Upper Goulburn dazzles with its natural beauty and being one of Victoria’s coldest wine regions, its vineyards produce excellent cool-climate styles.
Often recognised as the gateway to Victoria’s High Country, Upper Goulburn shares a snow-clad landscape with the northern side of the Great Dividing Range. Hardy, cool-climate vines create some peppy, textural wines, especially the crisp favourites of chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc. The aromatic varieties grown here produce low yields thanks to the elevation and hilly topography, but the flair of winemakers means styles do not compromise on quality.
Those travelling from Melbourne can expect to arrive in this wine region within an hour-and-a-half drive, where snowfields and holiday opportunities attract a steady stream of tourists. Upper Goulburn’s picturesque rivers and lakes provide excellent opportunities to fish or just to take some time out on the water’s edge.
Hit the region for a range of estate-grown wines, eateries offering country hospitality and plenty of tranquillity.
James Halliday on Upper Goulburn
Originally a central Victorian High Country region was proposed, encompassing both the Upper Goulburn and Strathbogie Ranges, but the decision to split the two regions was clearly correct. This is a seriously cool area, with mountains up to 1800 metres, and vineyards planted as high as 800 metres (and as low as 250 metres). It is one of the few Victorian regions without a history of 19th century viticulture: it may well have seemed to be too cold.
The scenery is always beautiful and varied, with alternating areas of dense forest, grazing pasture, and – increasingly – vineyards. Delatite offers spectacular views towards the Australian Alps, snow-clad in winter and (sometimes) well into spring. Mount Buller, one of Victoria’s foremost skiing destinations, is accessed through Mansfield.
Lake Eildon, one of Victoria’s most important water sources, is in the eastern half of the region, and the Goulburn River runs east to west through its centre. The continuing links with its past are grazing (sheep, dairy cattle and beef cattle), timber logging, and (on a small scale) gold mining.
While the winter–spring rainfall (and snow) is substantial, most vineyards use drip irrigation in summer. This is in turn mainly supplied by surface dams that fill readily; water is not the limiting force here that it is in other parts of central Victoria.
Wine has added to the tourism attractions of the region: boating on Lake Eildon, trout fishing there and in the numerous streams in its borders and Delatite is on the road to Mount Buller’s ski slopes.
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Late March to late May