Beechworth area produce some of the finest wines in Australia.
There are a dozen or so wineries within minutes of town and those further afield make for excellent day or half day trips from Beechworth.
In addition the surrounding regions of Milawa, Rutherglen, Indigo Valley and the King Valley all are easily accessible and are very significant fine wine producing areas with each having its own specialties.
There are wine tours available from Beechworth for groups to local and/or regional wineries-so that you can enjoy extensive tastings without the worries of driving yourself!
For more info on this drop in to the Beechworth Information Centre-opposite the historic precinct in town for details.
There is also mini bus hire(with or without driver) in town- Beechworth Mini Bus Lines has a range of buses for hire or tours-contact Pat Doyle 0357 283112 .
Here are a few ideas on Beechworth and wine.
The setting.The Beechworth Plateau at 450-550 metres elevation is located the continental side of The Great Dividing Range and is therefore exposed to cool frosty winters and hot summers with cool nights-with overall lower temperature than the valleys below aiding development of complexity in the ripening berries. The soils are ancient heavily weathered granite and flinty shales, low in nutrients from which grape vines produce low yields with very intense flavours.
From these grapes a variety of individual artisan winemakers work their magic from small plantings-often using organic and bio-dynamic techniques with low or no irrigation. They may then apply traditional European or experimental wine making methods to craft unique and regionally distinct wines.These have been receiving rave reviews world wide for some time now.
Other nearby areas.
The King valley-again excellent higher elevation table wines -try the delicate Rieslings.
The Milawa gourmet region (Ovens River valley) featuring the famous Brown Brothers Wine and Dine centre but also other wineries- and gourmet foods too!
Ovens Valley wineries-begin with the lovely Gapstead Winery with restaurant-it's just down the hill!(Buckland Gap road to Myrtleford). Try Michelini in Myrtleford for some unusual Italian varietals and Boyntons in the shadow of Mt Feathertop at Porepunkah before Bright on the Great Alpine road for the Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling especially.Excellent cellar club.
I personally LOVE Boyntons Feathertop Vineyard -the setting,the people,the wines,the cellar door and restaurant .The cellar club(Summit Grand Cru) is a raging bargain(Apparently about to close its list!).My personal favourite,the cool climate Riesling is always wonderful, the cool climate reds delicate and complex-rising to greatness in some instances.
Rutherglen-see Liquid Gold in the Menu Bar above-not to be missed!! An easy half day trip.
My amateur ( incomplete!) guide to Beechworth area wineries
Pennyweight (Pennyweight Lane Beechworth) Bio-dynamic organic and hand picked non-irrigated estate table wines with intense flavours! Try the only estate riesling i can find in a Beechworth winery. Also the only winery in Beechworth to have a significant range of fortified wines and sherries. Try the Constance fino sherry,Pennyweight Gold and Ruby Port-all from estate grown organic grapes.
Smiths Croom Lane Beechworth near Pennyweight. Oldest vineyard in the area.Try the wild-fermented chardonnay! (James Halliday 5 stars).Cellar door closed now.
Sorrenberg outskirts of Beechworth (Barmutha)) Traditional hand made barrique-fermented wines.Try the Gamay!
"An artisanly crafted sweet and savoury sensation that unlocks new fruit flavours which are certain to tantalize the Australian palate. Piquant and refreshing, a fully animate expression of the Gamay grape to suit barbequed quail and cevapcicci!" -Tastesofwines.com
"Barry and Jan Morey keep a low profile, but the wines from their 2.5-ha vineyard at Beechworth have a cult following not far removed from that of Giaconda; chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and gamay are the principal varieties planted on the north-facing, granitic slopes. Gamay and Chardonnay are the winery specialties!" -Wine Companion.
(Wooragee-10 km towards Wodonga) Cellar door. Traditional merlot and shiraz and Italian varieties wild yeast fermented and basket pressed followed by secondary barrel fermentation. Hand crafted wines of seriously good quality.
Note Wooragee is famous for its spectacular autumn pin oak avenue display and the conservation effort for the rare Barking Owl.
Barking owl Ninox connivens connivens
Gapstead (Buckland Gap)Lovely outdoor area and restaurant featuring a delicious platter available to enjoy with wine and the views over the vineyard and valley.Widest range of wines at a variety of price levels.Try the estate grown sparkling Pinot -Chardonnay! Wine club and newsletter and EVENTS at the winery.There is now weekend breakfast AND a Taste Bud Tour-combining premium estate wines with gourmet finger foods. Only $10 for 3 wines with matching finger food!)..........And SO CLOSE to The Vision Splendid-you could almost crawl home!
Giaconda-legendary chardonnay(said to be Australias greatest modern wine)-mail order only i believe! Newsletter.
Indigo(Everton 10 km from Beechworth on the Mebourne Rd) Indigo cellar door has on site wine tasting tours and kit(2 to 8 people) $20 each.Wonderful experience and great value with take home engraved glass too!.Lunch by the creek. Recommended!!!
Amulet (Melbourne road as above) Cellar door. Light local produce platters and lunches on weekends. Function centre.Diverse range of Italian and French varietals.Now offering cider too!! Wine club. Annual Scottish Highland Games in mid August-a fun family day! Davidsons Olive Grove opposite with many olive products offered
Battely 13 km from Beechworth on the Melbourne rd. Everton. Durif and Syrah varieties
Yengari Lot 3 Melbourne road Try the ultra premium Rhone Valley styles from their Beechworth vineyard -Shiraz Voigner.
Savaterre Melbourne road. Organic.Named as one of the top 25 Australian wineries"with a bullet"(Sommelier Magazine).Only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-unhurried,unfiltered and naturally fermented.Both served in Qantas first class!
Castagna 88 Resson Lane Beechworth 5 km from Beechworth Rudolph Steiner bio-dynamic principles. Italian varietals, seriously good Rose, Fascinating winery with traditional methods.Expensive but try Un Segreto 2006-"utterly world class" $75
Tinkers Hill Woolshed valley 10km from Beechworth off the road to Chiltern/Rutherglen.(James Halliday gave 5 stars- the winery and also the wine!)Try a local produce platter with tea or coffee while tasting.Wood fire. Generous discount at Cellar door.
Combine with a visit to Sugarloaf Olive grove opposite.There's a very nice drive down the scenic and historic Woolshed valley to Eldorado and then back to Beechworth on the main road.See the cute Eldorado township and the massive alluvial gold dredge nearby.
Availability in town The Beechworth Provender and Beechworth Wine Centre stock a wide range of local wines-including wineries which may not be open at cellar door.Most of the restaurants and hotels in town stock local wines.Try these restaurants-Provenance(has a sommelier to help you) Gigis,The Green Shed,Wardens and The Ox and Hound. The larger hotels Tanswell's Commercial Hotel,The Nicholas Hotel and the Hibernian Hotel all stock and serve at least some local wines(also ciders and beers!).
The IGA supermarket in Beechworth also has a (declining) section in the liquor area devoted to local and regional wines.
YES! You could come to Beechworth just for the wine-but there is so much more!!!!