Heathcote Cellar Doors – find the hidden gems
Australia’s winemakers can look back at a successful history. In the early days, Australia only produced grapes for its own market, but today it has a reputation for iconic wines that receive international attention. With 140 grape varieties growing in an area that covers 434.440 acres, Australia has become the sixth largest wine producer in the world. While the export of Australian wines is booming, wine connoisseurs however know that the real gems can only be found at home. Some of Australia’s most outstanding wines are produced in the Heathcote wine region. The talented and passionate winemakers here love to experiment and love to surprise, and the Heathcote Cellar Doors will very likely provide you with more than a few exceptional discoveries …
Heathcote’s connections with wine are only about 160 years old. Originally known for its sheep farming, Heathcote was a peaceful, picturesque region with few inhabitants. That changed with the gold rush at the end of 1852.
The prospect of making a fortune attracted immigrants from all parts of the world to the region, but very soon for many of them, excitement turned into disillusion. When reality hit, the red Cambrian soil of Heathcote offered the perfect solution for another kind of gold and lead to the region’s earliest vineyards.
Today Heathcote stands for award-winning Shiraz that impresses with particular freshness and finesse. But it has much more to offer than one great wine. The region boasts close to 70 wineries that produce some quite unique examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Merlot Petit Verdot, Carmenere, as well as some excellent Viogniers, Verdelho, Marsanne, Vermentino and Rieslings.
But how do you find the hidden treasures? There is a reason why these wines are so special. They are produced by small wineries that are run by families who focus on quality instead of quantity.
You will find very few of these wines at your local wine shop or through the large distributors. While the boutique size vineyards will distribute them individually, most of them neither have the time nor the resources to open their own Heathcote Cellar Door.
The Heathcote Cellar Doors that are open generally have limited opening hours or are by appointment only. The annual Heathcote Wine & Food Festival runs over 2 days in October and is a great opportunity to get familiar with the wines.
However, some of the real gems are often in such high demand or limited supply that they are in limited supply by the time the festival comes around, so it pays to have someone who can give you an early inside word on the standout of the season before it’s too late.
If you have the time, scheduling a few appointments and taking a few day trip from Melbourne to visit two or three of the open cellar doors might be one way to discover your own hidden gem. However, if your time is more limited another great option is visiting us at the Heathcote Wine Hub, where you can get a taste of many Heathcote Cellar Doors any day of the week.
Offering tastings of 24 wines every day and around 200 different wines in store from most of the producers in the region, the Hub is the ideal place to enjoy, compare, understand and purchase the many Heathcote wines.
If you’re seeking a deeper knowledge, the staff and owners of the Heathcote Wine Hub can take you on a guided tasting tour of the region where you can experience, at the one location, the diversity of wine styles produced. In particular, Heathcote is renowned for producing outstanding Shiraz ranging from lighter easy-drinking, savoury and elegant styles, through to rich and complex tastings. You’ll gain an understanding of how Heathcote shiraz is impacted by geographical location, soil type, growing conditions (ie vintages) and the winemakers’ personal style.
Despite Heathcote’s outstanding Shiraz, the region is also fast gaining a reputation for producing some great non-traditional varieties. These can be explored in store including sangiovese, nebbiolo, tempranillo, Rhône and Spanish-style blends, fiano, vermentino, viognier and marsanne.
The Heathcote Wine Hub is located in a charming old house and corner store dating back to the 1870s. Here, you can either relax by an open fireplace in winter, or unwind in the gorgeous courtyard during the warmer months. You can also enjoy a sumptuous tasting platter and some of the best coffee in town.
As a local provedore, the Hub also stocks delicious local produce including olives, olive oils, cured meats, cheeses, chutneys and more, so you can create your own gourmet tasting platter at home.
So drop in, they are only too happy to spend some time with you sipping the great wines of the region.
Below is a list of the wineries of our region. If we can assist you in any way to find your favourite bottle, or to give you advice on what’s new and “hot”, please drop us a line. We’d be delighted to hear from you!
Bull Run Estate
Burke and Wills Winery
Coliban Valley Wines
Cornella Ridge Estate
Downing Estate Vineyard
Farmer & the Scientist
Foster e Rocco
Galli Estate Winery
Lake Cooper Estate
M. Chapoutier Australian
Mia Valley Estate
Mount Burrumboot Estate
Mount Camel Ridge Estate
Redesdale Estate Wines
She-Oak Hill Vineyard
Silver Spoon Estate
St Michael’s Vineyard
Whistling Eagle Vineyard
Wild Duck Creek Estate