beautiful culture of Australia's first people. Read more about the gallery at the Mitchelton site via this link.

Mitchelton Gallery of Aboriginal Art

The charming lakeside town of Nagambie is nearby and offers a quaint market, antiques, shops and accommodation options from camping to hotels and bed and breakfasts. There are a number of wineries in the area to explore. 

The land in the region is predominantly used for agriculture, with round hay bales creating a familiar farmland setting or expansive fields of bright yellow cheerful canola.

Fowles Wine 

A short drive towards the granite Strathbogie Ranges is Fowles wine with its notable art deco and bold branding 'ladies who shoot their lunch' wine labels; their operating philosophy is based around sustainable 'real food' - using either wild or homegrown meat and vegetables and creating high-quality wines that match local food. 

The restaurant has an outstanding menu and the award-winning Riesling is divine.  The Cellar Door not only presents an impressive array of wines, but delicious preserves such as beetroot chutney, and a selection of books that promote the 'farm to table' concept.

Wines, Preserves, and Goods at Fowles
Fowles Riesling

Fowles within the Strathbogie Ranges landscape 

The area presents a rich combination of Australian landscapes, countryside vineyards, luscious food and wine, and historic towns.

Victoria's Wine Regions - A Snapshot
Victoria has many wine regions and notable destinations to experience including:

  • Bendigo in central Victoria (a major City with many historic buildings, attractions, and gold mining history). 
  • Beechworth in north-eastern Victoria (a popular historic tourist town with forests and mountains, not to mention the infamous Beechworth Bakery). 
  • Rutherglen in north-eastern Victoria (three hours drive from Melbourne, bordering New South Wales, this is a significant wine region and tourist destination with historic towns, festivals, and events). 
  • Heathcote in central Victoria (a beautiful natural environment and quaint town, with many wineries and events). 
  • Macedon Ranges in north-western Victoria (with towns/vineyards in Kyneton, Lancefield, Gisborne, Woodend, Mount Macedon, Romsey - and home of the famous natural landmark 'Hanging Rock'). 
  • Yarra Valley in eastern Victoria (significant historic/established wine region with notable towns including Healesville and Yarra Glen). 
  • Mornington Peninsula in southern Victoria (with many beautiful coastal and hinterland towns and stunning scenery). 
  • Geelong - Port Phillip, in Western Victoria, (a major port city located along the coastal tourist route of the Bellarine Peninsula). 
  • Sunbury in north-western Victoria, close to Melbourne. 
  • Goulburn Valley/Nagambie Lakes in central Victoria (attractions include Nagambie Lakes, Goulburn River, Murray River, a popular destination for camping/holidays with many great towns to visit from Nagambie, Strathbogie, Violet Town and Euroa to Shepparton, Numurkah, Nathalia and Cobram. A well-known area for fruit growing). 
  • Strathbogie Ranges in Central Victoria. 
  • Alpine Valley in north-eastern Victoria (located in the great dividing ranges). 
  • Gippsland in south-eastern Victoria (with notable coastal attraction Lakes Entrance). 
  • Grampians in Western Victoria (a beautifully natural, mountainous destination). 
  • Pyrenees in Western Victoria (located in the Pyrenees Ranges, with small towns such as Avoca and located only 30 minutes from the major historical city of Ballarat). 
  • Henty in western Victoria, bordering South Australia (main towns are Warrnambool, Hamilton, and Portland). 
Please note that driving times vary but most locations in Victoria are between 1-3 hours distance from Melbourne. Melbourne is located approximately 8.5 hours driving time from Sydney (in New South Wales) or 8 hours from Adelaide (in South Australia). You may choose to take a driving holiday from New South Wales or South Australia to Victoria and enjoy the many great attractions along the way.

Perhaps you might like to share your favourite wine regions in Victoria and favourite places to visit?

Cuvee Corner Wine Blog Contributor: Beige Pureau, Yarra Valley, Australia

Twitter: @BeigePureau

Photos: © Beige Pureau


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