Winemaking began in the Upper Goulburn when the Ritchie family planted grapes at their Delatite property in 1968. While a relatively large region, it is unified by its elevation and hilly topography. It spans north of the Yarra Valley, stretching from Glenburn to Mansfield-Mt Buller, then to Eildon along the Goulburn River.
The Upper Goulburn wine region is one of Victoria's coolest regions - with wineries sitting beside snowfields to produce rich, weighty Chardonnay, crisp Riesling and superb sparkling wine. The Upper Goulburn offers quality wines matched with distinctive regional cuisine and tourism experiences that excite the senses. Through its natural climate advantages, the region has a commitment to quality production with a low environmental footprint.
Grapes have been grown in Upper Goulburn since the 1960s, when the Ritchie family planted grapes at their Delatite property.
The region is currently home to around 20 wineries.
As in all high country, site selection is of paramount importance, with elevation a key factor in determining style.
A diverse region with diverse wines - ideal for the production of crisp and racy aromatic white and sparkling wines and elegant, textural red wines.
Wineries sit beside snowfields to produce rich, weighty Chardonnay, crisp Riesling and superb sparkling wine.
The climate is strongly influenced by altitude (300 -700 metres) but the picking dates, and the wine styles, leave little doubt that this is a very cool region overall. Rainfall varies from 700 millimetres to 1400 millimetres. Rainfall increases with altitude and heat summation varies considerably. As in all high country, site selection is of paramount importance. North and north-east facing slopes offer the best chance of fully ripening the grapes.
The soils are varied and range from granitic and granodiorite to sandstone, siltstone, claystone, limestone and dolomite.
Chardonnay: This is clearly the foremost wine of the region. The wines have considerable weight and richness, while still showing flavours in the stone fruit, nectarine, citrus and melon spectrum and can be long-lived.
Riesling: Superbly aromatic, crisp and elegant wines.
Sauvignon Blanc: Tangy, crisp herbal wines that are seldom rich or particularly complex, but do show good varietal character.
Cabernet Merlot and Malbec: These are, generally speaking, more marginal propositions than the white varieties and wines. In the warmer vintages the varieties do well and, occasionally, spectacularly so when the eucalypt mint and green leaf characteristics are minimised.
Sparkling Wine: Considerable amounts of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have been utilised in the making of sparkling wine.
Map Coordinates: 37° 3´ S
Altitude: 250 -800 metres (820 - 2624 feet)
Heat degree days, October - April: 1407 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October - April: 370 millimetres (14.5 inches)
Mean January temperature: 19.9° (68°F)
Relative humidity, October - April, 9 am: Average 65%
Harvest: Late March - late May
Susan & Malcolm Kinloch, Kinloch Wines, Upper Goulburn, Victoria
Susan Kinlock and husband Malcolm purchased a 30-hectare grazing property south of Mansfield in Victoria's high country in 1995 as part of their retirement plan. Twelve years on, they have a new boutique vineyard, cellar door and fine food outlet.
"Malcolm had a long career in hospital management and my career had been in health and the executive search industry, but when the children had grown up, the possibilities of a new lifestyle and a change of scenery appealed. With an interest in wine, Malcolm completed a Degree in Applied Science (Winegrowing) and we planted vines in what we were sure was the right cool climate site – northerly aspect, ringed by the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, giving a stunning aspect, with good soils and a gully with room for our irrigation dam,” Susan says.
"We also knew that the well-established Delatite vineyard of the Ritchie family was only about four kilometres down the valley. It took us seven years of commuting every second weekend to establish the vineyard and convert the hay shed into the cellar door. We moved to Booroolite (Mansfield) permanently in 2002 and opened to the public that November. Close to the Mount Buller ski resort and in a tourist path, we have attracted plenty of visitors. Wines are sold at the cellar door and through our wine club.
"On the viticulture side, the vines have flourished, with an expectation of about 30 tonnes of grapes each year. Our flagship wine is our Chardonnay and our signature wine is our Pinot Meunier. We also do a true French-style sparkling white, utilising estate-grown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.”