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Wine

Top Five Wineries and Cellar Doors to visit in Coonawarra

Discover the best of Coonawarra’s wineries and cellar doors to taste and experience the region’s delights with our guide and interactive map.

Australia’s ‘other red centre’, Coonawarra is 450kms from Melbourne and 370kms from Adelaide, and is located in the heart of South Australia’s Limestone Coast.

The region boasts some of the most sought-after vineyard soil in Australia, and with vineyards positioned just 80kms from the Southern Ocean, the vines are assured of a long, cool ripening period producing wines of fantastic balance, richness, intensity and longevity.

It’s thanks to Scottish pioneer John Riddoch, who noticed the fertility of the regions’ famed terra rossa way back in 1890, that we can enjoy some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Today, the region is home to a mix of old winemaking families and fresh new talent, and has over 25 cellar doors to visit which all offer wonderfully friendly and delicious experiences.

Here are our top five Coonawarra wineries

Di Giorgio Family Wines

Don’t miss out on visiting the family owned and operated Di Giorgio Family Wines. Their winery is the second oldest in the district, and their Coonawarra vineyard boasts some gnarly old vines that are over 115 years old.

Along with producing premium wines from Coonawarra and Lucindale, the DiGiorgio family sources specific varietal fruit from different areas of the Limestone Coast where they believe the terroir is best suited to the variety.

At Di Giorgio’s cellar door, you’re invited to taste a selection of premium wines from their extensive portfolio, plus don’t miss out on their delicious olive oils and the fabulous range of local cheeses. The shaded outdoor seating area is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine with a ‘pick your own produce’ platter.

14918 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Open daily 10am to 5pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Visit Di Giorgio Wines website

Katnook Estate

Located just 6 kilometres north of Penola on the Riddoch Highway, Katnook Estate’s historic cellar door was first built in the late 1800s by the founder of the Coonawarra wine region, John Riddoch.  

Today, the beautifully renovated building features locally sourced stone and timbers and provides a wonderful environment to sample a range of Katnook’s premium wines, along with platters of local cheeses. 

If you’re visiting during winter, the cosy lounge area with its open fireplace is the perfect place to warm-up and unwind.  Adjacent to the cellar door is the award-winning 'terra rossa pit', where you can get up close and personal with Coonawarra's famous soil profile and learn why it’s so important to flavour of the region’s wines.

Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Open weekdays 10am to 5pm, weekends 12pm to 5pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day 

Visit the Katnook Estate website

Leconfield Wines

Owned by one of Australia’s original winemaking families, Leconfield Wines is situated just a stones-throw from Katnook Estate along the Riddoch Highway.

Built in 1974 by Sydney Hamilton, the limestone winery building has an impressive barrel storage of 2000 barrels, predominantly sourced from France.  Once inside the winery, you’ll be welcomed to the intimate tasting room where you can sample the Leconfield and Richard Hamilton ranges while watching the winemaking team at work.

15454 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Open weekdays 10am to 4:30pm, weekends and public holidays 11am to 4pm.

Visit Leconfield Wines website

Rymill Coonawarra

Rymill Coonawarra was established in 1974 by Peter Rymill, the great grandson of John Riddoch who was the founder of Coonawarra. Embracing the pioneering spirit of his forefathers, Peter planted a diverse range of varieties and built a stunning, high-tech winery that is still home to Rymill Coonawarra today.

A must-visit destination of the region, the Rymill Coonawarra’s spacious cellar door boasts internal viewing platforms to watch the workings of the winery and external balconies that overlook the beautiful tree lined grounds.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the winery while sampling their range of 100% estate grown wines, then step outside to the gorgeous grounds to enjoy a local produce platter or grazing plate.

Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Open daily 11am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day

Visit Rymill’s website

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

Wynns Coonwarra Estate is one of the region’s leading producers and largest single vineyard holder with the longest established vineyard sites in Coonawarra.

