This is by no means an exhaustive list , and is focused on producers who are represented in the courses and classes. Not all wineries listed have visitor facilities so please get in touch if you need more information.
North East Victoria
Starting in the North East of course: Pizzini, Dalzotto, Christmont and Brown Brothers are all doing great things using of ‘alternative’ grape varieties. If you’re in the region make time for tasting at least 30 wines at Brown Brothers (especially the sparkling), Prosecco at Dalzotto (they even make a Champagne style Prosecco which is only available at cellar door), Arneis, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese at the beautiful Pizzini cellar door and Riesling and Petit Manseng are the standouts at Christmont. In Beechworth, don’t miss Pennyweight – who among other things is making some pretty incredible Fino style dry Sherry – and once you’ve done that head to Cellar Door Wine Store for a killer coffee and a very well curated wall of local wine to choose from. In Rutherglen, Jones are putting together snappy little lunches and lovely wines, head to Campbells to try a range of fortified wines which are older than your parents, and don’t miss Scion – for new school, innovative and a totally delicious range of wines which don’t break the bank.
Central Vic, Macedon, Grampians and Heathcote
Certainly at the cooler end of these regions is Macedon – famous for elegant, long lived Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay. Stand out producers are Bindi, Curly Flat, Hanging Rock and Granite Hills. Bendigo – where the climate warms a little, has Black Jack Wines & Bress Wine and Cider to brag about, and in Heathcote there are producers who are working wonders with Shiraz, Sangiovese, Marsanne and Rousanne. Producers here to look for are Foster e Rocco, Shelmerdine Wines & Heathcote Estate. Central Vic is the home of the century-old Tahbilk and neighbouring Mitchelton wines – both with lovely old cellar doors and lots of great wine to try – the Marsanne from this region is outstanding. The Grampians is producing some of the finest wine in Victoria – look for Bests, Mount Langi & Seppelts – who all produce exceptional (often mid-weight) Shiraz, Riesling and of course the Aussie classic Sparkling Red. And for Shiraz fans check out Rory Lane’s project Story Wines – there isn’t a cellar door but the regional range of single vineyard Shiraz based wines are awesome.
Yarra Valley and Gippsland
Yarra Valley is home to some of the most outstanding wines in the country, all served up with an extra side of glamour. If you drink one thing, drink Chardonnay and make sure it’s from Oakridge, Seville, Medhurst, Giant Steps or Coldstream. If Chardonnay is not your thing then head for Pinot Noir – opt for producers who make a range of single vineyard wines which you can line up at the tasting counter for some Pinot-enlightenment; standouts here are Giant Steps and Oakridge – both who boast beautiful cellar doors complete with excellent food. Kudos has to go to Yering Station, Yeringberg and Yarra Yering – all who offer authentic old-school tasting experiences, historical grounds, and often they’ll have a couple of bottle aged wines open to try which is always a treat. Rockstar mentions to Ar Fion, Salo, Jamsheed, Thick as Thieves, Luke Lambert and Mac Forbes – all of whom are making innovative, super cool, origin driven wines. None of these guys have a cellar door but the wines are available at the wonderful Barrique Wine Store in Healesville.
If you’re headed to Gippsland make sure to stop at Lightfoot Wines – who are doing great things with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Shiraz – all at incredible prices. Bass River make an awesome Iced-Riesling and Dirty Three Wines are producing some very seductive Pinot Noir.
Specialising in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (with honourable mentions to Pinot Gris & Shiraz + some interesting ‘alternative’ varieties) Mornington is easily accessible, beautiful and one of the most quality-driven regions in the country. Yabby Lake, Kooyong/Port Phillip and Montalto are destinations which have that true WOW factor. All of these producers have single vineyard wines on tasting for those light-bulb comparative tasting moments in addition to great food, beautiful architecture and spectacular views. For a little more subtlety, try Moorooduc, Foxeys Hangout and Merricks General Store – which cleverly combines four producers (including the innovative Quealy Estate) under the one roof. Tick! Paringa, Red Hill, Stonier and Darling Park are also worth checking out.
Geelong and the Western Coast
Full of hidden gems and beautiful country, Geelong and the Western Coast are well worth a trip for cool climate wines and country hospitality. Oakdene, Clyde Park and Bellarine Estate are standouts. If you’re headed towards South Australia schedule in a stop at Crawford River for some of the country’s most impressive Riesling.
Bear with us while we finish writing our hit-list for the rest of the country!