Victorian wine regions are the most prolific in terms of number of producers in Australia. Grape growing and winemaking has existed in Victoria since the mid-1800's, though the pest phlloxera widely damaged the Victorian wine regions and led to a decline from the 1890's until around the 1950's.
Victoria wineries are now spread across the entire state, with a huge variety of climates and styles being produced. Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, now alongside more emerging varieties, particularly from Italian origins are the more popular varietals.
Where is Victoria?
Victoria is a state in the south east of Australia. Victoria wine regions are best accessed via car, departing from Melbourne for southern, eastern and central Victoria wine districts. Regular airline services are also provided from Albury-Wodonga, located on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, which allows great access to northern and central Victorian wine regions.
Climate and styles in Victoria wine regions vary greatly. Regions surrounding Port Philip, including Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, and north of Melbourne metropolitan area, enjoy moderate to cool climate wine growing. Heathcote and several northern Victoria wine regions, like Rutherglen and Glenrowan are known for warmer climates and their associated powerful wine styles.
The map of the region shows many continental regions, like Macedon Ranges, Henty and Gippsland, having long, slow and cool growing seasons, where favoured varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay excel. Northern wine regions, including the vast Murray Darling and Swan Hill, are known for warm growing seasons and lower quality but high volume and affordable, generous wine styles.
Wines to try from Victoria
Victoria wine brands work with nearly all of the 150-plus grape varieties evident in Australia. Victoria wine regions and wineries have widely planted staples of Australian wine, including Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, alongside varieties that are lesser-known, like Viognier, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, amongst others.
Victoria wine regions excelling at Pinot Noir include Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges, Beechworth and Gippsland. While Pinot Noir varies in style from each region, a common thread is the restraint and finesse found from cool climate wine growing. Victoria Pinot Noir is typically light to medium bodied, cherry-berry fruit orientated, often shows some gentle spice, and is increasingly interesting for wines fermented with whole bunches in the fermentation, which lends herb and spice character to the wines.
Victoria wine regions excelling at Chardonnay include Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Beechworth and Gippsland, with some good examples also coming from Henty, Strathbogie Ranges and Alpine Valleys. Sleek, elegant wines, and now an emerging class of racy, flinty examples, have captured local and international attention, and are shaping up as one of the most important general wine styles evolving from Australia. Victoria wineries working with Chardonnay are enhancing the Australian wine image, and arguably creating Australia’s finest collection of current wine styles.
Victoria wine regions producing Shiraz are numerous, but perhaps the most iconic are from Central Victoria, Beechworth and Heathcote. Central Victoria, including Pyrenees and Great Western, showcase Victoria wineries making iconic medium-bodied and peppery wine styles from Shiraz. Beechworth Victoria wineries are known for Shiraz of supple texture and great length. Heathcote produces Shiraz wines that are typically very powerful, full figured, rich and warmer in their constitution.
Victoria wineries producing Rutherglen fortified wines have a long history, and create one of Australia’s most iconic wine styles. A map of Victoria wine regions show the northern region of Rutherglen set in a warm growing region, famed for powerful red wines, and most notably for the unique, rare, aged fortifieds with their treacle thickness, rancio complexity and unctuous feel. The Rutherglen region has some of the oldest wine brands currently in production anywhere in the world.
Must See Victoria Wineries
Victoria wine regions are numerous and create a patchwork on the map. Victoria wine regions include famed names of Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Rutherglen alongside lesser-known but high quality regions including:
- Goulburn Valley - Swan Hill
- Bendigo - Great Western
- Macedon Ranges - Alpine Valleys
- Murray Darling - Gippsland
Significant brands include Brookhill, Wordsmith, Deakin Estate, Dovetail, Hanging Rock, Stefano De Pieri, Tarrawarra, Tempus Two, St Huberts, T'Gallant, Giaconda & Chapoutier, Dorrien Estate, Quealy, Yering Station, Glenlofty, Redbank and Drake.
The future of Victoria Wine
Cool climate viticulture is at a high point of interest and Yarra Yering is on fire with its recent releases. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sparkling wine is a strong agenda in Victoria wine regions, and the thrust and thirst for interesting, smaller producers is also solidifying Victoria wineries reputation. Boutique Victoria wine brands are a very important part of Victoria’s wine future.
- Pinot Noir
- Rutherglen Fortified