Discover Victoria’s Hidden Gem: The Moorabool Valley Wine Region

WORDS KIRSTIE BEDFORD 

A burgeoning food and wine region in a pocket of Victoria many people have probably never heard of is the State’s newest tourist trail.

The Moorabool Valley, tucked away north-west of Geelong, is one of Australia’s finest cool climate wine regions and has been creating quality wines for decades.

Tourism Great Geelong and The Bellarine says the new ‘Moorabool Valley Taste Trail’, launched in March, will help cement this flourishing region firmly in the minds of gastronomic visitors.

The trail features many of the region’s boutique winemakers, who say the authenticity of the producers and winemakers in the region will be a key differentiator to other trails.

Ray Nadeson, Lethbridge Wines, walking across fourdes

Among those are former PHD scientists, Ray Nadeson and Maree Collis, from multi-award winning Lethbridge Wines. They produce the signature wines of the region, pinot noir and chardonnay, and also a blueprint series of Italian varieties, which you can taste in the purpose built straw-bale winery.

Just down the road in Bannockburn is Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro, which sits atop a hill with stunning views.

One of the earlier vineyards in the region, Clyde Park was planted in 1979 and now has 40 acres of vines. Run by Terry Jongebloed and wife, Sue Dixon, they are focused on sustainable practices, such as using solar panels, farming free-range chickens and cultivating their own organic compost, which goes on the vines.

Austins & Co. vineyards,
Sutherlands Creek

A stone’s throw away, Scott Austin and wife, Belinda, are the second generation of Austins & Co.

Austins & Co. is not only a winery, with a 150-acre vineyard, and a pop-up cellar door, but also a functioning farm. Scott has plans to convert the woolshed into a cellar door later this year.

He says while the new trail is a great way to educate people about their story and build brand awareness, “…it’s as much about giving back to the community.”

Further north on the western slopes of the ancient volcano Mount Anakie is the 45-acre vineyard, Del Rios. Here everything is done in-house, from the estate grown grapes, which are handpicked and hand-pruned, to the bottling and labelling.

Heading back towards town, just out of the city of Geelong is Provenance Wines, located at the historic bluestone Barwon Paper Mill.

Built in the 1870s, the mill is an emerging wine, food and arts precinct, and Provenance will be centre stage when it opens later this year. Here you’ll find an urban winery, where you can see the end of the winemaking process and take in a bit of art at the local galleries while you’re there.

Details:

Lethbridge Wines
(74 Burrows Rd, Lethbridge)

Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro
(2490 Midland Hwy, Bannockburn)

Austins & Co
(870 Steiglitz Road, Sutherlands Creek)

Del Rios
(2290 Geelong-Ballan Rd, Anakie)

Provenance Wines
(100 Lower Paper Mills Road, Fyansford)