Victoria – Heathcote – explore some of Australia's best shiraz country

Visit Heathcote, Victoria

By Louise Johnson

July 15th, 2009


There are some cult red wines coming out of the Heathcote region in Victoria, which makes a journey of shiraz discovery a great way to spend a day and learn about this rich wine region.

Many of the cellar doors aren’t open all year round – some sell out quickly and some are just too small to manage a regular cellar door – so it pays to call ahead or to drop into the Visitor Information Centre on the main street of Heathcote where they keep a list of those that are open.

The nicest thing about touring Heathcote cellar doors is that many are small family operations - they haven't yet created the large commercial cellar door operations you'll find in more established regions. You may find yourself dusting off an old barrel for a seat, but you won't mind - the small players offer such a warm welcome to wine explorers you’ll feel like you’re visiting old friends.

Stop 1 – Heathcote II

Head north from the township of Heathcote and work your way back. A good first stop is Heathcote II, which makes premium red wines from the 12 acres of red Cambrian soils which are credited with growing such great shiraz. They also have smaller plantings of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. These guys sell out quickly each year and their 2007 vintage shiraz and Myola blend was released on July 6, so get in quick to snap some up.

290 Cornella - Toolleen Road
Phone: 03 5433 6292



Stop 2 – Flynns Wines

Even on a busy Sunday afternoon when bistro patrons are spilling onto makeshift tables set up in the cellar door, winemaker Greg Flynn cheerfully welcomes curious tasters to explore his range.  He also owns a patch of the sought after red Cambrian soil that produces the coveted Heathcote shiraz and he and wife Natala spent 18 months scouring the area for the right spot. Try the MC Shiraz – the 2006 vintage was a deep purple wine with deep cherry and pepper aromas and a rich chocolate finish.

Lot 5 Lewis Rd
Phone: 03 5433 6297



Stop 3 – Idavue Estate

Music lovers will enjoy a visit to Idavue Estate and a chat with the blues mad family who own the vineyard and run the friendly cellar door. Wines are handcrafted on site using handpicked grapes, hand plunged open ferments with the age old traditional method of basket pressed ferments. Depending on when you visit you may find the cellar overrun with winemakers, grapes and equipment. You must try the Blue Note Shiraz.

470 Northern Hwy
Phone: 03 5433 3464



Stop 4 – Heathcote Winery

At the north end of the main street as you come back into town is Heathcote Winery’s cellar door. The Cellar Door and adjacent Art Gallery are housed in a restored miners produce store built in 1854 to cater for the huge influx of gold miners seeking their fortune in the area. Look out for the Slaughterhouse Paddock Shiraz, made from grapes grown on the site of the original Heathcote Slaughterhouse.

183-185 High Street
Phone: 03 5433 2595



Stop 5 – Cellar and Store

Wander further down the main street and enjoy a grazing platter at Cellar and Store, and a browse through this beautiful wine, food and homeware shop. The owners have a cheese thing, which is a truly great thing, and you can guarantee there will be something exceptional on your platter and in the fridge for you to take home. If you’re lucky your visit with coincide with a tutored winemaker tasting.

105 High Street
Phone: 03 5433 2204



Stop 6  - Shelmerdine Cellar Door

Turn off the main road south of Heathcote and venture down the back road to Sunbury – if you’re heading back to Melbourne this makes a great round trip and gives you a chance to stop at our next two vineyards. A beautiful spot with majestic granite stone formations and a lovely outside courtyard, this is a great place to relax after lunch and taste some more beautiful Heathcote shiraz as well as some of Shelmerdine’s Yarra Valley range – a nice break if you’ve had a heavy red morning.

Lancefield Road
Phone: 03 5433 5188



Stop 8 – McIvor Estate

The best place to watch the sun go down in the late afternoon, especially if you have a glass of the 2005 Shiraz which is a drop of heaven and the winner of the 2007 Royal Melbourne Wine Show Premier’s Gold Trophy.  Owners Gary and Cynthia Harbor have modelled their place on an Italian mixed farm, paying homage to Cynthia's Italian heritage and will welcome you like family. The property yields award-winning wines, an olive grove producing oils and fruit, and a small herd of Murray Grey breeding cows to keep an eye on things. They have great events and "family" meals on Sunday's, so call ahead to see if anything exciting is on.

80 Tooborac- Baynton Road
Phone: 03 5433 5266




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