Surrender to lush pastures and the sweeping hills of Gippsland with scattered vineyards throughout or the waterfront retreats along the coast.
Visitors of Gippsland will be spoilt for choice, whether they come for the food, wine or great outdoors. There are wineries galore to discover in the vast region’s expanse, which stretches from the Melbourne’s eastern outskirts and across the state, bordering with New South Wales and into Victoria’s far east. The complexity and variance of climate and soil means there are a multiplicity of wines procured throughout, and travellers will have a flush list of drops to try. Notes from the fertile countryside of East and West Gippsland harvest well-balanced fruit flavours of cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir, supplementary of a slightly warmer climate and low rainfall. Whereas in South Gippsland territory, looking out toward the tempestuous Bass Strait, chardonnay fans will feel at home where the diverse soils and climatic conditions produce a range of cool-climate styles.
Wander from the beaten track and discover an opulent food and wine trail to further excite the taste buds. It’s hard to deny a fresh seafood catch from the local fishmongers or the creamy delicacy of fine cheeses. Gippsland has a flourishing reputation for culinary delights, boutique beers and ales, plus other local produce. From the temperate rainforest of the Tarra Bulga National Park to the touring routes of the Great Alpine Road and further down to the beautiful stretch of the Ninety Mile Beach, this region will captivate every intrepid wanderer.
James Halliday on Gippsland
East Gippsland was the focus of winemaking in the area in the 19th century, with a number of vineyards. The most important were those of the Costellos and Louis Wuillemin in the Maffra–Bairnsdale region. The remains of the Wuillemin cellars are still visible, although winemaking ceased prior to World War I.
East Gippsland was also the area in which viticulture resumed when Pauline and Dacre Stubbs began planting Lulgra in 1970, followed by Robert and Anne Guy in 1971 with Golvinda. The only pioneer whose vineyard and winery has survived is Ken Eckersley at Nicholson River (1979).
The zone has complex weather patterns, some moving south from the New South Wales coast, others driven by the high and low pressure cells which sweep from Western Australia across to Victoria and thence to the Tasman Sea. At times these may block each other, and the region has highly unpredictable rainfall, summer drought and floods making grapegrowing difficult in some seasons.
West Gippsland is at roughly the same latitude as East Gippsland, but over 200 kilometres (as the crow flies) to the west, its western boundary abutting the south-eastern boundary of the Yarra Valley. Its climate is distinctly less Mediterranean, being up to 100 kilometres from the coast, and it is warmer than East Gippsland.
Coolest of all – though only by comparison – is South Gippsland, where the influence of Bass Strait (and onshore winds) is marked. Rainfall, too, is higher, and the dark loam soils around Leongatha make this first-class dairy country. All in all, an unlikely environment for one of Australia’s foremost pinot noir producers, Bass Phillip.
South Gippsland is by a small margin the coolest part, with overall climate slightly more predictable. Notwithstanding the large distances involved and the number of wineries spread across hundreds of kilometres, total production is minuscule, 1 per cent (under 200 tonnes) of that of the Yarra Valley. It is this which prevents the Zone seeking to legitimise the de facto division into South, West and East.
37°30'S - 38°29'S
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Early March to end April
MARGARET RIVER wines to try
White | 2017
Cannibal Creek Vineyard ChardonnayCannibal Creek Vineyard
Red | 2017
Blue Gables Hanratty Hill Eastern Gippsland ShirazBlue Gables
White | 2017
Blue Gables Eastern Gippsland Pinot GrisBlue Gables
White | 2017
Blue Gables Eastern Gippsland Sauvignon BlancBlue Gables