Savour the rustic charm of the Hilltops wine region and extend your stay for the orchard landscapes, olive groves and sweet cherry country.
This region welcomes offers big culinary delights, from juicy wines to prize-winning meats. The area, encircling the Young township, is familiar with growing bright summer fruits, and their vineyards are no exception. This region may sit under the radar, but it’s not one to overlook. Hilltops offers a wide range of wine styles, including great examples of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon that thrive in the cool climate. While those reds are among the signature varietals, other styles shine too, particularly chardonnay.
In addition to the region’s incredible wines, don’t miss its produce – think mustard producers, cheese, local honey and more. In the warmer months, be sure to coincide your stay with top local festivals and bustling farmers’ markets.
James Halliday on the Hilltops
Australia may not have been a melting pot to challenge the US in the 19th century, but it was most certainly multicultural, thanks in part to the gold rush decades. Gold brought Nichole Jasprizza from his native Croatia in 1860, but he prospered by selling the gold miners their daily needs and planted vines in the area. In 1880 he sponsored three nephews to come to Australia to join the business, and by the early years of the 20th century they had won prizes at the Sydney Wine Show and extended the vineyards to 240 hectares.
Grape growing and winemaking continued in the area until the World War II, when labour shortages curtailed activities; by 1960 the vineyards were so neglected they were removed and cherries planted in their place.
Only nine years were to pass before the late Peter Robertson, together with sundry members of his family, commenced the establishment of his Barwang vineyard in 1969. It was a substantial farming property, with grape growing and winemaking a minor diversification from the core grazing activities. When McWilliam’s acquired the 400-hectare property in 1989, only 13 hectares were planted to vines – although even then it was by far the largest vineyard in the region. McWilliam’s has since increased the plantings to over 100 hectares, while Grove Estate Vineyard has 55 hectares. There are now over 400 hectares in bearing throughout the region.
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Late March to May
Geelong wines to try
White | 2017
Grove Estate Murringo Way Hilltops ChardonnayGrove Estate Wines
Moppity Vineyards Cato Pepe Bianco Tumbarumba GrunerMoppity Vineyards
Red | 2015
Moppity Vineyards Estate Hilltops MerlotMoppity Vineyards
Red | 2016
Moppity Vineyards Estate Hilltops Cabernet SauvignonMoppity Vineyards