Places We Love
On the Grapevine
P :: 03 9699 8148
F :: 03 9690 2902
294 Montague Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
King ValleyWith the emergence of Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera the King Valley is fast establishing itself as a premium grape growing district with numerous boutique producers complementing the established Brown Brothers at Milawa. The spectacular setting at the foothills of the Victorian Alps in north-east Victoria, located amidst fertile farming country is home to many gourmet delights that include cheeses, mustards, berries, olives, honey and of course wine. Milawa once serviced gold miners en route to the goldfields of Beechworth and the Ovens Valley and that tradition continues today.
Travel to the north-east from Melbourne toward the ski fields at Mt Buller and pass through the historic township of Mansfield. On the drive through to Whitfield, the scenery is spectacular, especially on the approach to Powers Lookout. A stop here is mandatory as it provides sweeping views of the Upper King Valley and the Alpine National Park. The Lookout was once a vantage point for bushranger Harry Power who was able to observe approaching troopers.
Descending the range into Whitfield, the first stop would be at the Dal Zotto cellar door. Established in 1987, their rich Italian heritage and passion for winemaking is highlighted with the varieties they have pioneered in the region. Included in these are the white varieties, Prosecco and Arneis.
Next door is Rinaldo's, one of the finest dining experiences in the region. It has the rustic and casual feel of an old tobacco shed with a menu that reflects chef Adam Pizzini's passionate, inventive and often playful approach to food. He describes it as 'Italian comfort food with an edge'.
Deeper into the valley is Christmont Wines at Cheshunt. Their first vintage was 1996 and as well as producing the well known varietals of Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, they've also had terrific success with their Mediterranean varietals that are released under the La Zona label. These include Albarino, Arneis, Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Marzemino and Sangiovese.
The nearby Pizzini Winery is one of the higher profile King Valley operations. Originally tobacco farmers, they moved into wines in the late 1970's as growers for Brown Brothers. Additional plantings followed in the 1980's before the introduction of two relatively unknown Northern Italian red grape varieties, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Additional Italian varieties of Verduzzo, Picolit and Arneis followed before their first wine was released in 1994.
The atmospheric cellar door at Gracebrook Vineyards is a delight to finish the day at. Built as stables in the 1880's from local stringybark, red and yellow box round timbers, the wines showcased are chardonnay, merlot, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. The panoramic views are a treat and the pace is unhurried.
In nearby Milawa, overnight accommodation would be at the stylish Lindenwarrah Country House. There's no need to look for dining options as there's an excellent restaurant on site.
Day two starts with a visit to the Milawa Cheese Company & Milawa Bakery. With your breakfast still being digested it may be tough to indulge in the award winning cow, sheep and goats milk cheeses but we're sure you'll find a way ! It's then across to Milawa Mustards to taste their wide range of mustards and other condiments before visiting the high profile Brown Brothers Winery.
Established in 1885, Brown Brothers fostered the tradition of the cellar door in the 1930's whereby visitors could call in and taste the wines and enjoy some wonderful country hospitality. Their cellar door today arguably presents the widest selection of wines available anywhere in the country from a range which includes limited releases of new varietals, experimental batches and optimum aged wines.
The adjacent Epicurean Centre showcases the abundant regional produce that is skillfully matched to Brown Brothers premium wines. The a la carte menu offers entree sized meals which allows guests to enjoy a number of dishes, savoury or sweet.
Returning to Melbourne via Oxley, there's time to visit Sam Miranda Wines. There's a wide selection of wines to enjoy and amongst these are some unusual varieties, Tannat & Petit Manseng from France, the Spanish Tempranillo and Saperavi from Russia. All varieties are grown at their Symphonia vineyard in Myrrhee.
Available on application.