It’s only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, accessible by train, and home to some incredible gourmet experiences – from cellar doors of award-winning wineries to nationally revered restaurants – but Victoria’s second city has long been glossed over as a food and wine destination. Until now.
“It was a bit of an industrial graveyard,” says Provenance Wines’ co-owner and winemaker Scott Ireland of Geelong. “Historically it was seen as somewhere you couldn’t wait to get through on your way to the Great Ocean Road, but now Geelong has really come of age. There’s so much happening here, with the waterfront opening up, great places to stay, world-class restaurants. People just don’t know it exists.”
Scott established Provenance Wines with partner Jen Lilburn in 1997, but it wasn’t until March 2017 that the couple – along with winemaker and business partner Sam Vogel – opened their cellar door at the Fyansford Paper mill, Geelong. Housed in one of Australia’s few remaining original paper mill complexes, and dating back to the 1870s, this lofty, heritage-listed bluestone mill, on the banks of the Barwon River, has been carefully restored. “It’s like an industrial cathedral. When people walk into our cellar door for the first time they look left and they look right and they say ‘wow’”, explains Scott. “We’ve got waterfalls just outside the window and all these terrific businesses next door to us in the precinct: there’s artists here, cafes, a jeweller.”
An emerging arts and cultural precinct, The Old Paper Mills at Fyansford is one of many draws helping to bolster Geelong’s reputation as a destination in its own right. And the proof is in the pudding for Scott, who says Provenance Wines is increasingly welcoming international tourists, as well as day-trippers from Melbourne and further afield.
Further incentive to make the short journey from Melbourne to the Geelong winery (named 2019 Best Value Winery of the Year by James Halliday) comes in the form of a soon to be launched premium tasting experience. “Our regional selection wines will be available for tasting, which never have been before,” explains Scott of the new offering. The three regions that the winery draws fruit from (Geelong, Ballarat, Henty) will be showcased through three chardonnays and three pinot noirs, all from the same vintage, three of which are Halliday 97-pointers.
“The wines taste so different, so it’s a great opportunity to learn about and understand the impact vineyard site has on flavour,” Scott says. He adds: “We’re working on getting some matching food that will be sourced as locally as possible. We want it to be a Great Ocean Road tasting experience.”
Provenance Wines is set to launch the premium tasting experience on Friday October 26.
For a limited time, you can pick up a specially curated case of Provenance’s award-winning pinot noir and chardonnay (all 95 points and above) hailing from across south-west Victoria; find more details of the case here.
Find out more about Provenance Wines on its website, provenancewines.com.au