Perricoota Wine Region
The riverine wine region of Perricoota, straddling the northern banks of the Murray River, produces a broad range of grape varieties and table wines.
In the scale of Australian wine, Perricoota has more recent origins, with its roots resting deeper in livestock and sheep droving, but river irrigation opened up a viticulture scene for the steady growth of quality wines. As part of the Big Rivers Zone, the region shares a similar backdrop to other flat river terrain. Although this warm-climate setting enjoys long hours of sunshine, myriad red and white grape plantings prove the area is suitable for a variety of styles. Visitors can expect to sample citrus-driven semillon and balanced chardonnay, alongside fruit-driven shiraz and cabernet, to name a few.
Perricoota’s natural asset lies in its share of the Murray River, which draws a steady flow of tourists to a riverboat holiday or a historic paddle steamer cruise. This rural community in southern New South Wales prides itself on a selection of indulgences and local produce. Despite a comparatively small wine scene, visitors can still expect rich fruit aromas and flavours.
James Halliday on Perricoota
The name of the region comes from Perricoota Station, established in the 1850s and purchased by the Watson brothers in 1911, whose descendants still own and farm the property. At first blush, one might assume the region was created to fill in the gap between the Murray River and Riverina. In fact it is but a pinhead in size compared to Riverina, and there is a large gap between the two regions, doubtless without available water. So it is that the Murray River constitutes the southern boundary of Perricoota, thus dividing the twin towns of Moama (on the New South Wales side) and Echuca (on the Victorian side).
While viticulture has been a significant part of the agricultural scene on the southern side of the Murray River, it was not until 1995 that vineyards were planted on the northern side, and two years later the first commercial vintage was harvested in the Perricoota region. (Sporadic attempts had been made in the middle of the 19th century, but were unsuccessful.)
In 1999 the 500-tonne production level required for registration as a region under the GI legislation was achieved. The region will not lose its GI status if production shrinks to less than 500 tonnes, but this would be small consolation if it were to occur. Perricoota shares the same daunting challenges with all the other GIs along the Murray Darling river system.
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Early February to mid-March