The Heathcote Wine Region
What and where is Heathcote?
The township of Heathcote lies approximately 1 and a half hours North of Melbourne, on the Northern Highway. Originally a timber and sheep area, Its proximity to Lake Eppalock, with scenic drives and surrounding State Forests, and production of iconic red wines means that Heathcote is fast becoming a tourist destination in its own right.
The Heathcote Wine region starts near Tooborac in the south, following a seam of ancient red Cambrian soil that extends past the township of Heathcote, up the Mount Camel Range above Colbinabbin, where the red stone breaks the surface, to just past Corop in the North. Traditionally a wool, lamb and barley growing area, with its roots in the Gold Rush, it has recently seen unprecedented growth in vineyards and wineries.
Regarded at home and internationally as one of the finest Shiraz producing regions in Australia, Heathcote is producing outstanding, highly sought-after wine and fruit. Low yielding vines produce Shiraz that is distinctively purple/black, with inky dark berry fruits, complex and intense, with formidable depth and length, that has become the hallmark of this new region. Indeed, some Heathcote wines have already achieved icon status - Jasper Hill, and Wild Duck Creek in particular.
The secret appears to be the terroir of the area. The red Cambrian soils here are deep and ancient, 500 million years old, with seams of jasper running through, and bluestone at the northern end of the Mount Camel Range. It is this soil, with its ability to hold water, but drain well, coupled with a warm, dry climate, that consistently produces super premium wines.
The major grape variety planted in the region is Shiraz, but other varieties also produce fantastic wines here - Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Durif and Merlot, as well as some whites such as Viognier, Verdelho, Marsanne and some Chardonnay and Riesling, and even some plantings of Petit Verdot and Sangiovese to name a few.