The Great Grape Route
The Great Grape Road touring route is a scenic circuit through the Pyrenees, Grampians and Ballarat wine regions of western Victoria. These wine regions produce some of Australia's finest cool-climate wines - most notably shiraz, which has earned international recognition.
Local cellar door experiences range in style from sophisticated tasting rooms to barrel-side tastings in underground tunnels. Winemakers are keen to share their experiences and their produce as you compare and contrast the highly individual flavours of the three regions.
The first vines in the Grampians region were planted in 1863 (some are the oldest shiraz vines in the world). Today the scenic countryside around Ararat, Buangor, Great Western and Hall Gaps is home to outstanding wineries such as historic Seppelt's and Best's Great Western and newer vineyards such as Mt Langi Ghiran and Montara. Grampians wines are known for their strong berry flavours and soft tannins.
After leaving the mountainous terrain of the Grampians, the Great Grape Road swings east toward the soaring Pyrenees, a splendid backdrop for a tasting at the region's 12 excellent wineries. The rich purple berry fruit flavours of the region's cabernet sauvignin and shiraz offer hints of mint and eucalyptus. And its chardonnay sauvignon blanc show soft stone fruit flavours and a refreshing acidity.
From the Pyrenees, the Great Grape Road swings south to the nine wineries of the Ballarat region, where the climate is ideal for chardonnay and pinot noir. The long growing season here produces complex and subtle wines - flint and citrus in the chardonnay and spice and rich berry character in the pinot noir.
Ballarat wine region
Ballarat's chief attraction was once its gold-mining past but its future as a sophisticated wine and food destination has created another rush, attracting a crowd eager for elegant, cool-climate wines and fresh produce.
The mist-shrouded vineyards around Ballarat are famous for subtly fragrant pinot noir, restrained chardonnay and elegant sparkling wines, while winemakers are also having success with riesling, and even shiraz. Low temperatures and yields, combined with small hands-on wineries, are giving Ballarat wines a boutique reputation.
Make sure you visit the region during the annual Ballarat By the Glass wine weekend, held over the Melbourne Cup Weekend. The festival offers the chance to sample hard-to-find labels from wineries do not operate regular cellar doors.
The area is also attracting attention for its diverse range of produce - from game and organic vegetables to farmhouse cheeses and chocolates - much of which is savoured by local restaurants and matched with wines produced just a few kilometres away.
Captains Creek Organic Wines
Buy handcrafted certified organic wines, organic platters and farm fresh produce in season from the winery cellar door and farm store.
Kangaroo Hills Road, Blampied
Using solely estate grown fruit and traditional wine making methods to produce chardonnay and pinot noir of high flavour and complexity.
RMB 876 Clunes Road, Coghills Creek
Michael Unwin Wines
Michael Unwin Wines make handcrafted, premium wines using locally grown grapes. The new winery is producing Michael's own label - Acrobat wines. Open 7 days a week, we offer the visitor a full winery experience.
2 Racecourse Road, Beaufort
Mount Beckworth Wines
A boutique winery with all the wines handcrafted and made by traditional winemaking methods to achieve complexity and balance.
Clunes Learmonth Road, Tourello
Mount Buninyong Winery
A boutique winery nestled at the foot of Mount Buninyong offering something for all tastes includingt the flagship liqueurs.
Platts Road, Scotsburn
Mt Coghill Vineyard
Established in 1995 and specialising in pinot noir and chardonnay.
Learmonth Clunes Road, Coghills Creek
St Anne's Vineyard
Established in 1972 by Alan and Shirley McLean. The winery makes a range of premium table wines and is also well known for outstanding fortifieds.
Garrads Lane, Myrniong
Whitehorse specialises in sparkling wine and is situated on a hillside in the middle of picturesque forested country.
4 Reid Park Road, Mount Clear
Pyrenees wine region
It is no surprise that the Pyrenees mountain range shares its name with the ruggedly beautiful area that divides France and Spain - sweeping vistas, a temperate climate and passion for petanque offer similarities that go way beyond the name.
