King Valley Wine Region
The King Valley Wine Region in North Eastern Victoria is a treasure trove of varietal wines. It has the greatest concentration of alternative varieties of any wine region in Australia.
Many producers who formerly sent all of their grapes to the large wineries, both within the region and elsewhere, are now producing wine on their own account.
The climate of the region is heavily influenced by altitude. At the southern end higher altitudes and cooler climate makes for a different sub-region, but attempts to get formal recognition of this fact have so far failed.
The varietal profile of the vines grown in the King Valley have an Italian bias, reflecting the region's history. For many years this area was a tobacco growing area. Many of the tobacco farmers were of Italian origin. From the late 1970's favourable government policies and subsidies to the tobacco industry were phased out. Alternative crops were needed and the area under grapes has steadily expanded.
Two wineries, a large one and a small one, deserve special mention. Brown Brothers is one of the largest family owned wine producers in the country. For decades they have had an extensive program of trialing new varieties. Many have graduated through from being Cellar Door Release only to full commercial release. Some of these varieties are grown at company vineyards in other regions, notably at Mystic Park near Swan Hill and at Heathcote.
One small winery of note in the region is Symphonia. This winery and its vineyards were owned by Peter Read who pioneered a number of varieties in the region, in particular Petit Manseng and Saperavi. The winery is now operated by Sam Miranda who has kept the distinctive black and white Symphonia label for his alternative varietals.
A range of microclimates is available from the slightly warmer valley floors to the bracingly cool upper slopes. Thus there is a wide range of varietal wines produced. Visitors to this region have no excuse if the restrict their tasting to traditional varieties and styles.
The following King Valley wineries produce wines from alternative varieties
Avalon Wines Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo, Verdelho |
Bella Riva Pinot gris, Sangiovese, Vermentino |
Bergamin Wines Pinot gris |
Boggy Creek Vineyards Barbera, Pinot gris, Sangiovese, Tempranillo |
Brown Brothers Aglianico, Arneis, Barbera, Carmenere, Chenin blanc, Cienna, Crouchen, Dolcetto, Durif, Flora, Graciano, Lagrein, Lexia, Mondeuse, Montepulciano, Moscato, Muscadelle, Nebbiolo, Nero d'Avola, Petit verdot, Prosecco , Orange muscat, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tarrango, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Viognier, Zibibbo, Zinfandel |
Chrismont Arneis, Barbera, Marzemino, Petit manseng, Pinot gris, Prosecco, Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo |
Ciavarella Aucerot, Dolcetto, Durif, Graciano, Verdelho, Viognier |
Ciccone Estate Sangiovese |
Circo V Viognier |
Collina del Re Meunier |
Dal Zotto Estate Arneis, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Prosecco, Sangiovese |
Darling Estate Chenin blanc, Gamay, Nebbiolo |
Eminence Meunier, Pinot gris |
Flying Duck Estate Sangiovese, Viognier |
Fratelli Pinot Gris |
Gracebrook Vineyards Dolcetto, Moscato, Pinot gris, Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Savagnin |
Henderson Hardie Gewurztraminer, Meunier, Pinot gris |
John Gehrig Wines Chenin blanc, Durif, Gamay, Lagrein, Meunier |
King River Estate Barbera, Lagrein, Sagrantino, Saperavi, Sangiovese, Verdelho, Vermentino, Viognier |
La Cantina King Valley Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo |
Lana Prosecco |
Paul Bettio Barbera, Pinot gris |
Pizzini Wines Arneis, Brachetto, Nebbiolo, Picolit, Sangiovese, Verduzzo |
Politini Grecanico, Pinot gris, Nero d'Avola, Sangiovese, Vermentino |
Primerano Pinot gris |
Reads Crouchen |
Redbank Victoria Garganega, Moscato, Pinot gris, Viognier |
Rose Hill Estate Wines Durif |
Sam Miranda Wines Arneis, Durif, Moscato, Petit verdot, Prosecco, Tempranillo, Verdelho |
Symphonia Arneis, Dolcetto, Meunier, Petit manseng, Pinot gris, Saperavi, Savagnin, Tannat, Tempranillo, Viognier |
Toombullup North Arneis, Pinot gris, Sangiovese |
Wood Park Pinot gris, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Verdelho, Viognier, Zinfandel
Other wineries source fruit from this region, notably the Mornington Peninsula's Dromana Estate which produces the 'i' range of Italian varietals.
Visiting the King Valley Wine Region
The King Valley is one of Australia's most beautiful destinations for a wine tour.
It can be reached from Melbourne in under three hours by car. It is also possible to make a detour through the region on trips between Melbourne and Sydney.
The tourism infrastructure is well developed. The region lies astride the Snow Road which carries traffic to the nearby winter resorts. There is an emphasis on the production
and sale of high quality gourmet foods, most notably Milawa cheeses and mustards.
This wine region is one of great scenic beauty. The landscape is dominated by the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. Victoria's major snowfields are in this area.
Much of the higher country is protected by National Parks. The valleys have rich soils and a favourable climate suitable for a variety of agricultural uses including viticulture.
If you are making an extended visit to this region, which is highly recommended, you will find many accommodation and restaurant options in some of the wineries and in the nearby towns of
Wangaratta, Milawa, Beechworth and Myrtleford.
Nearby wine regions include
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