If you’re into alternative grape varieties, Swan Hill has a range of wines to suit your taste, particularly Italian styles such as vermentino and barbera.
Producers from Swan Hill are famously savvy, choosing new grape varieties and making wine styles suited to the Mediterranean climate. These are rich, flavourful and extremely food-friendly wines – ideally paired with the standout produce and dining experiences that can be enjoyed in this region.
The backbone of Swan Hill is the Murray River, north-west of Victoria. The region is renowned for its plentiful produce and fertile agriculture, from citrus fruits to nuts and olives. Whether it’s fishing for prized Murray cod, cruising down the river on a houseboat or paddle steamer, camping amid the natural beauty or wining and dining, this region offers it all in spades.
James Halliday on Swan Hill
Formerly known as the mid-Murray region, Swan Hill straddles the Murray River, and is thus partly within New South Wales and partly within Victoria. Swan Hill was so named by the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836 because of the abundance of swans and other waterfowl.
Irrigated crops were established as early as 1880, but salinity and other problems caused the pioneer schemes to fail, and it was not until the 1930s that the present-day framework was established. Best’s Wines is recognised as the pioneer; Frederick Thompson established Best’s Lake Boga Vineyard and winery in 1930, which was then named St Andrews.
R. L. Buller of Rutherglen began purchasing grapes from the region in the 1930s, and (after the interruption of the Second World War) bought its vineyard at Beverford, 14 kilometres north of Swan Hill.
As is the case in the Murray Darling region, the protracted drought in the first decade of this century has cast a long shadow over the future of the area. Innovative techniques to make efficient use of whatever limited water is available may provide a partial answer. The question remains whether more expensive water (at best) and lower yields will be economically viable.
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Early February to mid March
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