A southern extension of the Great Dividing Range, the Pyrenees foothills and ranges create a remarkable diversity of microclimates that provide a wealth of variety for winemakers. The 44 vineyards in the region grow about 25 varieties of grapes,but the Pyrenees' strength and reputation lies in its savoury, spicy reds and in particular, premium cabernet sauvignon. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc also respond beautifully to the soils and climate here.
It seems logical that the area, given its diversity of landscape and climes, should also produce a wide variety of quality produce. Lamb from around the town of Avoca has a reputation for being among the best in the country and is a perfect match with the local shiraz. Olive oil, smoked eel and trout are also finding their way onto local menus.
Blue Pyrenees Estate
Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees wine district, the cellar door centre features a tasting and sales facility and lunches 'a la carte' on weekends.
Vinoca Road, Avoca
One of Victoria's greatest wine estates, making wines that are regional highpoints. Enjoy lovely views of vineyard and ranges from the modern glass-walled tasting room.
Taltarni Road, Moonambel
Kara Kara Winery
Visit Kara Kara's cellar door and taste award winning estate grown sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
Sunraysia Highway, St Arnaud
Mount Avoca Vineyard
A producer of hand-crafted premium Victorian wine. All wines are made at the vineyard from 100 per cent estate grown fruit.
Moates Lane, Avoca
Quoin Hill Vineyard
A working winery, located in the picturesque Pyrenees wine region. Light, cafe meals using local produce are available on weekends and public holidays. Estate grown, award-winning wines are available for your enjoyment.
Quoin Hill Road, Waubra
Redbank winery produces the award-winning Sally's Paddock as well as Hundred Tree Hill and the Billa Bridge range.
1 Sally's Lane, Redbank
One of the founding wineries of the Pyrenees with magnificent views of the surrounding ranges and a wide selection of wines available for tasting.
Taltarni Road, Moonambel
Warrenmang Vineyard Resort
Enjoy guided tours of the underground cellar and winery, followed by a complimentary tasting of award-winning wines.
188 Mountain Creek Road, Moonambel
Grampians wine region
This visually spectacular area of rare, natural beauty forms the southern extremity of the Great Dividing Range, and is an enduring wine-growing region with a history stretching back to the 1860s.
The region is best known for table wines, especially shiraz and riesling, with chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon adding to the richness and diversity.
Fratin Brothers Vineyard
Taste the range of Estate grown wines and enjoy the stunning views of the Great Dividing Range from our friendly and relaxed cellar door.
36 Byron Road, Ararat
Premium award winning wines highlighted by iconic wines, the Streeton Reserve Shiraz and the Rutherford Sparkling Shiraz. 3.2 hectare vineyard established 1989, first wines 1995.
366 Mafeking Road, Willaura
A producer of premium fruit for local wineries. Each year a small quantity is reserved, so that the family may indulge their passion for making riesling and cabernet sauvignon.
422 Barkly Street, Ararat
Enjoy spectacular views while tasting 100 per cent estate grown and bottled wines.
76 Chalambar Road, Ararat
Mount Langi Ghiran
Visitors are welcome to sample the wines and enjoy the breathtaking views at the cellar door.
80 Vine Road, Buangor
Norton Estate Wines
A small family run vineyard producing Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc available at the cellar door.
758 Plush Hannans Road, Lower Norton
Seppelt Great Western
A large range of premium wines are available for tasting and you can also visit the unique, heritage listed, three kilometre long Underground Drives.
Moyston Road, Great Western
The Gap Vineyard
Set in bushland with spectacular views of the Mt William ranges, The Gap offers a range of wines to suit all palates.
Ararat-Halls Gap Road, Halls Gap
We have a range of wines, both white and reds and are highly regarded for our Riesling, Pinot Meunier and Shiraz's. We have a long history and visitors can enjoy a tasting in the cellar door that dates back to 1870, sit in the garden or wonder through the original winery.
111 Bets's Road, Great Western
Recommended duration: 3 days
Total distance: Melbourne-Ballarat 112 kilometres, Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool-Ballarat 174 kilometres
Driving time: Melbourne-Ballarat 1hr 30mins, Great Ocean Road and Warrnambool-Ballarat 1hr 45mins
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