Head into the picturesque heart of Victoria for a memorable food and wine journey taking in the Goulburn Valley, King Valley and Heathcote wine regions.
Stretching from Seymour (just an hour north from Melbourne) up to Echuca and the NSW border, the sun-drenched Goulburn Valley is often referred to as Victoria’s food bowl. Ancient river red gums line the creeks and waterways that crisscross the fertile valley, irrigating the fruit orchards, olive groves and vineyards that flourish here.
A historic wine-growing region, the Goulburn Valley is home to some of the world’s oldest shiraz and marsanne vines – which date back to the 1800s – and is renowned for powerful shiraz, typified by rich red fruits and spice. But you’ll also find earthy cabernet sauvignon, merlot, grenache and buttery rich chardonnay.
For unique wine-and-dine experiences visit Victoria’s most esteemed wineries Tahbilk Winery and Mitchelton Winery, and save the date for the Tastes of the Goulburn festival in Seymour, 15 October 2022, with options to travel by vintage steam train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station.
In the neighbouring Heathcote winery region to the west, shiraz is truly king – voluptuous, deep-coloured shiraz, rich with complex fruit flavours. Its success is partly attributed to the ancient red Cambrian soils which consist of green stone that retains water year-round, keeping grapes succulent and juicy. Look out for full-bodied Yarran Block Series Heathcote Shiraz and fragrant Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz which boasts an intoxicating aroma of dark berries and white pepper.
With more than 40 wineries in the region – many small and family-run – you can also sample fine sangiovese, grenache, tempranillo, chardonnay and riesling. Just passing through? The enchanting gold rush town of Heathcote is filled with beautifully preserved historic buildings and cellar doors, and sets an atmospheric scene for the Heathcote Wine and Food Festival, 1-2 October 2022.
To the east of Goulburn Valley, the picturesque King Valley wine region nestles at the base of Alpine National Park. Reminiscent of northern Italy, the region was settled by Italian immigrants who planted vines with a passion. Sangiovese and prosecco are the stars, but you will find many other Italian-influenced varietals including pinot grigio, rosata and barbera.
To best experience the famous traditional Italian hospitality of the region, follow the King Valley Prosecco Road food and wine trail, which links Brown Brothers, Chrismont, Dal Zotto, Gracebrook and Sam Miranda wineries, all of which offer fun and informative wine tastings and fabulous eateries. Or come for the King Valley La Dolce Vita food and wine festival, 19-20 November 2022.
Elegantly designed rooms overlook vineyards against a backdrop of distant alpine peaks, while the restaurant serves up contemporary Australian cuisine in classy surrounds. Brown Brothers Winery is just down the road, so pick up a bottle of Brown Brothers Brut Reserve and enjoy the delicate creamy bubbles while soaking up the view from your patio.
Part of Mitchelton Winery, this boutique hotel offers modern luxury with minimalist interiors, conveniently located just a stone’s throw from the cellar door! Balconies overlook the river flanked by red gums and weeping willows, and the day spa offers a tantalising range of botanical therapies.
Looking for a romantic getaway? Brimming with old-world charm and surrounded by enchanted gardens, this luxury bed and breakfast is set in a refurbished manor house just five minutes from Shepperton CBD. Gourmet breakfasts are a highlight.
Savour authentic Italian cuisine overlooking the vineyard and river red gums, with fresh produce plucked straight from Nonna Elena’s vegetable garden. Expect delicious antipasto, generous cheese and salumi platters and homemade pastas. To enjoy the flavour of Italy at home, pick up a bottle of Dal Zotto Sangiovese, a highly drinkable red that pairs perfectly with hearty Italian dishes.
In the mood for a hearty country pub lunch? Warm your toes by the fire and order a chargrilled steak, salt and pepper calamari or vegetarian lasagne, washed down with a craft beer or Heathcote shiraz.
This rustic eatery has an ever-evolving menu based on seasonal, locally sourced products. Try lamb ragu fettuccine with Redbank Shiraz sauce or a sensational funghi and herb pizza cooked in the woodfired oven in the expansive garden. Redbank Wines has a cellar door here; try Redbank Sunday Morning Prosecco for the uplifting taste of King Valley.
Committed to sustainability, Mitchelton Winery has a peaceful setting on the Goulburn River and offers themed tastings, a rustic yet refined dining experience and an impressive Gallery of Aboriginal Art. Climb the iconic tower for beautiful views of the river and beyond and make sure to try Mitchelton Blackwood Park Riesling – a zesty and refreshing estate classic.
Savour a unique tasting experience in the original 1860s winery at Victoria’s oldest vineyard, then enjoy delicious seasonal cuisine and views over the beautiful Tahbilk wetlands from the restaurant. Tahbilk Winery is home to one of the oldest and largest single planting of marsanne in the world, so a crisp, dry Tahbilk Marsanne is highly recommended. Beautiful in its youth, it will age well too.
Enjoy the Pizzini family hospitality with personalised wine tastings, long lunches and cooking classes. Signature experiences include Pop & Fizz – Prosecco Fun & Friends, and Overnight Food and Wine Escape. From the cellar door? Pizzini King Valley Pinot Grigio is bright with pear, gooseberry and citrus notes and pairs perfectly with seafood.
Explore Euroa and the Strathbogie Ranges
Discover an extraordinary collection of gems, crystals, fossils and minerals from around the world at the Rockery Gemstone Museum in Longwood, then explore the enchanting gold rush town of Euroa before heading into the Strathbogie Ranges, where walking trails, unique granite rock formations and waterfalls await.
Soar over King Valley in a balloon
Something special to celebrate? Take off in a hot air balloon from Brown Brothers Winery and enjoy eagle-eye views of the fields and vineyards of King Valley, stretching out to Mount Buffalo and the High Country. Afterwards? A Prosecco Brunch experience, of course!
Cruise the Goulburn River
What better way to enjoy the timeless river scenery than on a Goulburn Explorer River Cruise. Leave the car behind and head out on a winery cruise visiting either Mitchelton Winery or Tahbilk Winery, or hop on board for a leisurely sunset cruise, keeping an eye out for wildlife on the riverbanks.