Growing in popularity since the 1830’s, Australian Pinot Noir is having a welcomed surge in popularity and there’s no doubting why. In fact, James Halliday has called ‘the nectar of the gods’.
Luckily for us, the Moorabool Valley boasts near perfect conditions for growing this style of grapes, with some of the earliest vines planted on Moorabool Valley soil. With a history extending back to 1842, Swiss immigrants chose the Moorabool Valley to plant some of Victoria’s earliest vines. In the late 1800’s the vines were destroyed by the Phylloxera virus until vineyards were replanted in the 1960’s.
Today, a small band of passionate winemakers embrace the challenge of producing superior cool climate wines from the tough limestone and basalt base, which forms this region’s unique terroir.
Nestled between Geelong & Ballarat, the Moorabool Valley’s small, family run vineyards provide rich and intense low yield fruit, perfect for crafting into award winning wines.
Celebrating his 40th vintage in 2018, we asked our Chief Winemaker, John Durham why the Moorabool Valley is great for Pinot Noir and here is what he had to say:
What style do you think characterises the wines of our region (Pinot specifically) opposed to others?
The Moorabool Valley can produce wines of great power and concentration but with precise varietal definition and deft balance.
Pinot Noir has all the lovely character of Pinot… cherry when ripe and strawberry when picked earlier.
Largely continental in nature, but with close proximity to the southern ocean and generally quite dry in summer, the conditions allow for full ripeness to be achieved but with beautiful finesse!
Tell us three things we need to know about the region?
Ancient volcanic soils containing limestone giving perfect soil profiles for viticulture.
It has a rich history in viticulture and winemaking, where during the 1860’s was the largest vineyard area in Australia as the early European settlers saw the great potentiation for growing quality fruit around the Geelong region.
Unfortunately phylloxera ended the grape growing story by the 1870’s in Geelong until the early 1970’s where the next period of viticulture begins.
If not you, what other wineries should people try?
As the original viticultural area in Geelong, the Moorabool Valley offers many quality producers; By Farr, Bannockburn and Clyde Park would be a few of my top picks.
To discover the Moorabool Valley, we suggest a day trip to eat and drink your way around the region. The Moorabool Valley Taste Trail suggests some wonderful producers that we’re proud to be a part of. There’s also some great articles to help with places to eat, stay and visit.
For those keen wine connoisseurs, Wine Australia has written a fabulous article speaking to the growing popularity of Australian Pinot Noir. Check it out here.