- The Grampians wine region is nestled among a formidable landscape of sandstone cliff-faces, mountains and waterfalls. For many, it’s the landscape alone that draws them just over two hour’s drive from Melbourne – but make no mistake, the wines of the Grampians are as grand as their surroundings. The region’s cool climate and long growing season mean late-ripening grapes like shiraz, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon shine from the Grampians.
With one of the most sought-after views in the region, Montara Wines is a scenic place to get to know the Grampians. Established in the 1970s, Montara has since gained prominence for its elegant red wines that are highly indicative of the region’s style. “The Grampians has one of the best climates in the world for growing quality grapes,” Montara winemaker Simon Fennell says. “The elevation and site exposure of Montara’s vineyards are particularly important in avoiding frost, and influencing vine growth,” he adds. Though known for its red varieties, Montara also cultivates riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. “Montara is a winery that proudly does not hang its hat on any one or two varieties, but relishes in varietal diversity across the vineyard,” Simon says.
Mount Langi Ghiran
Follow the romantically tree-lined Vine Road to the sprawling vineyards of Mount Langi Ghiran, silhouetted against the granite cliffs of its mountain namesake. The winery has become synonymous with Australian cool-climate red wines, namely its spicy shiraz styles. Winemaker Adam Louder attributes this success to the estate’s 50-year-old vines situated 350 metres above sea level. “The peaceful aspect of the Grampians region combined with the stunning landscape has brought me back after years spent travelling all over the world,” he says. “The cool climate means I’m able to produce classic, elegant, medium-bodied wines that age gracefully over time.”
The five-star wineries ahead have the inside scoop on top activities in the region. And, of course, some of the best cellar door and wine experiences. Read on to learn more about the Grampians.
The Montara Riesling with locally sourced grazing platters
When visiting the Grampians, enjoy a guided tasting at the Montara cellar door, or head off on your own with a glass of wine and plate of cheese in the quiet, humbling surrounds. You can also experience the vineyard at night, with the winery hosting live music at its “Wine Down” event on the first Friday of every month. For a truly unforgettable experience, see the Grampians from the sky on a helicopter tour and land among the vines. “The Grampians is a broad-reaching and diverse region, rich in history and natural beauty. It is constantly celebrating its local produce and talent through annual events such as the Grampians Grape Escape and Grampians Music Festival,” Simon says.
Montara’s “Wine Down” event
For breakfast prior to a day of wine tasting, stop by local cafe Fred & Bet’s in the nearby town of Ararat. Or if you’re just grabbing a takeaway coffee, make sure to pick up one of their golden syrup and custard tarts, too.
2020 will be Montara’s 50th vintage. Find out more about the winery here.
Winemaker Adam Louder (image supplied by Wine Australia)
The floor-to-ceiling glass of the Mount Langi cellar door allows for spectacular views while tasting. The wines available are rotated regularly and include museum releases, limited editions and some cellar door-only wines. “There’s no better way to experience these wines than to come and visit the beautiful places in which they’re produced,” Adam says. Sip your favourite wine among the vines with the Picnic Idyll experience, including a pre-prepared premium hamper for $25 per person. Enjoy the crisp, clear blue skies in summer, burnt orange leaves in autumn, brisk and foggy mornings in winter, or the watercolour palette of wildflowers in spring.
The Picnic Idyll experience at Mount Langi Ghiran
“Be sure to stop by the array of local producers,” Adam says. “[Their produce] pairs beautifully with our wines.” Check out nearby Grampians Olive Co. for organic olive oils, fresh olives, artisan honey, vinegar, and much more.
Find out more about Mount Langi Ghiran wines here.
Get to know the Grampians with our essential guide.
*This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.