What is now Wynns Coonawarra Estate was founded by Scottish pioneer John Riddoch, who in 1891 planted along the famed terra rossa strip and completed the estate's now iconic three-gabled winery in 1896.

Riddoch died in 1901 and Coonawarra languished for the first half of this century. The region’s revival began in 1951 when wine merchants Samuel and David Wynns purchased Riddoch's original vineyards and winery and renamed the property Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

The Wynns recognised the amazing qualities of Coonawarra wines and set out to establish an independent identity in the region. They created the famous label that has made John Riddoch's winery one of Australia's most-recognised buildings.

77 Memorial Drive, Coonawarra

Open daily 10am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day.

Visit Wynns Coonawarra Estate website

Zema Estate

Established in 1982, Zema Estate is a boutique winery owned and operated by three generations of the Zema family.

Their modern cellar door overlooks beautiful hand prune vines and offers a wonderfully friendly and authentic experience. All current release wines are available for tasting, plus a stunning selection of cellar door only and museum release wines.

You can also indulge in Mrs Zema’s estate-grown and homemade olive oil and chilli paste, and other delicious gourmet produce and that are sourced locally or imported from Italy.  

Partial to a good party, the Zema’s also host regular events where you can enjoy Mrs Zema’s fantastic Italian fare of pizza, pasta and arancini while being entertained by local musicians. Keep your diary open for upcoming events including the After Dark – Vintage Celebrations (April), Cellar Dwellers (July), Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations (October).

14944 Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra

Open weekdays 9am to 5pm, weekends 10am to 4pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Visit Zema Estate’s website

Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail

For those who are up to combining a bit of exercise with their wine tasting, the Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail offers a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and explore the vineyards.

Coonawarra Winery Map

Planning a trip to Coonawarra? Download our interactive Coonawarra winery map. To save on your browser or device, click here

 

