natural beauty and fine, cool wines
*We understand you might not be travelling right now, but that’s all the more reason to plan adventures for better times – and the Grampians is a trip with plenty of outdoor appeal.
The striking natural landscape of the Grampians, with its forested foothills and rocky mountain ranges, is one reason this Victorian destination attracts droves of visitors each year. Adding to that appeal is an intriguing wine region with historic cellars and award-winning wines – a Grampians wine tour promises plenty of rewards. It might be a three-hour drive from Melbourne, but there are so many reasons to visit this beautiful region.
Welcome to the Grampians
There are distinctive offerings to explore in every corner of the Grampians. From the famous trails of the Grampians National Park, enticing lacing up the hiking boots in between tastings, to the region’s historic gold-mining towns, destination restaurants, and adrenaline-raising activities like rock climbing. As far as Grampians wineries go, expect to traverse underground cellars, take in sweeping views of vineyards stretching out to the mountains, and drink an array of delicate wines, particularly the region’s signature reds.
The history of wine in the grampians
This Victorian region has a rich and varied history. It is a sacred site for First Nation’s People, as evidenced through its ancient rock art, has seen European settlement, agricultural development, and was a significant hub for the 19th-century gold rush, with towns like Stawell, St Arnaud and Ararat still showcasing remnants of this past. Then there is its vinous history, which began as the gold fever died down. Many consider the Grampians the birthplace of Australian sparkling, and wineries such as Seppelt and Best’s Great Western have operated here since the mid-1800s, making it one of our oldest wine regions.
Despite its early reputation for sparkling, the Grampians is a red wine region first and foremost. Today, it is famous for its elegant, spicy shiraz.
The Grampians winemaking conditions
This cooler climate wine region experiences warm, dry summers with a moderating influence from the distant Southern Ocean, and mild, sunny autumns that are ideal for harvesting grapes. A long, slow ripening period, elevated and sloping vineyard sites, hardy, older-vine material, and the marginal Grampians weather produce low-yielding, character-filled grapes. The result is distinctive wines with intensity and elegance.
Grampians wine types
Shiraz towers above all other varieties in the Grampians, making up three-quarters of the total plantings. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot make great blending mates. Meanwhile, riesling is the region’s hero white variety, and the Grampians also produces some rare and ethereal pinot noir and pinot meunier wines in small amounts.
Silky-smooth, medium-bodied shiraz wines with juicy red and purple fruit and notes of pepper and spice distinguish the Grampians style. The highly sought-after shiraz wines of the region are approachable and food-friendly for early drinking, but can also be incredibly long-lived. Sparkling shiraz is another of the region’s calling cards.
Cabernet sauvignon from this region expresses itself with tart red and black fruit flavours plus some earthy and herbal characters, all wrapped up in a framework of fine tannins. There are single-variety examples found from the Grampians, but often cabernet sauvignon from here has a splash of shiraz in the mix or else is a minor component.
The region’s fine-boned but flavoursome style extends to this aromatic variety, where delicate florals and stone fruits on the nose meet mouth-watering citrus and green apple on the palate. The refined rieslings of the Grampians will age gracefully.
tHINGS TO DO IN THE GRAMPIANS
This region isn’t short of activities and events. After stopping into the area’s brilliant tasting rooms and choosing from one of the many Grampians winery restaurants for lunch, you might like to swap wine for walking shoes on a Grampians hike. Depending on your style, this could be an easy-going bushland circuit or a challenging climb culminating in panoramic views. The network of trails in the Grampians National Park has something for everyone. Another option is to plan your trip around food and wine festivals such as the annual Grampians Grape Escape, or cultural events like the Grampians Music Festival. Whether you’re coming purely for the wine and dining or want to mix it up with outdoor excursions and arts, there’s an incredible amount to discover.
The Grampians is a big enough drive to warrant spending extra time. While it is possible to go on a Grampians day trip, it would likely leave you wishing for a full weekend to uncover all that the region has to offer. Accommodation in the Grampians ranges from excellent camping spots to cosy winery stays. The Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park is a popular option at the gateway to the Grampians National Park that has quirky campervan and glamping options in addition to the standard camping sites and cabins. For an indulgent getaway, look to the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, where you can enjoy a stunning setting, luxe facilities, award-winning dining and wine from the 28,000-bottle cellar.
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Mid March to mid May