The holy trinity of wine regions sits at your doorstep
We love wine, right? Well, if there’s one thing we love just as much as wine, its wineries and Victoria has stacks of them! With mother’s day just around the corner, maybe it’s time to get out and go on a tasting holiday to any number of the beautiful venues our state has to offer. Don’t know where to start? Allow me to introduce you to North East Victoria, and the ‘holy trinity’ of Beechworth, Rutherglen and the King Valley.
If you want to tackle everything that this great region has to offer, I’d recommend planting yourself in Wangaratta or Milawa and hit the ground running with two great wineries right on your doorstep. Sam Miranda is a lovely winery just outside of Oxley no more than a ten minute drive away. The cellar door is difficult to miss with an immediately eye-catching tower easily visible from the outskirts of its vineyards. If you enjoy a glass of prosecco or any mediterranean varieties, be sure to stop here.
It would be an omission if we didn’t include Milawa’s Brown Brothers on this list, which also happens to be within cycling distance of Sam Miranda. It’s arguably one of Victoria’s most famous wineries, known for moscato, prosecco and their Patricia series of reds. Brown Brothers also boasts a great restaurant and a relaxed dining and tasting experience complete with beanbags and plenty of shady trees to enjoy a picnic style lunch alongside your tasting.
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After something a little more…full bodied? It’s time to take a road trip out to Rutherglen and experience one of the few places in the world that produces durif, a firm red with notes of black plum and pepper. That’s not even mentioning the boat loads of awards the Rutherglen region has won for their fortified wines, which are especially worth checking out. On a side note, while you’re here make sure you stop at Parker Pies for lunch, you’ll thank me later.
For your Durif needs my first port of call would be to check out Cofield Wines. Though they’ve a relatively humble cellar door, Cofield has serious chops when it comes to their wines, making it a great quick stop along your journey. As mentioned, their durif is an absolute killer and a great showcase of what the variety has to offer. A special mention should be made for their Moscato too, which is arguably one of the best in the region. Conveniently, Cofield’s neighbors Pfeiffer Wines are just around the corner, with a lovely rustic venue, a beautiful river walk and a damn good shiraz. But the main showstoppers here are the fortifieds, particularly their Muscat varieties! You can even book a guided Muscat experience to get the full rundown of what makes the Pfeiffer fortifieds so renowned.
Special mention goes out to Buller Wines, for their excellent fortifieds and fantastic venue and Calico Town Wines, who alongside The Wicked Virgin offer a ‘one-two punch’ of great wines and exceptional olive oil wrapped up in a homely, rustic package with really friendly staff. Stopping for afternoon tea here is a must.
But now it’s time for Historic Beechworth, one of Victoria’s favorite tourist hotspots! There’s plenty of reasons to stay a whole weekend in Beechworth alone, and the wine is a big part of that. A personal recommendation would be to take a trip over to The Indigo Vineyard. With a great little hilltop cellar door and a nice view of the vineyards, Indigo is just such a relaxed experience. The staff are friendly and offer great insights into the recent bushfires that affected the whole region. One such innovation to come from the bushfires, is Indigo wine’s limited Black Label varieties, which are produced from salvaged grapes that avoided the extensive smoke damage that ravaged many a winery. The Black Label wines are a real highlight if you’re after something uniquely Beechworth, but let’s not forget about the Shiraz.
Another notable pick for the Beechworth region is Pennyweight, which you can reach via car or cycle along the rail trail if you so desire. Another hilltop alcove tucked away from all the hustle and bustle of the main town, Pennyweight is a great stop for lovers of chardonnay and riesling in particular, though the rest of their wines are sure to impress, especially the pinot noir.
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Finally coming back to the King Valley, there are two wineries that you simply cannot miss. If you enjoy your Italian varieties, Dal Zotto and Pizzini Wines are where you want to be.
The Dal Zotto family are pioneers of prosecco in Australia and they certainly show it. Their prosecco varieties are second to none and the cellar door is first class with Trattoria restaurant being a significant highlight. Seasonal produce is the name of the game here so expect to find yourselves indulging in antipasto, handmade pasta and glorious wood fired pizza.
If you want fun, Pizzini is destination numero uno. The staff here are delightful and there’s plenty of back and forth banter to be had. The venue offers a fantastic open and well-lit dining experience if you’re after coffee and cake, which you should be. But of course, the wines are what we’re after and Pizzini has great wines in spades. Italian reds are the main course, with Pizzini being the only winery in the country that offers a homegrown Tuscan favorite canaiolo, a real treat for lovers of dry reds. Their sangiovese is likely the best in the region and if you’re after something particularly fancy, make sure you taste their Pietra Rossa Magnum variety. Like Dal Zotto, food is a staple of the Pizzini experience, but if you’ve already had your fill then maybe it’s worth booking one of Katrina’s signature cooking classes instead to get a taste of the culinary wonders Pizzini Wines has on offer. Or you know… just eat at both!
Still got some travelling left in you? Be sure to check out Forte’s travel guides right here!