King Valley

Victoria

About

Colloquially called the ‘Little Italy’ of regional Victoria, the European influence on the King Valley has shaped a spirited wine region.

The King Valley has long been home to Italian migrants who brought with them wine styles from the motherland, including savoury sangiovese and crisp pinot grigio. These styles took off in the region, as did Australia’s first-ever sparkling prosecco and some benchmark nebbiolo. If you prefer the familiar flavours of chardonnay or pinot noir, however, you won’t be disappointed, as the King Valley’s vignerons champion a wide range of wine varieties.

Adding to the appeal of the King Valley’s wines is its equally mouth-watering cuisine. For a full gastronomic adventure, call into the Prosecco Road’s cellar doors for authentic Italian food to pair with your vino. Take part in a cooking class and learn to whip up pasta from scratch, or leave it to the experts to treat your taste buds at the region’s restaurants and cafes.


James Halliday on the King Valley


The King Valley began life as a tobacco-growing region, the rich soils and hard work of the predominantly Italian farmers ensuring a highly profitable business. But times changed and as the tobacco-leaf market dwindled away, other crops had to be found. Graziers, too, were looking to diversify, and with crucial encouragement from Brown Brothers in the early 1970s, viticulture was the route chosen by most.

Encompassing the watershed of the King River, this is an important grape-growing region, albeit one of considerable physical diversity. The King River joins the Ovens River at Wangaratta, and the King Valley region runs south through the Oxley Plains for 25 kilometres to Moyhu before entering a number of narrow valleys in the foothills of the Alps. At its northern end is the long-established location of Milawa, which is at the lowest point of 155 metres, at the southern end is the Whitlands plateau, which at 800 metres is one of the highest viticultural areas in Australia. The Whitlands plateau is, indeed, seeking to separate itself from the King Valley proper by individual regional registration, but as at mid-2005 there was a stand-off between the interested parties.

The King Valley is fertile country capable of producing high yields of good-quality grapes across the full spectrum from chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon, and it supplies grapes to a considerable number of Australia’s leading wineries across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. An increasing number of producers now make (or have made) part of their grapes into wine, taking up the excess in times of oversupply.

Facts

Wineries 35
Tasting Notes 1633

Geographic

Latitude 36°20’S
Altitude 155–860 m
Heat Degree Days 1350–1580
Growing Season Rainfall 640–1410 mm
Mean January Temp 20.8–22°C
Harvest Early March to late April