Hand-crafted with passion and dedication, Geelong's elegant wines are the expression of a cool climate, rich soils and a unique history.  

The Geelong region has two histories. Victoria’s first commercial vintage was produced here by Swiss immigrant vignerons in 1845. Geelong was the largest grape-growing region in Victoria in the 1800s. However, from the 1870s when phylloxera was discovered in some vines, there was a winemaking hiatus of nearly 100 years.

Today, the region is again home to many family-owned vineyards creating world-class varietal wines. Low rainfall produces a rich concentration of flavour, aroma and colour – the distinctive regional characters of Geelong wines. Geelong is Victoria's second largest city and offers a diverse range of food, wine, cultural and recreation attractions and colonial history. A waterfront city, it is also the major gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and Great Ocean Road.  Chardonnay is one of the main varieties grown in the region, producing wine of exceptional strength and complexity. 

Regional Checklist:

  • In 1845, Swiss immigrant vingerons produced Victoria’s first commercial vintage in Geelong.
  • In the 1870s the region experienced an outbreak of phylloxera, causing wine production to cease in Geelong for almost 100 years.
  • The region is currently home to more than 30 wineries.
  • Geelong produces quality wine that benefits from the coastal climatic conditions.
  • The region has a low yearly rainfall, with regular strong winds causing yields to be low to moderate.
  • Chardonnay is one of the main varieties grown in the region, producing wine of exceptional strength and complexity.
  • Newer plantings of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are being used to produce sparkling wines.
  • The region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.    

Regional website:
www.winegeelong.com.au

Climate:
The region’s climate is cool, providing an extended ripening period. The majority of the area is strongly influenced by the moderating effect of the surrounding water of Port Philip Bay or Bass Strait. Pushing up into the northern part of the region the climate is less maritime and more Continental. The region is fairly dry, with average rainfall between 500 millimetres and 600 millimetres per annum; the majority falling in winter and spring. Strong winds are a constant, providing good airflow within the canopy, which assists in the natural control of various vine diseases. The mean average January temperature is 19 degrees.

Soil:
The principal soil type is the commonly encountered red-brown clay loam over a hard clay base. The subsoil varies in pH; in part it is strongly alkaline, owing to the presence of limestone, while elsewhere it is more acidic. A second soil type is also found, that of Biscay; black cracking clay, which forms a finely cracked surface crust.

Wines:
Chardonnay:
Chardonnay has shown it can produce a wine of exceptional strength and complexity. It can also be made in a simpler and more easily accessible form on the Bellarine Peninsula. As with Pinot Noir, some of the newer plantings are being used to produce a sparkling wine base, and this is likely to continue.

Cabernet Sauvignon: The area is capable of producing concentrated, powerful and long-lived Cabernets with, at their best, intense blackcurrant characteristics. At all sites, limited yields are of prime importance in shaping the style and intensity of the wine.

Pinot Noir: During the last century, Pinot Noir was a famous wine for the region, and it is so again. The styles of the wine are predictably very different from producer to producer, reflecting differing winemaking techniques and philosophies. The wines commonly express plums, tobacco, violets, strawberries and truffles.

Shiraz: Geelong Shiraz wines, in favourable years, have strength, depth of colour, bouquet and flavour. While the wines sometimes show pepper and spice overtones, more often than not they rely on potent dark cherry fruit with persistent tannins providing structure and longevity.

Vital Statistics:
Geelong
Map Coordinates:                                        38° 07' S 
Altitude:                                                     20-150 metres (66-492 feet) 
Heat degree days, October - April:                1470 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2 ºF) but otherwise not adjusted) 
Growing season rainfall, October - April:       250 millimetres (9.8 inches) 
Mean January temperature:                          19.°C (66°F) 
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm:       Average 57% 
Harvest:                                                     Early March - end April

Geelong Map Coordinates:                            38° 07' S 
Altitude:                                                     20-150 metres (66-492 feet) 
Heat degree days, October - April:                1470 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2 ºF) but otherwise not adjusted) 
Growing season rainfall, October - April:       250 millimetres (9.8 inches) 
Mean January temperature:                          19.°C (66°F) 
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm:       Average 57% 
Harvest:                                                      Early March - end April

Richard & Pam Austin, SixFootSix, Geelong, Victoria

For 25 years the Austins have worked towards producing world-class wine. Starting with a few acres in the Barrabool Hills in the early 1980s, Richard and Pam settled at Sutherlands Creek, northwest of Geelong, continuing the tie to the glories of the region's viticultural past. The site was chosen because of that history, the climate, the slopes, the soil and the Austins' philosophy; to produce the world's best, affordable Pinot Noir.

"Our vineyard stands at 150 acres, 90 of which are Pinot Noir, in line with the family's determination.  We believe this to be the second largest family holding of the variety in Australia,” Richard says.

"In 2003, we launched sixfootsix Pinot Noir. Over successive vintages, wine commentators defined the style as a benchmark for the variety, one even commenting: 'There's more than a whiff of good (much pricier) Burgundy in this exceptional-value Geelong Pinot Noir...'.  We have also had some international success in the UK, Scandinavia and Europe, Asia and North America.

"After a quarter century of effort, we believe we've achieved our goal and continue to tend the vines with passion and commitment while thinking about planting more Pinot Noir!"

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