The Victorian wine region you’ve probably never heard of
Discover Victoria’s vine-blanketed backyard on a Goulburn Valley road trip.
Winter rarely receives a warm welcome. But for avid vinophiles, the arrival of the chill season signifies one thing: red wine. Riesling and rose might suffice in the summer months but as soon as the clock strikes June, those refreshing whites and pretty-in-pinks are replaced with rich, full-bodied reds (and, dare we say it, fortifieds).
If you’re up for a wine-soaked weekend away, these are five cellar doors to visit in Victoria’s lower Goulburn Valley wine region.
Stop in for lunch along the way at Box Grove Vineyard.
Five of the Lower Goulburn Valley’s best cellar doors
Though the Goulburn Valley has long been synonymous with aromatic white wines such as marsanne and viognier, this eclectic, undiscovered wine region is fast becoming known for its elegant, European-inspired reds. Perennial favourites shiraz and cabernet still predominate, but increasing numbers of producers are experimenting with lesser-known French varieties such as mourvedre, durif and petit verdot, as well as classic Italian grapes such as sangiovese, barbera and primitivo.
This sun-drenched Dookie cellar door is one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets. Enjoy a regional produce platter, local cheese platter or even a local dukkah plate, all with matched wines, while taking in panoramic views out to pristine Goulburn plains. Try the Silent Showman Shiraz or the new vintage sangiovese. Open from 11am, Tuesday to Sunday.
195 Major Plains Road, Dookie. Visit: talliswine.com.au
This award-winning winery was established by Carlo Monichino, who migrated to Australia from Piedmont, in Italy’s north, in 1949. After studying winemaking at a college in Dookie, together with his wife, Margaret, he opened his original cellar door in 1962. More than 50 years later, the winery is still run by the Monichino family, who are continuing Carlo’s legacy of experimenting with interesting and innovative red and white grape varieties. Their specialities include Italian varietals pinot grigio and barbera. Open 10am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
70 Berrys Road, Katunga. Visit: monichino.com.au
Kensal Estate Winery
If you’re looking for boutique wines, ciders, liqueurs and fortifieds, Kensal is the cellar door for you. Visitors to this welcoming winery can try a range of red and white wines, as well as Orange Cello, Lemon Cello, Liqueur Muscat, Tawny and house-made ciders. Rumour has it they even have a 1936 Pedro Ximenez. Open 8am to 11am weekdays, or weekends by appointment.
134 Murray Valley Highway, Cobram. Ph: 0419 331 705
Cosy up by the fireplace at Tallis Wine, Dookie. Image: Facebook.
Or enjoy a romantic dinner. Image: Tallis, via Facebook
Broken River Vineyards
If you like your reds big, bold and juicy, you’ll love Broken River’s range of bold shiraz and shiraz-based blends (try the GSM – grenache, shiraz, mourvedre). Their award-winning sparkling shiraz, which is bottle fermented, is also a real treat. Open 10am to 5pm, Friday to Sunday, or by appointment.
425 River Road, Kialla. Visit: brokenrivervineyards.com.au
Wine and cheese are a match made in heaven. And, at Longleat, established in 1975, they do not take this pairing lightly. Relax under the vine-covered pergola overlooking the vineyard while enjoying wines made from hand-picked grapes matched with hand-made Vazzoler cheeses and homemade bread (pre-bookings required). Their Ragazzone red is a must-try and is made in the same style as northern Italy’s famous Amarone wines, where the grapes are left to dry on the vines producing wines that are full-bodied and intensely flavoured. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm. Lunch by booking only.
105 Old Weir Rd, Murchison. Visit: murchisonwines.com.au
Stop in at...
If you find yourself feeling peckish along the way, stop in for a tasting and local platter at Box Grove Vineyard. This small, family-run winery is all about hospitality. Enjoy an intimate tasting at Osteria at Box Grove, where you can talk to the person who planted the vines, tends them all year and makes the wine. If you visit in winter there is a roaring fire and, in summer, a cool verandah to sit on and look out over the creek and river redgums while you taste. Tastings are by appointment only so make sure you call ahead. Don't forget to ask for one of their famous farmhouse platters, which comes spilling with salami from Heathcote, smoked pastrami from an artisanal butcher in Seymour and traditional leg ham from Avenel, along with crusty bread, homemade giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables) and olives from the farm. If you're after a more substantial feed, check out Bank Street Pizza or Harvest Home in nearby Avenel.
Watch out for...
While the cellar door is hibernating for the winter, keep your eyes open for Fyffe Field wines at local bottle shops and on local restaurant menus. Though they produce a range of classic and contemporary reds – including shiraz, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot – this northern Victoria winery is perhaps best known for its Cobram Creme liqueur – a must-try when visiting the area.
Explore the best of the Goulburn Valley from RACV Cobram Resort. Ideally located for any mighty Murray meandering, the resort’s modern, self-contained cabins are perfect for relaxing after a full day of cellar door discovery. RACV members receive 25 per cent off accommodation.