Sunbury

Sunbury, near Melbourne, is one of Victoria's oldest wine regions, having produced wine since the 1860s. A wide variety of grapes successfully ripen here, consistently producing fruit-driven, premium wines of integrity supported by fine tannins and with a demonstrated capacity to age gracefully.

 

The cool dry climate produces elegant wines of intense varietal character. Historically the principal grape variety is Shiraz, but Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Traminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and some Italian varieties also are grown.

37° 45'S
Latitude
275m
Altitude
334mm
Growing season rainfall

Cabernet Franc

The more common variety in the region is Cabernet Sauvignon, but the performance of each variety suggests that in most vintages it is too cold for Cabernet Sauvignon and that Cabernet Franc (the red grape of the cool Loire Valley in France) is better suited here. 

Chardonnay

As one would expect given the cool climate, the style is elegant with good natural acidity. With a touch of elegance, the resulting wines are not dissimilar to those of Geelong, a region with which Sunbury has much in common. 

Shiraz

Without question, the Shiraz is the noblest grape for the region. It produces wines with a splendid array of black pepper, spice and black cherry aromas and flavours. As it is seldom more than medium bodied, the wine can be deceptively light, the alcohol level is rarely higher than 12.5° and the tannins are typically soft and fine. 

Top varieties grown in Sunbury
Climate
  • Though appearing quite temperate, the climate during the growing season is influenced by the cooling winds that blow over the plain. 
  • The nearby Macedon Ranges to the north and the sea to the south also have a cooling influence. 
  • Rainfall, though comparatively small at 549 millimetres (33.5 inches), is slightly spring-summer dominant, October through April at 334 millimetres (20.4 inches). Irrigation is essential in most sites. 
  • One might expect spring frosts to be a major problem, but they are no more extreme here than in the Macedon Ranges and their existence simply reinforces the importance of appropriate site selection. 
Soil
  • The soils are typically dark and, except on the old alluvial river terraces, not particularly fertile. 
  • Their depth and structure varies significantly from lower level plains to hillsides.