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5 of the Best King Valley Wineries and Cellar Doors
Discover the best King Valley wineries and cellar doors to taste and experience the region’s delights with our guide and interactive map. When Italian migrants arrived in the King Valley after World War II to work on the Snowy Hydro Scheme and to farm tobacco, they planted vines to help them feel at home. Today, the region is arguably the leader in alternative wines, especially Italian styles like Arneis , Barbera , Nebbiolo , Sangiovese and more recently, Prosecco . And the classic Italian trio of great wine, superb food and warm hospitality is on show every day in the region’s wineries and cellar doors. The best way to visit the region is to start at either Brown Brothers in Milawa or Chrismont in Cheshunt and then track along the Wangaratta-Whitfield Road, known affectionately as the Prosecco Road. The King Valley introduced Prosecco to the nation in the early 2000s and now the very mention of Australian Prosecco is synonymous with the region. You can find out more about  Prosecco and its difference to traditional Sparkling wine here . To help plan your trip, we’ve selected a collection of King Valley wineries we feel provide the best cellar door experience, plus we’ve included a handy interactive map down below . King Valley Cellar Doors List Brown Brothers
The perfect place to start or end your visit to the King Valley is in Milawa at the winery that started it all, Brown Brothers . There is little question that this family-owned operation has had a remarkable impact on the wine industry with a consistent focus on introducing new wine varieties and winemaking techniques to Australia.  In the friendly cellar door, there is a vast range of wines to taste from approachable everyday styles through to their flagship Patricia range. There is also a great selection of cellar door only wines made from the Kindergarten winery, where their winemakers experiment with and nurture a wide range of new wine styles and winemaking techniques. If you can, make sure you book ahead for a tasting tour of the winery and the Kindergarten to learn more about what tomorrow’s wines will be. 244 Milawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa – view on our map Open daily 9am–5pm Visit the Brown Brothers website Sam Miranda Wines
Once you turn onto Snow Road, it's hard to miss the Sam Miranda Wines cellar door with its striking 10-metre tower, which acts as a giant periscope, funnelling natural light down into the modern tasting room and underground wine cellar. The cellar door restaurant focuses on sourcing ingredients from within a 50km radius and serves up an authentic Italian menu that matches perfectly with their superb range of Mediterranean varieties available to taste, including Prosecco , Pinot Grigio , Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. And, if you’re touring the King Valley by bike, you’ll find a very warm welcome as Sam, a self-confessed cycling tragic, hosts a full calendar of cycling events and competitions each year.  1019 Snow Rd, Oxley – view on our map Open daily 10am–5pm Visit the Sam Miranda Wines website Pizzini Wines
This charming winery is a must visit for any trip to the King Valley. As a pioneering specialist in Italian varietals, there’s a great range of Pinot Grigio, Arneis, Verduzzo, Prosecco, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo available to sample. And, with a boutique guest house among the vines , regular events, winery tours and cooking classes at Katrina Pizzini’s A tavola! cooking school , this family-run operation has something for everyone. 175 King Valley Rd, Whitfield – view on our map Open daily 10am–5pm Visit the Pizzini Wines website Politini Wines
Like many in the King Valley, the Politini family started in tobacco farming in the 1950s before moving into wine in the 1980s. Today, they specialise in the varieties of Salvatore Politini’s Sicilian roots with Nero d’Avola, Grecanico, Vermentino, Sangiovese and more. The idyllic two-bedroom Casolare (Italian for ‘cottage’) accommodation on the property is the perfect base to explore the picturesque King Valley. Or, you can take your love of Italian food and wine to the next level as you learn how to prepare the perfect Sicilian dish to pair with your Politini wines in Nonna Josie’s Cooking Experience classes. 65 Upper King River Rd, Cheshunt – view on our map Open daily 10am–5pm Visit the Politini Wines website Chrismont
