Wine regions - Geelong
The Geelong region is renowned for the production of high quality wines. Excellent examples of Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay can be found throughout the region.
The Geelong Wine Region
is maritime influenced
by one of the great seascapes in Australia.
Photo: Paulus. Rusyanto.
The development of viticulture in Geelong was abruptly halted in 1875 when the Victorian government ordered the removal of vines due to an outbreak of phylloxera. The vineyards initially established in the 1850s by mainly Swiss immigrants were ripped out in the futile hope that the pest would die with them. The region came alive again in the 1960s when Nini and Daryl Sefton established their Idyll vineyard. Since that time a significant number of vineyards and wineries have been established with the majority of wine producers being small family owned operations. Jindalee, Pettavel, Scotchman's Hill and Shadowfax are the only comparatively big wineries.
Grape varieties in the region include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon - and in the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. Although a young region it has a sound reputation for Shiraz, and a developing reputation for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In recent times the region's Viogniers and Rieslings have also been turning heads.
Geelong is on the western side of Port Phillip Bay. The region is bordered by Little River to the north and by the Leigh River to the west. Also running through the region are the Barwon and Moorabool rivers. To the south is Bass Strait delivering chill winds throughout the year. Rainfall is low and must be supplemented by irrigation.
This maritime region has three (unofficial) sub-regions, all of which are characterised by their proximity to the sea.
The Moorabool Valley viewed
Photo: Paul Durack
The Moorabool Valley although the most inland of the sub-regions, is still only 15km from Port Phillip and 50 km from the Southern Ocean. The valley, north of Geelong city is typified by the neighbouring valley-edge vineyards of Bannockburn, By Farr, Clyde Park, Jindalee and Amietta. The climate is dry, warm and windy. "A hard bastard of a place to grow grapes - but they have incredible character". The soil is reminiscent of the Black 'Coonawarra' soils - clay on a limestone base.
To the southeast of Geelong city is the Bellarine Peninsular. The climate is wet, cool and mild resulting in the need for vignerons to tackle excess vine vigour. The soils are sandy. Cellar doors are a feature of the Peninsular, they include Scotchman's Hill, Bellarine Estate and Leura Park Estate, with a number of wineries opening by appointment.
Vineyards sweeping down
Victoria's famous surf coast
The third sub-region, Surf Coast-Anglesea has some of the country's best surfing beaches including the famous Bells Beach. The region is cooled by salt laden winds, which presents salinity challenges to vineyard managers. This country is scrubby heathland with soils a patchwork of shale-clays, sands and buckshot gravels. The main cluster of vineyards lies behind Torquay and include Mount Duneed one of the oldest vineyards in Geelong. A mere 1km from the famous surf is Bellbrae Estate and Minya Vineyard.
A tub of fun - there is lots to do in
Geelong in and out of the vineyards.
Dining and Staying
The region is a popular holiday destination, which is served well by a diversity of accommodation facilities and excellent restaurants and cafes. There a number of options for dining amongst the vineyards and experiencing rural vistas by the sea. Dining rooms are to be found at Bellarine Estate, Kilgour Estate, Oakdene Vineyard, Minya Vineyard, and Staughton Vale.
There are a number of wineries providing vineyard accommodation, these include, Oakdene, Otway Estate, Minya Vineyard and Kilgour Estate.
Cultural events are well supported by the region's wineries. The Hill Winery, Shadowfax Wines and Minya Vineyard are among the key hosts of music, theatre and festival events held throughout the year. Skandia Geelong Week is Australia's largest sailing event, with the focus on the water, food and wine. Geelong also has a wine show generally held in October.
Harvest time: mid March to late April
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