The pursuit of Pinot perfection

The Yarra Valley was Victoria's first wine growing district with a history stretching back 170 years and is known as the birthplace of Victoria's wine industry. Vines were first planted in 1838 and viticulture spread rapidly through the 1860s and 1870s. However, increased demand for fortified wine saw Yarra Valley wine production cease in 1921. Replanting began in the late 1960s with pioneers like Dr Bailey Carrodus, Dr John Middleton and Guill de Pury laying the foundations that have led to the Yarra Valley being recognised as one of Australia's foremost cool climate regions, capable of making classic styles from a wide range of varieties.

In addition to the second-wave of pioneers, the Yarra Valley is now also home to a bold and exciting new breed of revolutionary winemakers who are pushing the boundaries of grape growing and winemaking, while respecting the traditions of this beautiful region. The regional emphasis on the quality and flavour of the wines has spread to the local produce grown and tended in the same fertile soil, making the region a little slice of food and wine paradise.

Read more about Yarra Valley.

Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley
This map is not an accurate representation of the regional GI boundaries. Please click here to view an accurate map of the regional boundary.

Yarra Valley snapshot

The Yarra Valley is one of Australia's coolest regions with elevation varying from 50 metres to 400 metres. Rainfall is winter/spring dominant, with the summer relatively cool, dry and humid. The traditional grape growing areas on the northern side of the valley are grey to grey-brown in colour on the surface and range from loamy sand to clay loam in consistency with red-brown clay subsoils, frequently impregnated with rock. The other major soil type is the immensely deep and fertile red volcanic soil to be found at Seville, Hoddles Creek and elsewhere on the southern (Warburton) side of the valley. The variation in altitude and soil types in this hilly region creates differences in climates and exposure which allows several varieties to excel.

 

The modern classic Yarra Valley varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz have been joined in recent years by a selection of emerging varieties. Nebbiolo, Arneis, Gamay and Gruner Veltliner are all showing great promise. Running parallel to the emergence of these new varieties has been the emergence of a new breed of bold and exciting winemakers, challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the Yarra Valley. All of this makes for a very exciting future for one of Australia’s most historic wine regions.

Read more about Yarra Valley.

2,150ha
Total vineyard area
50-350m
Altitude
37° 49'S
Latitude
400-550mm
Growing season rainfall
18.7°c
Mean temperature (Jan)
1352
Heat degree days
White
33%
Red
66%
Type

Cabernet Sauvignon

Often blended with small proportions of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the style of Yarra Cabernet ranges from medium to full-bodied with silky tannins, to aromatic and floral with herbal characters.

Chardonnay

Grows successfully in the Yarra Valley’s cool climate. Typical flavours of white peach, melon and fig. Fruit sourced from the coolest sites is also used for top quality sparkling wine production.

Pinot Noir

One of the premier red varieties of the region. Ranging from light to medium-bodied with typical flavours of plum, strawberry and cherry. Some of the fruit from the coolest sites is used for high quality sparkling wine production.

Shiraz

A rising star in the region, site selection is important. Often co-fermented with small percent of Viognier for aroma and texture. Some of the top small-production wineries are now choosing to label the wines Syrah.

Top varieties grown in Yarra Valley
Climate
  • Difference in altitude and aspect leads to substantial variation in mesoclimate
  • Even warmest sites are relatively cool
  • Mean January temperature in Healesville is 19.4°C
  • Of the annual rainfall of 1160mm only 200mm falls between October and April
Soil
  • Grey-brown sandy loam with a mix of rocky clay sub-soil. Derived from the ancient sandstone of the Great Dividing Range
  • Younger red soils of volcanic origin

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