At the southern end of the Prosecco Road is the new Chrismont cellar door, restaurant and larder. With its sleek lines, sophisticated architecture and idyllic position among the vines, there is little wonder it took out the coveted National Building Design of the Year Award in 2016. Inside, you’ll find a great range of old world varieties to taste, such as their cool climate Rieslings and premium Sparkling through to the King Valley’s famed Mediterranean varieties in their fantastic La Zona range of Prosecco, Arneis, Sagrantino and more. The Chrismont restaurant focuses on the flavours of Italy's north and south, the perfect match for their wines.  And, with  their elegant boutique guest house overlooking the vines, it’s the perfect place to base your adventures in the region or as your final destination after a day trekking and tasting your way along the Prosecco Road. 251 Upper King River Rd, Cheshunt – view on our map Open daily 10am–5pm Visit the Chrismont website King Valley Winery Map Planning a trip to the King Valley? Download our interactive King Valley winery map. To save on your browser or device, click here For more information on visiting King Valley, be sure to visit the official King Valley website or stop by the visitor information centre on Murphy Street in Wangaratta. But, if you'd like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit, explore our selection of King Valley wines and find out more about the wineries listed here in our Meet the Makers section . And, with the Wine Selectors Regional Release program, you'll experience a different wine region each Release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you’ll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our wine plans section to find out more!
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The Best Barossa Valley Wineries & Cellar Doors
Your guide to Barossa Valley’s historic cellar doors and tasting experiences! Only a short drive from Adelaide will get you to one of Australia’s most historic wine regions, the Barossa Valley. The international success of Australian wine has a lot to thank the Barossa for, recognised for the outstanding quality of wine to come out of the region since the first plantings over 160 years ago. Today, there are so many internationally renowned wineries in the Barossa with equally acclaimed cellar doors and restaurants that a visit to the area will definitely reward any person with a love of regional wines, produce, and beauty. Fine, fresh and regional flavours abound; a bold Shiraz, a hearty Cabernet Sauv, classic Chardonnays, fresh Rieslings, and everything else in between are all ready for your enjoyment. So, jump in the car, take in the views, soak up the sunshine and savour everything the Barossa has to offer. The Willows Vineyard    Situated at Light Pass in the Barossa Valley, The Willows Vineyard has roots going back to the beginning of this historic grape growing region – Johann Gottfried Scholz, an early European colonists and previous Prussian Army bonesetter, first settled The Willows Vineyard property in 1845. But it wasn’t until 1936 that fourth generation relatives of Johann planted the property’s first Semillon vines, with Shiraz, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache added over the years. Now home to the ‘Bonesetter’ Shiraz and ‘The Doctor’ Sparkling Shiraz in honour of Johann, the Scholz family are proudly 100% Barossan, sourcing fruit entirely from their Light Pass vineyard. 310 Light Pass Rd, Light Pass Open Wednesday to Monday 10:30am-4:30pm | Closed Tuesday and Public holidays Visit The Willows Vineyard website Schild Estate   Recognised as a Five Star Winery and listed as one of the ‘Ten Dark Horses’ in the 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion, Schild Estate produces highly acclaimed wines including the Moorooroo Shiraz, of which the 2015 vintage was awarded 99 points (James Halliday, 2019 Wine Companion) and the Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz which was awarded ‘Best in Show – Australian Reds’ at Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards 2019. 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However, it was this early insight into maintaining their early plantings – even through the wine glut years when the government encouraged wineries to pull up their vines – that has allowed the now fifth and sixth generations of the Schrapel family to continue working this prized Barossan plot to produce luscious old vine wines alongside their new and alternate varieties. Visit Bethany Wines’ cellar door to enjoy a fresh and delicious picnic platter, taste estate made wines, take in the views, or even take a historic walk. 378 Bethany Rd, Tanunda From Adelaide, travelling North away from the city on the Sturt Highway, take the Gomersal Road to Tanunda and then Bethany Road to the foothills. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm | Sundays 1pm-5pm Visit the Bethany Hills website Elderton Wines Neil and Lorraine Ashmead moved to the Barossa in 1979 after Lorraine’s father told them about a home with great potential. 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Today, Janelle and Kristen Zerk, the famed Barossa Valley sister duo, are the passionate owners of Z Wine who are dedicated to creating regional, small batch wines using grapes from 10 different vignerons in the Barossa area, honouring their connection to the region which began five generations ago. Z Wines proudly stand alongside many well-known wines – recently winning third to Penfold’s Grange in the 2018 WINESTATE International Shiraz Challenge and topping the Barossa Valley Grenache entries in the recent 2018 James Halliday national Grenache challenge. A visit to their cellar door will reward you with the chance to taste wines from four different Z Wine labels, including 17 highly-awarded wines. Their new cellar door and wine bar in the main street of Tanunda is very popular, offering regional produce and local live music to accompany the selection of distinct wines.  