There is something very earthy and natural about the Macedon Ranges; it’s kind of untouched, yet so accessible.
It’s possibly one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets, and in a way, this bleeds through to the artisan ways of the winemakers of the region. A road less travelled, yet there are still 40 wineries with over 18 cellar doors to visit, all with their own character and nuances. And this region enjoys the reputation of some of the most awarded and recognised wines in the country.
So, the question shouldn’t be – “why or whom should I visit?” but in fact “What surprises am I in for?”
If ‘unique’ is what you are looking for then why not try some wild barrel-fermented riesling? Or have some fun with a sparkling made from chardonnay and nebbiolo. Or try something new to Australia, like pinot blanc.
Despite being overshadowed by more famous wine regions, the Macedon Ranges has been producing some of Victoria’s best chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and sparkling wines for well over 50 years. Some iconic names have been forged in this beautiful part of the world too, Llew Knight at Granite Hills, Alan Cooper at Cobaw Ridge, Michael Dhillon at Bindi Wines, and the list goes on.
The region has grown from strength to strength in recent years, swelling to over 40 wineries, all with their own take on cool climate wine. All are looking to create new and vibrant wines, including some exciting new varietals such as pinot blanc, gruner veltliner, gamay, and lagrein. Each impressive expressions of their own ‘terroir’.
There’s a personalised, funky approach to wine in the region. Harriet and Henry at Zig Zag Winery are living their dream, creating premium minimal intervention wine. Hunter-Gatherer Vintners, just out of Kyneton, is an old music venue transformed into an award-winning winery with views to die for. Try some barrel tasting at Lyons Will Estate, where owners Ollie and Renata can walk you through their cellar door. Or you can enjoy a glass of sparkling in the historical surroundings of Parkside Winery Estate. It is a 1860s Clydesdale barn converted to their cellar door.
Maybe you just want to see the generational shift, where fathers have passed on their expertise and knowledge to sons who are now crafting their own tales. Cameron Leith at Passing Clouds or Rob Ellis at Hanging Rock Winery are all future stars of the region.
If it’s outdoors you want, grab a picnic basket at Hanging Rock Winery and take in the views, or if it’s a little miserable, have a drink at the underground cellar door at Cleveland Winery, the only one of its kind in our region. Or maybe you just want to go down memory lane and try the latest vintages from iconic wineries such as Curly Flat, Granite Hills or Cobaw Ridge.
There is something for everyone here, it’s unpretentious, independent and most of all passionate because it ours – earthy and natural.
For more information about the Macedon Ranges wine region and its cellar doors, visit:
Written by Oliver Rapson for Daylesford Macedon Life magazine