History has dealt harshly with Victoria but geography has been much kinder. It is the only wine-growing region in Australia to have been affected by phylloxera, the dreaded vine-munching insect, but it has a range of topographical and climatic conditions that allow for a wealth of vines and styles to thrive.Read More
As a consequence of these natural snakes and ladders, Victoria lost its status as the pre-eminent Australian wine-growing region in the late 19th century but has recently rediscovered, and exploited, all the advantages that made it so successful in the first place. It is a region to watch, and taste.
Victoria has no Barossa or Hunter Valley to proclaim its name far and wide, but the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Goulburn Valley, Pyrenees and Rutherglen, amongst others, are all districts worthy of note. The Murray-River Valley produces most of the region's grapes, which are used in large wine production.
The breadth of temperature, rainfall and altitude throughout Victoria, as well as a culture of boutique wineries and experimentation not often associated with Australia, have ensured that the styles are certainly not bland. Everyday wine mingles with premium quality; sparkling and sweet are alive; and every expression of red, white and rosé is there to be discovered. It is a region that embraces everything with aplomb.
Shiraz has tended to achieve the most exceptional results, but Chardonnay, Semillon, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have all been successful.
The district of Rutherglen is maybe the most interesting when it comes to the vine. It produces intense sweet wines from the Muscat grape, but it is also one of the few places in the world that keeps alive the Durif. A red grape named after the doctor who, in the south of France in the late 1800s, crossed Syrah and Peloursin to create it, it can produce rich and long-lived wines.
Three broad and distinct climates exist in Victoria. There are the hot areas of the Murray River Valley and Rutherglen, the temperate zone taking in the Goulburn Valley and the Pyrenees, and the cooler climes of the coast incorporating the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. Each excels at a different style of wine and this provides the region with a great deal of variety.