SHOP 3, 109-111 Murray Street Tanunda The corner of Basedow Road and Murray Street Open Monday to Wednesday 10am-5pm | Thursday and Sunday 10am-8pm | Friday and Saturday 10am-late with LIVE music Visit the Z Wine website Pindarie Wines The old grain room and heritage stables make up the Pindarie cellar door that were hand restored over a period of 20 years by vigneron and winemaker couple Wendy Allan and Tony Brooks. A winner of multiple tourism awards, the cellar door is home to Pindarie’s Western Ridge estate grown wines, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and unique range of Mediterranean varietals such as Montepulciano, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese with the cellar door also offering a genuine paddock to plate experience with their range of seasonal lunches featuring local produce. It’s the perfect place to relax, take in the views and enjoy regional flavours. 946 Rosedale Rd, Gomersal Open Monday to Friday 11am-4pm | Weekends 11am-5pm Visit the Pindarie Wines website Henschke Wines Visiting the historic Henschke cellar door, built in the 1860s by Johann Christian Henschke, is said to be one of the most captivating wine experiences in the Barossa. The intimate and charming space is a showcase and celebration of the Henschke family’s winemaking prowess and ability to continually produce internationally renowned wines. Drawing on select vineyards from the Eden, Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley regions, the Henschke cellar door is the perfect place to sample the unique terroir expressed in their premium single-vineyard wines. VIP tours and private tastings are also available, or you can always book yourself a table at the famed Hill of Grace Restaurant. 1428 Keyneton Rd, Keyneton Open Monday to Saturday 9am-4:30pm |Public holidays 10am-3pm | Closed Sundays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day Visit the Henschke website Seppeltsfield Seppeltsfield is one of Australia’s most historic wineries with a history forged by the pioneering vision of Joseph and Joanna Seppelt in 1851. Seppeltfield’s grand complex of heritage buildings is the perfect place to sample their unique 100-year-old fortified wines and to taste wine from the year of your birth. Seppelt is also credited with paving the way for progressive cool climate styles, particularly for producing Australia’s first Sparkling wine, as well as pioneering Sparkling Shiraz. The winery has enjoyed many accolades over their extensive history, including being recognised as Australia's most awarded Sparkling producer, as well as winning the highly sought-after Jimmy Watson Trophy, three times. Stop by for free wine tastings, or book a private tour to take in the winery’s full historic charm. 730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Barossa Valley Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Seppeltsfield website Thorn-Clarke   The name Thorn-Clarke honours the coming together of two Barossa Valley wine and agricultural families, the Thorns and the Clarkes; the Thorns with six generations of Barossan winemaking in their blood and the Clarkes providing vigneron and geology expertise. While a relatively young winery in terms of some of their Barossa neighbours, Thorn-Clarke was established in 2001 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Today, they boast one of the largest private vineyard holdings in the Barossa, which provides the basis for exceptional Barossa and Eden Valley wines. Their relaxed Barossa cellar door is the perfect place to unwind during your visit to the region – sample local produce platters as you sit in their winery garden, or sample their Eden Valley whites and Barossa Valley reds, sourced from their four estate-owned vineyards. 226 Gawler Park Rd, Angaston Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and 11am-4pm on weekends Visit the Thorn-Clarke website Two Hands Wines The idea for Two Hands came about when founders, Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, decided to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia. They had a drive to shake up the Shiraz styles of the time and instead focus on the unique regional and vineyard characteristics that can be expressed in a good Australian Shiraz. They soon built their state-of-the-art winery, crafted their first wines, and then the accolades began to reward them for their passion and dedication to Australian wine. Stop by for a structured yet relaxed tasting that takes guests through their range of innovative wines in an intimate and informative setting out on the tasting deck with views across Marananga. 