Geelong - vineyards and cellar doors
Geelong viticulture is small, intensive and high quality, with many of the day to day tasks from pruning to harvest being carried out by hand.
Vineyard soils here vary from the dark basaltic formations in the north to the rich red duplexes of sites closer to the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula.
During the past quarter century, Geelong has been acknowledged as the home of some of Australia’s finest cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Well-structured and often long-lived, these table wines reflect characteristics of vineyard site and aspect as much as variety. Wines produced in warmer, drier locations away from the water are far sturdier and richer than the lighter and more aromatic wines produced on the peninsula itself.
Sheltered sites to the north and away from the coast offer growers the option of planting Viognier (11ha), Shiraz (84ha) and Cabernet Sauvignon (26ha). Zinfandel (2ha) and Durif (2ha) provide red wine lovers with an element of novelty at the cellar door. Indeed, those same red wine lovers are bound to rejoice on discovering that almost 65 percent of Geelong’s vineyard area is planted to red wine varieties.
Among white grapes, Chardonnay (86ha) is the most planted variety, with Sauvignon Blanc (28ha) easily accounting for Riesling (17ha) in the quest for naming rights as the region’s second-string white. Who knows, Viognier (11ha) and Pinot Gris (11ha) may well battle for the title before too long.
Among the wines to seek out on a visit to Geelong, the Chardonnays of Bannockburn and Clyde Park are invariably stylish and carefully crafted. Pinot Noirs from Bannockburn, by Farr, Curlewis and Scotchmans Hill also figure among the region’s most celebrated labels.
Be prepared to pay premium and super premium prices for Geelong’s handcrafted Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Joining a vineyard mailing list is the safest bet to secure a purchase, given that many producers only open by appointment or offer limited cellar door opening hours.
- Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula (VIC)
- Melbourne Surrounds (VIC)
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