The Tumbarumba region is in the Snowy Mountains, a part of the Australian Alps which feature the nation's highest peak, Mount Kosciusko.
Vineyards are found at altitudes ranging from 300 to 800 metres (984 to 2624 feet). Vines have been grown in Tumbarumba since 1982 and currently there are more than 25 vineyards in the region. Due to the region's colder climate, the majority of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used for sparkling wine. However, when conditions allow, both grape varieties have been used to produce still wine. Vines were established at Tumbarumba in 1982.
Tumbarumba is a charming town offering an unspoilt experience for visitors. The dramatic peaks of the Snowy Mountains to the east, the bubbling streams and green fields offer a peaceful, gentle ambience. The cool climate wines on offer are something to savour, especially when matched with regional food.
Viticulture commenced in 1982.
The region is currently home to around four wineries and 25 vineyards.
Tumbarumba is in the Snowy Mountains – part of the Australian Alps.
Vineyards are cultivated at 300-800 metres (984-2624 feet).
Principal grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Most fruit is used in production of sparkling wine.
Chief viticultural hazard is frost.
Viticultural site is determined by aspect, with north /north-east facing preferred.
Soils are granular and derived from decomposed granite and basalt.
Tumbarumba's climate is cool but no more so than the climate of the Yarra Valley. There are a number of other factors that affect the region’s climate: high sunshine hours with brilliant light, cold summer nights and a late start to the growing season. Frost is an ever-present viticultural threat and its presence dictates the necessity for careful site selection and management. Extremely cold night temperatures can cause problems and, as such, elevation is a significant factor in determining varietal choice.
These are typical high mountain soils, derived from decomposed granite and basalt, with a typically gritty and granular texture. The choice of viticultural site is chiefly determined by aspect and slope (sufficiently steep to promote good air drainage at night and thus minimise the risk of frost).
Chardonnay: The sporadic releases of Chardonnay to date have been distinguished by crisp melon, citrus and fig fruit in the classic style of a cool climate wine.
Sparkling Wines: The essence of sparkling wine lies in the blending of 50 or more different base wine components drawn from areas scattered across the length and breadth of the classic French Champagne region. The best of Australian sparkling wines use the same approach, employing a classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but also utilising a multiplicity of other regional sources.
Pinot Noir: In 1994 Seppelt produced a Pinot Noir made from a blend of Tumbarumba and Drumborg grapes that deservedly won the Pinot Noir Trophy at the National Wine Show. There is no doubt the region has the capacity to produce very stylish Pinot Noir with a clear varietal character.
Map Coordinates: 34° 36'S
Altitude: 300-800 metres (984-2625 feet)
Heat degree days, October-April: 1010 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2º F) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October-April: 375 millimetres (14.7 inches)
Mean January temperature: 19.3°C (66.7°F)
Relative humidity, October-April, 3 pm: Average 43%
Harvest: Early March – Early May
Chris Thomas, Winemaker, Kosciusko Wines, Tumbarumba, NSW
Tumbarumba is situated in the Snowy Mountains to the west of Kosciuszko National Park, around 80 kilometres north of iconic Mt Kosciuszko in southern New South Wales. The region was carefully selected and first planted to vines about 30 years ago, specifically for the cool-climate sparkling varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. This is a truly “cool climate” area, with vineyards ranging in elevation from 550 metres to over 800 metres, sometimes frost prone and snow bound but all with stunning landscapes and mountain views.
"Renowned in the industry for producing excellent sparkling material, Tumbarumba fruit is mostly taken by large winemaking corporations for their premium and icon brands However, Tumbarumba Chardonnay and Pinot Noir more recently have been sought after for table wine production and are appearing under several new brands proudly naming Tumbarumba as the source of the fruit and winning many awards in the Australian Wine Show arena, especially for Chardonnays.
Chris Thomas from Kosciusko Wines says other cool climate varieties are emerging , notably Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. There are also some successful plantings of Sangiovese, Viognier, Merlot and Shiraz, which produce elegant European style wines.
"It was the high quality of the cool climate fruit that lured me to the region from the Adelaide Hills to become one of only two winemakers working in the region, making “Tumbarumba” wines under contract and for the “icon” home brand – Kosciusko Wines,” Chris says.