273 Neldner Rd, Marananga Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Two Hands website Yalumba Established in 1849, Yalumba is one of Australia’s most iconic and important wine labels. The impressive wine room, built inside the original brandy store is the perfect place to sample the wide range of wines on offer from everyday table drops through to their exquisite reserve collections. A visit to their historic grounds and cellar door during the week may reward you with seeing the cooperage in action while you experience the fragrant sweet spice of their handmade barrels. And for weekend guests, the landscaped grounds, which are exquisitely framed by the Wine Room and the historic clock tower, are perfect for a relaxing walk or to throw down a picnic rug to enjoy one of Yalumba’s renowened Coopers Boards in the sun. 40 Eden Valley Rd, Angaston Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Yalumba website Grant Burge Nestled atop of a hill along Krondorf Road, the Grant Burge cellar door in the heart of the Barossa Valley enjoys exquisite views over the valley floor in one direction and rolling lawns and manicured gardens in the other. The tasting team at the cellar door will lead you through Grant Burge’s extensive range of wines, including refreshing Sparklings, crisp Rieslings to full-flavoured Chardonnay. And in keeping with Grant Burge’s great reputation for bold Barossan red, guests can also enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and of course, powerful Shiraz. Take in the views, savour a bottle of your favourite wine, and enjoy a meal at their cafe featuring local produce. Group tastings are available by appointment.  Krondorf Rd, Tanunda Open daily 10am-5pm Visit the Grant Burge website More information For more information on visiting the Barossa be sure to visit the official Barossa website or stop by the Visitors Center  in Tanunda when you're in the area. But, if you’d like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit – explore our wide selection of Barossa wines and find out more about the wineries listed in this guide in our Meet the Makers section. With our Wine Selectors Regional Releases , you'll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel , plus you’ll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our Regional Releases page to find out more!
Life
Go West
Words by Jeni Port on 4 Jul 2017
Henty, the Grampians, Pyrenees and Ballarat – there are plenty of tasting treasures to be unearthed in the wine regions of Western Victoria. We need Western Victoria and its wine. We need its different taste and the perspective it brings: a balanced, middle-weighted, pepper-infused, mint-garnished, spicy, smooth, sometimes savoury, sometimes rustic kind of alternative taste. Vineyards are vast and isolated here, attached by dirt roads to country towns and sometimes just the smallest of hamlets. Wines are made by men and women of the land, people like John Thomson at Crawford River in the Henty region, who talks of his “peasant genes,” and who has four generations behind him who have farmed sheep and cattle on the land. He and his wife Catherine branched into wine in 1975. “I didn’t set out to grow grapes,” he says. “I set out to make wine.” There was, he adds, more money in the latter. It’s a common enough story around these parts. Western Victoria is a collective term for four independent wine regions:  Henty , the  Grampians ,  Pyrenees  and Ballarat. This is home to  Shiraz  (plenty of it) and  Cabernet Sauvignon  (less of it) along with  Chardonnay  and a little  Sauvignon Blanc ,  Riesling  and  Pinot Noir  with a gaggle of Italian varieties bringing up the rear. The Back Story
It’s the flagpoles out front issuing a kind of multi-national wave of welcome that stump first time visitors to  Taltarn i . There’s the Aussie flag to the forefront shouldered on either side by the American stars and stripes and the French tricolour. What does it all mean?   Like a few wineries in Western Victoria, it’s all about history and foreign influences.  Taltarni’s  story involves a wealthy Californian owner who set up the operation in 1972, and his long-time French winemaker who laid the foundations for its enduring, elegant wine style. The French were among the first to see the potential that lay in the Pyrenees, with Cognac-based Rémy Martin arriving at Avoca in 1960, ostensibly to make brandy, but wine quickly followed. They called their enterprise Chateau Rémy. We know it today as  Blue Pyrenees Estate . But the biggest influence on the region was gold. Discovered in the 1850s, it made towns like Ballarat and Great Western magnets for prospectors from around the world. After the gold, people like Joseph and Henry Best stayed and moved into wine. Joseph built a substantial winery and used unemployed gold diggers to carve out underground cellars. It was the beginning of what came to be Seppelt, one of the biggest Sparkling wine producers in the country. Henry Best planted vines fronting Concongella Creek at Great Western. But it was the purchase of the site by Frederick Thomson in 1920 that really saw the Best’s Wines story take off. The Grampians
