The High Country of Victoria holds appeal for wine, food and adventure lovers alike, with welcoming wineries, acclaimed restaurants and eclectic outdoor activities, all set against a striking mountain scene. Ahead are four Halliday-recommended wineries to visit.
Bringing together the knowledge of seven wine families from the region, Gapsted boasts an expansive offering of great-value wines. If you’re into discovering surprising styles and expanding your palate beyond the Aussie classics, you’ll love the selection here, which includes a focus on Italy in particular, but also covers Spain and some more obscure French wines. Take your pick of the 30-odd drops available for tasting, and then grab a glass to sip on the deck while drinking in the mountain surrounds. If sampling works up an appetite, graze on a cheese plate or settle in for a long lunch at the restaurant, where a three-course menu that changes with the seasons is available for just $49 a head. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to earn indulgence with activity, Gapsted Wines runs alongside the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, so you can walk or cycle your way here (there are even bike racks onsite for you to stow your vehicle before tucking in).
Perfect for: Trying harder to find varietals, especially those from Italy and Spain. Families with young children and pets. Hikers, bikers and skiers, with a location near the Mount Buffalo National Park, Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and the Rail Trail. Events such as Shakespeare in the Vines. Open daily from 10am to 5pm.
On pour: Prosecco, pinot gris, riesling, petit manseng, sauvignon blanc, fiano, chardonnay, rosé, shiraz, sangiovese barbera, pinot noir, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, saperavi, durif, touriga, fine tawny and more.
gapstedwines.com.au | 03 5751 9101 | 3897 Great Alpine Road, Gapsted
Starting its life as a cellar for Seppelt in 1886, today, this winery tells the story of several aspects of Rutherglen’s history. The first is of its iconic fortified wines, with top-shelf muscat on pour at the cellar door. The second is of its modern diversity, with a number of Italian and Mediterranean varietals on tasting. Last, but not least, is the story of its traditional owners, with Indigenous artworks the focus of its onsite gallery. The 19th century winery building has been repurposed to retain the history of the space, while enhancing the experience for visitors. There's also accommodation that overlooks a working vineyard and is within walking distance to the main street, lake and bike trail. Stay for the weekend, and you can take advantage of these attractions and the 20-plus wineries in the surrounds, or simply settle in for the wines and dining at Rutherglen Estates.
Perfect for: A taste of the region’s traditions. Stopping in for a casual meal at the courtyard cafe or something more indulgent at the restaurant. Come for events such as the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout, Tastes of Rutherglen and 'meet the winemaker' dinners held throughout the year. Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm.
On pour: More than 20 varietals, including durif, muscat, pinot grigio, fiano, arneis, sangiovese, zinfandel, marsanne, viognier, roussanne, grenache and shiraz.
rutherglenestates.com.au | 02 6032 7999 | 13-35 Drummond Street, Rutherglen
The Italian-influenced King Valley is a dream destination for lovers of savoury, food-friendly wines, rustic, comforting cuisine and charming, family-run cellar doors. Chrismont is a leading winery in the region and embodies all of these appeals. The hospitality here is a highlight: expect a warm welcome and discreet service that allows you to go at your own pace, providing as much or as little information as you need. Known for producing diverse interpretations of Mediterranean and European varietals from its cool-climate vineyards, Chrismont offers a range of highly rated red and white wines. The estate’s restaurant is an inviting destination for a drawn-out lunch dining on flavour-packed dishes inspired by the family’s Sicilian and northern Italian backgrounds. Make a weekend of it and check in to the winery’s guesthouse – this sub-region is popular for bicycle tours, so with a base to stay you can easily explore the King Valley’s famous Prosecco Road, as well as natural attractions such as the Paradise Falls and King River within minutes of your stay.
Perfect for: Italophiles, fishing enthusiasts, food and nature lovers. Open daily from 10am to 5pm.
On pour: Prosecco, arneis, fiano, pinot grigio, riesling, petit manseng, chardonnay, barbera, nebbiolo, sangiovese, sagrantino, tempranillo, marzemino, shiraz, merlot, cabernet sauvignon.
chrismont.com.au | 03 5729 8220 | 251 Upper King River Road, Cheshunt
With a near 100-year history, this leading Rutherglen winery specialises in intensely flavoured, full-bodied reds, with a special focus on shiraz and durif. Established in 1921 by Reginald Langdon Buller, the cellar door serves an extensive range of wines including New World bubbles and the premium Calliope Range. With its casual, friendly style, Buller Wines is the ideal place to stop for a tasting in between exploring Rutherglen’s historic town centre, or taking part in activities around the mighty Murray River such as fishing, cycling and bushwalking.
Perfect for: Those with a penchant for luscious reds and fortified wines. Hosts ‘A Night on the Red’ on the March long weekend, and is a stop on the Winery Walkabout tour. Restaurant open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm. Cellar door open daily from 10am to 5pm.
On pour: More than 30 wines, specialising in shiraz, durif and fortifieds, as well as offering a number of whites.
bullerwines.com.au | (02) 6032 9660 | 2804 Federation Way, Rutherglen
Find everything you need to know about High Country in our essential guide.