Gundagai is a newly developed wine region on the south-west slopes of New South Wales. It is here that the landscape and its mountain streams run down from the western heights of the Snowy Mountains towards the plains of the Riverina.
The McWilliam family established the successful Markview vineyard at Junee in 1877, but grapevines were absent from the Gundagai region from the 1920s to the mid 1990s. However, since 1995 there has been a flurry of plantings and by 2003 there were about 750 acres of vines under cultivation. The wine styles produced include Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Also home of the famous Australian icon, the Dog on a Tucker Box, Gundagai is also a haven for writers of bush poetry and prose. Its growing reputation as a wine region has also meant a growth in cellar doors and wine-related events.
Gundagai is a newly developed wine region and part of the south-west slopes of New South Wales.
The region is currently home to around six wineries.
Since 1995 there has been a flurry of plantings.
The main soil types are red earth and red podsols.
It is an undulating region, with altitude varying between 200 and 300 metres.
The region experiences warm to hot in temperatures with an even year-round rainfall.
Stretching from Tumut in the south-east to Temora in the north-west and Junee in the west, Gundagai is an undulating region varying between 200 and 300 metres in altitude. The temperature is warm to hot, with an even year-round rainfall and low humidity. It is only in the south-east corner, nearest to the Australian Alps, that climatic conditions are cooler.
The chief soil types are similar to those in other regions in south-east Australia; red earth and red podsols, although soils along the major rivers and creeks are more variable.
Shiraz: These are wines of medium to full body, showing berry and earth characters on the nose and palate and distinctly reminiscent of the Hilltops region to the north-west.
Cabernet Sauvignon: These are well-coloured, berry-flavoured reds of medium to full body. Again, there is a resemblance to the Cabernets of the Hilltops region.
Chardonnay: The region makes both unwooded and wooded Chardonnay styles. Melon, stone fruit, lime and citrus characters dominate. The Chardonnays are surprisingly elegant and lend themselves to subtle oak handling.
Map coordinates for region: 35º 07´S (Junee), 35º 17´S (Tumut), 34º 38´S(Cootamundra)
North of Region, Cootamundra
Altitude: 320 metres (1050 feet)
Heat degree days, October-March: 2050 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October-March: 270 millimetres (10.6 inches)
Mean January temperature: 23.7ºC (74.7ºF)
Relative humidity, October-April, 3 pm: Average 39%
Harvest: February - March
West of Region, Junee
Altitude: 210 metres (689 feet):
Heat degree days, October-March: 2110 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October-March: 240 millimetres (9.4 inches)
Mean January temperature: 24ºC (75.2ºF)
Relative humidity, October-March, 3 pm: Average 39%
South-East of Region, Tumut
Altitude: 267 metres (876 feet)
Heat degree days, October-March: 1500 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October-March: 420 millimetres (16.5 inches)
Mean January temperature: 21.2º C (70º F)
Harvest: February - March
Stuart Paterson, Patersons Gundagai Vineyard, Gundagai, NSW
The Gundagai wine region is located in the southern part of New South Wales and has the historically famous town of Gundagai (with the dog on the tucker box) at its centre. The region is on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range and therefore exhibits some variation in climate from the cool areas around Tumut through to the warmer areas near Wagga Wagga. The region is extremely fortunate to have the Murrumbidgee River flowing through it and this sustains the 1000 hectares or so of grape vines.
“While most of the grapes grown in the region end up in large companies' blended products, there are now about 10 boutique wine producers in the region, mainly centred around the towns of Gundagai and Wagga Wagga,” Stuart Paterson from Patersons Gundagai Vineyard says.
“The region produces wines similar in nature to those from the well known regions of Hilltops and Canberra. The main effects on wine style are due to a large variation in day and night temperatures during the long dry and cool ripening period from March to May. This manifests itself in the production of concentrated and very aromatic red wines and relatively fruity whites.
“The most successful grape variety from the region to date has been Shiraz, with a number winning gold medals and trophies in state and national wine shows over the past few years.”