Australia is consistently one of the biggest wine producers in the world, making more than 400 Olympic swimming pools full of the good stuff every year. The over 130 different varieties of wine Australia produces totals up to make around 4% of the world’s wines.
At it’s peak in 2005, the region made 1.4 billion litres, and although it’s been a slight decline since, Bendigo still produces more than a billion litres of wine a year. With the produce coming from 1.6 million tonnes of grapes grown on 1600sq. km of vineyards.
And it’s for good reason. Australians have often been the innovators of the wine industry, inventing the wine cask and pioneering screw-cap tops - using good old Aussie engineering to make up for a lack of quality cork.
Although we export more than two thirds of our wine, we’re the highest English-speaking consumers of wine per capita.
The wineries in Southern Australia are responsible for more than half the production for all Australian wine. Due to its diverse geography and climate, the state can produce a wide range of grape varieties, from full bodied Shiraz wine to cool climate Rieslings. Some of Australia’s most renowned wineries, including Jacob’s Creek and Yalumba, come from the South, with the [perfect] geographies of regions like the Barossa Valley producing some of the best wines in the country.
The Bendigo Wine Region
The state of Victoria has more wine producers than any other wine-producing state, with over 600 wineries including those in the thriving wine regions of Heathcote and the Yarra Valley. Known primarily for its red wines, particularly the Shiraz, the diverse nature of the regional climates means that Victoria also produces great Rieslings and Chardonnays and are known for being more elegant than its other Southern cousins.
Despite having the most number of wine producers in Australia, Victoria only ranks third in overall wine production. This is due in part to the lack of bulk mass production, with wineries in regions like Bendigo, preferring to make small, hand crafted boutique wines.
Often referred to as the wine maker’s region, you are more likely in Bendigo to meet vignerons, like our Peter Fyffe, with their sleeves rolled up, tending to the vines, Bendigo’s wineries create regional, complex bodied wines with a European flavour.
The Bendigo wine region encompasses wineries in and around Bendigo, in nearby Bridgewater on Loddon, Marong, Mandurang, Yandoit and in apple capital Harcourt.
The History of the Bendigo Wine Region
The Bendigo wine region has a long historical legacy rooted in the production of wine. Drawn here in the 19th Century by the promises of the gold rush, European settlers found that the gold bearing soils of the area were uniquely suited to viticulture.
The European styles of wine growing, combined with the perfect climatic and geographic conditions of the Australian South has led to the creation of some of the most stunning and full wines in the continent.
The first grapevines were planted in the region in 1856, and many of the wineries hidden in the hills and valleys of the region are still operated by their founding families. Even today, the grapes are minimally irrigated, with the handcrafted favoured over modern mass machine production.
Bendigo was historically a part of the nearby Heathcote region but has since distinguished itself as a singular force in local viticulture with its outstanding Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Wines of Bendigo
Situated completely inland within Central Victoria, the Bendigo region feels the benefit of a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
Unlike agriculture, in winemaking, the more precise measurement of temperature summation is also commonly used to determine optimum climates for the production of wine grapes. Bendigo often receives daily temperatures of 15 - 18 degrees celsius; the ideal temperate conditions responsible for the creation of the majority of the world's most highly regarded wines.
That coupled with soils that are deep, with a moderate chalk content, make Bendigo an ideal region for the cultivation of grapes. Particularly for the production of the distinctly regional robust Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon that Victoria is known for. Although the slight climatic variations within the region allow it to produce a range of other wines, from the rare Nebbiolo and Barbera to a wonderful Rose.
Our Glenwillow vineyard is located in the cooler southern fringe of Bendigo, on an elevated Northern aspect, affording us maximum sun exposure, a regular breeze and a rich volcanic soil. When combined, these elements have enabled us to grow, not only an award winning Shiraz, but more regionally rare Italian wines like the Nebbiolo and Barbera.
A Quick Guide to Glenwillow Wines
Although there’s no better guide to our top class wines than stopping by our very own Cellar Door, we’ve put together a short guide to some of our - did we mention, award winning? - wines.
Our Cabernet is lusciously dark, with hints of chocolate and a rich dark fruit body. Smooth, seductive and fully flavoured with a well integrated oak.
A bright, medium-bodied wine, with a complex palate and a fruity clarity. A reflection of French quality, the Shiraz has a long finish and lingering after taste. Top wine critic James Halliday rated our 2014 Shiraz, 95, in his 2017 Wine Companion. Ages well.
Our 2012 Reserve Shiraz was awarded 94 points and a gold medal by Showcase Magazine, as well as selected in the Top Cellaring Selections lift-out in James Halliday’s Wine Companion. he The rich mulberry and raspberry tones are a result of the concentrated and complex fruity flavour, rounded of with a soft mid-palate, refined oak and supple tannins, for a smooth Shiraz.
A medium-bodied Italian style wine with rich, dark cherry fruit flavour, great acid structure and perfectly balanced.
The grape variety behind the top quality reds of Piedmont, northwestern Italy, Nebbiolo grapes are notoriously difficult to cultivate. Picky about where it grows and susceptible to poor weather conditions in spring and autumn, not many vineyards are able to produce a good Nebbiolo wine, making ours a rarity not to be missed out on.
With strong tannins, high acidity and a distinctive scent, this medium bodied Italian is long and rich in flavour; with subtle floral and savoury flavours and a hint of red cherry. Watch as within just a few years of vintage, the Nebbiolo wines begin fading from deep, violet-tinged ruby to a beautiful brick orange.