It is no surprise that the Pyrenees mountain range shares its name with the ruggedly beautiful area that divides France and Spain - sweeping vistas, a temperate climate and passion for petanque offer similarities that go way beyond the name.

A southern extension of the Great Dividing Range, the Pyrenees foothills and ranges create a remarkable diversity of microclimates that provide a wealth of variety for winemakers. The vineyards in the region grow about 25 varieties of grapes. The Pyrenees’ main strength and reputation lies in its savoury, spicy reds. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also respond well to the soils and climate here.

Regional Checklist:

  • The Pyrenees is a quintessential Australian wine region, the vineyards appearing sporadically between the ever present eucalyptus trees.
  • The region is home to around 29 wineries and vineyards.
  • The wineries cluster in two groups: the larger between towns of Moonambel and Redbank, the smaller around the town of Avoca.
  • Physical beauty and climate – combination of beauty of Pyrenees Ranges and unique (savoury, spicy) flavour of wine.
  • Temperate, dry climate able to produce many styles with minimum input.
  • Premium full-bodied red wine producing region.
  • Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also respond well to the soils and climate here.

Regional website:
www.pyrenees.org.au 

Climate: 
The inland location gives rise to low midsummer relative humidity and to substantial diurnal temperature ranges in spring and early summer. Sunshine hours are generous but growing season rainfall is limited, making irrigation almost essential.  White and sparkling wines now contribute to the reputation of the region but are better suited to the cooler south of the region.

Soil:
The soils are the common grey-brown and brown loamy sands and sandy loams, though tending to be heavy.  They are improved by the addition of gypsum and lime.  Vine vigour is moderate, as are yields. Red sandstones are also present and are better suited to white or sparkling wines.

Wines: 
Shiraz:  Sweet and rich fruit flavours with red/black cherry and dark chocolate the dominant flavours. Pepper and spice occasionally appear alongside strong, supple tannins that ensure these wines have good ageing potential.

Cabernet Sauvignon:  The wines produced from Cabernet Sauvignon can possess a sumptuously rich mid palate, with flavours running from eucalypt mint through to black currant as well as the earthy characters that develop during maturation.

Sauvignon Blanc: Produced by a number of makers, Sauvignon Blanc in the cooler years is showing distinctive varietal character.

Vital Statistics: 
Map Coordinates:                                      37° 09'S 
Altitude:                                                   220-375 metres (722-1230 ft) 
Heat degree days, October - April:              1530 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted) 
Growing season rainfall, October - April:     220 millimetres (8.6 inches) 
Mean January temperature:                        20.9°C (69.6°F) 
Relative humidity, October - April, 9 am:     Average 65% 
Harvest:                                                   Late February - late April


 

Allen & Andrea Hart, DogRock Winery, Pyrenees, Victoria

Allen and Andrea Hart met at the University of Adelaide while studying winemaking and viticulture respectively and have both gone on to establish successful careers in the wine industry with large companies. In their spare time, they decided to embark on our own venture and settled in the Pyrenees Ranges of Victoria.

"Planting of the vineyards started in 2000 with varieties such as Shiraz, Tempranillo, Riesling and Grenache, and the concept of sustainability was implemented long before the current trends were established. In October 2006 the DogRock label was launched and within 12 months had won many accolades, including the trophy for Best Sparkling Wine at the 2007 Western Victorian Wine Challenge and the 2007 Powercor Grampians/Pyrenees Business Award for Environmental Responsibility,” Allen says.

"The property is not connected to the power grid, with the winery and house utilising wind and solar power only. In addition, we replanted over 5,000 trees on the surrounding hills in 2000 and, in the vineyard, sprays have been kept to a minimum; no irrigation is used where possible. Packaging is also kept to a minimum and all our wine boxes are made from 75% recycled paper. The wines have impressed many people, with positive third-party endorsement. DogRock winery may be new, but it’s leading the way for the future."