Discover the diverse and rich wine regions of Victoria. From the winemakers of Victoria to the wineries and wine, uncover all that Victoria has to offer.
Discover the wine and wine regions of Victoria
Discover the the wine regions of Victoria with James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia
The viticultural map of Victoria is more densely populated than that of any other state: it has more regions and it has more wineries than South Australia, its western neighbour, and – in production terms – its big brother. Moreover, the percentage of its total surface area covered by wine regions is far greater than that of any other state. Small wonder that Hubert de Castella called his 1886 book about the wines of Victoria John Bull’s Vineyard. He was convinced all the wine needs of England could be supplied by Victoria.
To a far greater degree than in any other part of Australia, wine and gold formed a potent blend here throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. The Victorian goldfields are now largely a memory – however glorious in places such as Ballarat – but wine has prospered to the present, notwithstanding the impact of phylloxera which arrived in Geelong in 1875 or 1876, and worked its destructive path north to Rutherglen by the end of that century.
Other than Tasmania, Victoria is the smallest state in the Commonwealth, yet it has the greatest diversity of regional and site climates, from the very cool Macedon Ranges to the very warm regions stretching along the Murray River, from the north-east to the north-west of the state.
As with all the other states, however, there are anomalies of various kinds. Gippsland is a zone – and a very large one at that – without regions, notwithstanding that climate and commonsense would suggest at least three regions. The problem is it simply doesn’t grow enough grapes for regions to be registered.
At the other end of the spectrum, some significant small wineries within the Port Phillip, Central Victoria, Western Victoria and North East Victoria Zones find themselves outside the regions falling with those zones. These wineries are covered in the zonal introductions.
Finally, for the sake of convenience and logic, I cover the North West Victoria Zone and its two regions, Murray Darling and Swan Hill, in this section of the book, rather than in the Big Rivers Zone of New South Wales. Both of these regions fall partly in Victoria and partly in New South Wales, but most, if not all, of the wineries are in Victoria.