Western Victoria on show

By Halliday Promotion

10 Jan, 2022

The recent 2021 Western Victorian Wine Challenge proved this historic region's wineries are in fine form. Here, we get to know the producers behind the big trophy wins.

Spanning four distinct subregions, the Western Victorian wine-growing area is less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne. Comprising Ballarat, Grampians, Henty and the Pyrenees, these top wine destinations are home to many small, family-owned cellar doors that are well worth a visit. 

Ballarat is an especially cool region, where pinot noir and chardonnay thrive in the long growing season, while Grampians is home to some of the oldest grape vines in the world, famous for its peppery shiraz and intense riesling. Henty also enjoys a cooler climate, making it another great place for chardonnay and pinot noir, and the Pyrenees has a choice of cellar doors and alternative varieties to try, in addition to its flagship shiraz and cabernet. 

Launched in 2005, the Western Victorian Wine Challenge showcases the quality and diverse styles that abound here, and entries are only available to producers from across the region. The recent show proved once again these wines are continuing to shine.  

And while the producers below each won trophies in the recent Challenge, so many more top wineries are in the region, including the Jimmy Watson Trophy winner, Fallen Giants. If you’re passing through, also consider visiting Blue Pyrenees, ATR Wines, Clarnette & Ludvigsen, Dogrock, Summerfield, Taltarni, Mount Langi Ghiran, Mitchell Harris and Best’s.

Western Victoria's winning wineries 

1. Grampians Estate, Grampians
Best Wine of Show: 2018 Grampians Estate Streeton Shiraz, Sparkling Wine: 2011 Grampians Estate Kelly’s Cuvee, Most Successful Exhibitor of Show: Grampians Estate, Museum White Wine: 2011 Grampians Estate Riesling, Museum Red: 2005 Grampians Estate St Ethels Shiraz, Shiraz: 2018 Grampians Estate Streeton Shiraz.
Winner of seven trophies, including Wine of Show, Grampians Estate stole the 2021 Challenge. The family-owned winery crafts premium wines, with Tom and Sarah Guthrie behind the operation, which today has more than three hectares of vines that are planted to shiraz and chardonnay. The Grampians Estate cellar door has a new cafe, complete with a deck that overlooks the shiraz vines that date back as far as 1878. 
Find out more

2. Miners Ridge, Grampians 
Best White Wine of Show: 2021 Miners Ridge Riesling, Kym Ludvigsen Memorial Trophy Andrew Toomey: 2021 Miners Ridge Riesling, Riesling: 2021 Miners Ridge Riesling. 
Receiving the Kym Ludvigsen Memorial Trophy is significant for Andrew and Katrina Toomey because their winning riesling is from a vineyard that belonged to the late viticulturist Kym. After many years growing grapes for other wineries, the duo crafts medium-bodied styles of riesling, shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet and more. Miners Ridge has a small tasting room, available by appointment, as well as a Bed & Breakfast for those wanting to settle in. 
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3. Tomboy Hill, Ballarat 
Chardonnay: 2019 Tomboy Hill Chardonnay.  
Planted in the 1980s, Tomboy Hill is part of a new wave of growers re-establishing vineyards that existed in the 1850s. For the past 15 years, Tomboy Hill has won trophies for its pinot noirs, but more recently, its chardonnay has been stealing the limelight. A Halliday five-star winery for the past 16 years, Tomboy Hill doesn’t have a cellar door, and while its wines are available in various venues, they can only be bought directly via mail order.
For more details, call 03 5331 3785. 

4. Mount Avoca, Pyrenees 
Rosé and Other White: 2021 Mount Avoca Sauvignon Blanc. 
Since winemaker David Darlow arrived at Mount Avoca several years ago, he has been working to improve and refine the viticulture and winemaking at this estate. With a focus on making wines that are “an absolute pleasure to drink”, the team at Mount Avoca has also won a recent cellar door award for its relaxed and friendly tasting experience. Eco-luxe accommodation is also available onsite, as is an outdoor art gallery and mountain bikes for visitors. 
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5. Seppelt, Grampians 
Pinot Noir: 2020 Seppelt Drumborg Pinot Noir, Wines of Provenance: 2005, 2015, 2021 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling. 
Dating back to 1851, Seppelt is one of the country’s most historic producers; a visit to the winery, and a tour of its underground drives is a true step back in time. Seppelt was among the first to make sparkling wines in Australia – in the 1890s, with both whites and reds. The recent trophy-winning Riesling and Pinot Noir are both from the prized Drumborg Vineyard site in Henty, which is one of Western Victoria’s four subregions. 
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6. Glenlofty Estate, Pyrenees 
Cabernet Sauvignon: 2017 Glenlofty Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. 
The vineyards at Glenlofty Estate sprawl across the foothills of the Pyrenees appellation, where the climate, ancient granitic soil types and varying slopes mirror those of France’s northern Rhône region. Planted in 1995, the vineyard is best known for its shiraz, roussanne and marsanne, but it is also fast earning accolades for its other styles, including cabernet sauvignon – as seen with this most recent trophy – plus chardonnay, merlot and more.
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For all results from the 2021 Western Victorian Wine Challenge, see here.

This article was produced in partnership with the featured wineries.