Western Victoria is a land of wide plains running smack up against some pretty spectacular hills and ranges, none more impressive than the rugged National Park that gives the  Grampians   its name. Mountain walkers, climbers and cyclists really love this part of the world. With a range of B&Bs, hotels and camping sites to choose from, most make Halls Gap their HQ. Wineries like Mount Langi Ghiran and The Gap are just down the road. Mount Langi Ghiran is best known as the producer of archetypal  cool climate, peppery Shiraz , which first drew the industry’s attention to a budding new style in the 1980s. How pepper gets into the wines of Western Victoria to such a degree that it might be called a phenomenon has only slowly been revealed by scientists at Melbourne University working with the winemakers at Mount Langi Ghiran (it’s got to do with a cool climate and wet seasons). On paper, the region (19 vineyards, eight cellar doors) looks small, but its history and influence belie its size. The Great Western sub-region was the commercial cradle of Sparkling wine production in Australia at Seppelt and is synonymous with a great Aussie icon, Sparkling Shiraz. Grampians Estate and Seppelt lead the pack, but for added gravitas, tour the Seppelt underground drives to feel the history and finish with a glass of spiced-up red bubbles. One of the state’s great restaurants, the  Royal Mail Hotel , can be found in a highway town called Dunkeld. Five and eight course degustation menus star local produce, alternatively there is an informal wine bar. Or there are the local Mount Gambier wines to try, including up-and-coming Pinots, at Tosca Browns in Hamilton. Henty is a developing wine region as far west as you can go before you bang into South Australia. Volcanic, gravelly soils over limestone are the key to some of the best Rieslings in Australia made here at Crawford River Wines. And what a treat to find a one hat quality restaurant such as The Pickled Pig in Warrnambool. The Pyrenees
Major Thomas Mitchell, the 19th Century explorer, was a bit of a romantic, clearly. He named this part of the Great Dividing Range,  the Pyrenees , as the dense, blue-hued hills reminded him of the mountains dividing France and Spain. Given the hills outside the towns of Avoca and Moonambel rise to 800 metres compared to some 3400 metres in Europe, that’s a bit of a stretch, but point taken. This is a pretty part of the world. It is here that the wine lover will confront the Pyrenean wine character known in academic circles as 1,8-cineole. The rest of us call it eucalyptus, aka, mint or menthol (the cineole is sourced from leaves and stems that find their way into fermentation), and it’s often found on either a red wine’s bouquet or flavour, or both. Its usual vehicle of choice is the Shiraz grape, which dominates plantings, but it can be found in any number of red wines. That eucalyptus in wine should be such a powerful influence is not so surprising. Gum trees are everywhere around these parts. For those who applaud its inclusion in wine, it’s part of the land, a question of terroir. The Pyrenean red winemaking style is understated, medium-bodied and earthy. Best in Bubbles
And strange as it may seem when so many producers today seek the super cool regions like Tasmania for sourcing grapes for sparkling wines, the Pyrenees does an excellent job with bubbles. Blue Pyrenees Estate 2010 Midnight Cuvee  beat some of the country’s top Sparklings to be named World Champion Australian sparkling at the inaugural Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in England in 2014. A 100 per cent Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs style, Midnight Cuvee’s success comes thanks to 10 years of refinement in the vineyard and winery by winemaker, Andrew Koerner. And, yes, the fruit is harvested at midnight at optimal coolness. Taltarni  is another leader in Sparkling wine, sourcing grapes grown on the estate in addition to Tasmania for its successful Clover Hill brand. The region’s great white, whether for still or Sparkling, is Chardonnay. It has undergone changes over the last decade or more, moving away from a rich heavyweight to a more fruit-powered, streamlined number. At Dalwhinnie, the importation of a Chardonnay clone from Champagne has served to highlight citrus and grapefruit qualities with sustained acidity and textural weight. It is a wine of great presence in the glass. While Mount Avoca’s early reputation was built on Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, I suspect that it is the Italians coming through – Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo,  Sangiovese , Lagrein – that now attract the drinker’s attention. The adjoining region of Ballarat is smaller again, but its focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay indicates that it is heading in a different direction to its neighbour. Eastern Peake Winery at Coghills Creek is a Pinot Noir maker par excellence, and is one of the few open for tastings seven days. Or, for a relaxed look at the wines of the west over a meal, head to Mitchell Harris Wine Bar in North Ballarat, part-owned by former Domaine Chandon Sparkling winemaker, John Harris. Events Out West Avoca Riverside Market   - Dundas & Cambridge Streets, Avoca, on the fourth Sunday of each month. Blue Pyrenees Estate Avoca Cup   - Avoca Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Avoca, each October. Grampians Grape Escape Food and Wine Festival   - Showcases regional wine and fare during a month-long festival in April, culminating in the Grampians Escape Weekend tastings, auction, grape stomping and live music in Halls Gap. Staying out West Pyrenees Eagles Nest at Dalwhinnie Vineyard, Moonambel  Redbank Chestnut Cottage Mount Avoca Vineyard Eco-Luxe Lodges, Avoca Warrenmang Vineyard & Resort, Moonambel Grampians/Henty Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld Boroka Downs, Halls Gap Aztec Escape, Halls Gap Links Retreat, Ararat   
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories