Though there were vineyards in the Strathbogie Ranges in the early 20th century, none survived. The region’s modern wine history dates only from the mid 1970s, when Dr Peter Tisdall planted a vineyard on the granite escarpment of Mt Helen.
The region is mix of farming country and tracts of forests and there is a diversity of landscapes, with majestic vistas, spectacular rocky outcrops, waterfalls and ferny glades. This distinction and diversity is reflected in the wines, drawn from fruit grown in more than 25 vineyards located across the region. The altitude of the vineyards ranges from 150 to 650 metres, offering a diversity of climates, though the wines are generally crisp, fresh and deliciously aromatic.
The Strathbogie Ranges are a distinct region, rising high above the surrounding Goulburn and Broken Valleys.
The region is currently home to around five wineries.
The region’s modern wine history dates from the mid 1970s; since then vineyard development has proceeded at a fairly cautious pace.
The vineyards are generally situated on alluvial/colluvial sands and sandy loams composed of decomposed granite that is rather acidic (pH 4-5).
A distinct region producing intense aromatic wines grown in ancient granite soils.
The main varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
The consistency of the climate and soils produces consistent, good quality fruit.
The region's lower north-western parts adjoining Euroa are quite warm and suitable for full bodied red wines but as the terrain rises to the east it becomes much cooler and more suitable for finer wines. The season is characterised by cold, wet winters, widely variable spring weather, dry and warm to hot summers, and lingering autumns of warm clear days and cool, crisp nights. The ample rainfall occurs principally in winter to early spring. Spring frosts are an occasional hazard, as are hot northerly winds during ripening.
The vineyards are generally situated on alluvial/colluvial sands and sandy loams composed of decomposed granite that is rather acidic (pH 4-5). These soils are often littered with fractured quartz and ironstone gravel over clay or solid doleritic granite.
Chardonnay: Due to the region's altitude, these are elegant, cool-area wines with melon and lime aromas and flavours. On the palate good acidity means the wines mature quite well over the two to three-year medium term, developing more complex stone fruit flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc: The fresh herbaceous characters of this variety are a hallmark of wines from the Ranges.
Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir from the region shows good colour and often shows ripe strawberry traits on nose and palate. At higher elevation the variety can display its traditional delicacy, fine aromas and flavours.
Shiraz: The region's Shiraz wines are typically excellent, full-fruited styles with spicy berry aromas. The wines show elegance and style, achieving a balance between warm and cool climate styles.
Map Coordinates: 37º 12´ S
Altitude: 160 - 600 metres (525 -1968 feet)
Heat degree days, October - April: 1460 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2 ºF) but otherwise not adjusted)
Growing season rainfall, October - April: 320 - 380 millimetres (12.5 - 15 inches)
Mean January temperature: 20.7º C (69ºF)
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm: Average 47%
Harvest: Mid March - mid May
Matt Fowles, Plunkett Fowles, Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria
Plunkett Fowles is located in the rugged Strathbogie Ranges, a striking granite massif that rises to over 700 metres above sea level. Matt Fowles from Plunkett Fowles says their 200 hectares of vines are surrounded by dramatic granite outcrops scattered across these ancient highlands.
"All varietals grown in the Strathbogie Ranges have one thing in common: intensely lifted aromas. In particular, the decomposed granite soils and the crisp climate produce wonderfully peppery Shiraz and aromatic Riesling,” Matt says.
"Our Chief Winemaker, Sam Plunkett, has pioneered winemaking in our region. He has amassed hundreds of medals from Australia’s highly competitive wine show system, and his best-known creation is the Plunkett Reserve Shiraz. An inveterate tinkerer and innovator, a lot of the winemaking equipment features his own designs and modifications!
"I am responsible for coordinating the sales and marketing of our wines and recently participated in Australia's year-long Future Leaders program. As the name suggests, graduates of this program are working in the Australian wine industry to ensure long-term sustainability and quality, not only for the industry as a whole but for the consumers who drink our wine."