Wineries to visit in Nagambie Lakes and the Strathbogie Ranges

By Halliday Promotion

9 May, 2024

Discover these three wineries from Victoria's Nagambie Lakes and Strathbogie Ranges, regions famed for their spectacular landscapes and leading Australian wines. 

When you think of Victoria's iconic wine regions, Nagambie Lakes and the surrounding Strathbogie Ranges might not immediately spring to mind. However, these two GIs (Geographical Indications) are of great importance in Australia's winemaking history, and make some stellar wine to boot. 

Winemaking in the region dates back to 1860, when a committee led by R. H. Horne and John Pitney Bear raised 25,000 pounds of sterling for the entitlement of The Tahbilk Vineyard Proprietary. Within two years they'd planted 700,000 vines across 80 hectares of land.

James Halliday once described Nagambie Lakes as "relatively warm region if judged by its centre". However, the heat is mitigated by the large lakes in the region, including Lake Nagambie, and other bodies of water such as the billabongs and creeks running off the Goulburn River (known as Warring in the local Taungurung language). Meanwhile, the nearby Strathbogie Ranges is characterised by the ancient granite boulders that dot the landscape, and an abundance of spectacular waterfalls.

These natural attractions make Nagambie Lakes and the Strathbogie Ranges the ideal landscape for tourists looking for a break from the city smoke, and form the perfect backdrop to the elegant, aromatic wines produced in the region. Hop on the highway from Melbourne's CBD and within 90 minutes you'll be able to taste the varieties the region is most known for, including shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and marsanne.

If you're not sure which wineries to visit, you can't go wrong with Fowles Wine, Mitchelton and Tahbilk. Below we spoke to the three producers about why they love their regions, and how best to enjoy their wines.  

Fowles Wine

Fowles vineyard

Vigneron Matt Fowles says: The ancient, cool-climate Strathbogie Ranges is dotted with massive granite boulders.  Our vineyards are planted between the rocky outcrops ranging in elevation from 430 to 550 metres above sea level. The region is like no other, imparting a clear style and character in our wines. Our white wines have exceptional fruit intensity, minerality and a light, fresh profile. Meanwhile, our red wines are highly aromatic, with bright colour and offer power with restraint. 

H. What do you love about making wine in the Strathbogie Ranges?
MF. The region is wild – living up here you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. It’s a 70km round trip to the supermarket! The cool climate, the elevation, the undulating terrain and the ancient soils all combine to create wines of interest, character and finesse. Unique microhabitats support diverse flora and fauna – we have recorded 190 different critters in the vineyard. But perhaps what we love most about living up here is the sense of adventure and discovery that comes with making wine in relatively undiscovered and rugged landscape. Every block brings its own challenges and triumphs, and that constant evolution keeps us captivated.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
MF. We offer a farm-to-table dining experience, showcasing sustainable and authentic food, prepared with love. Our chefs harvest ingredients from the property and regional producers and prepare simple but delicious dishes created to match each Fowles wine. We have incredible outdoor spaces where people can get a taste of the country, whether they are feeding the sheep, collecting eggs from the chickens, picking herbs or just strolling through the amazing native garden.

Local favourite spot: The experience in the Strathbogie Ranges is all about the little vistas: incredible boulders, trickling streams, crystal clear stargazing or mountain views. Hiking, hunting, camping, fishing. For me personally, I enjoy hiking up the hills of the vineyard and connecting with the natural world with the kids in tow. 

Wine to try

Fowles bottleshot

2023 Fowles Wine Fieldsong Red Field Blend

Bright ruby in colour. On the nose, perfumed florals, red fruits, spice and hints of juicy cassis and cherry. Cassis and cherry follow onto the palate, with plush, juicy fruits, light and silky tannins and subtle spice on the finish.

Best enjoyed: This is a wine of elegance that is perfect for food. Pair with a Mediterranean salad and chargrilled octopus. This lighter style blend can also be enjoyed chilled. 

RRP $30 | Drink to 2033 | | Shop this wine


Mitchelton tower

Sales manager Andrew Hedderwick says: The origins of Mitchelton date back to the first vine plantings in 1969. Mitchelton has since become a well-known destination in Central Victoria, symbolised by the iconic Ashton Tower standing proud at 55 meters. Mitchelton winemaking philosophy is one of purity, ensuring that the fruit we grow is reflected beautifully in the bottle. Minimal intervention winemaking, fastidious use of oak and the use of both natural and cultured yeast/bacteria allows our wines to truly reflect a sense of place, allowing the vineyards to speak.

H. What do you love about making wine in Nagambie?
AH. Mitchelton wines boast a rare balance and intensity of flavour. Enveloped by the meandering curves of the Goulburn River, thriving with indigenous wildlife and vegetation, the unique environment of our vineyards and climate create estate characteristics found in every bottle. Our leading winemakers and viticulturists work in harmony with the land to unlock the best from each block through innovation and interaction with the soil, creating wines of distinct personality, intimacy and longevity.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
AH. Choose your own wine experience with a standard tasting or let your senses be guided with a luxury ‘Through The Years Flight’ – a selection of wines to taste through the historical years of Mitchelton. Be greeted by welcoming vines, before taking a seated tasting and guided education of select, current release Mitchelton and Preece wines. Learn about the Estate’s 50-year history and the stories behind the iconic Tower from our team of passionate wine ambassadors in a modern and comfortable setting.

Local favourite spot: There is a walking track that trails along the Goulburn River from in front of Mitchelton Hotel. The track extends about 1.5km along the river and is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy a glass of Mitchelton wine. 

Wine to try

Mitchelton bottleshot

2021 Mitchelton Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz

Deep crimson in colour with purple hues, this wine displays intense aromas of dark brooding black fruits and lifted pepper spice. Ripe mulberry, dark blackberry and black plum flavours. The wine is approachable now and will evolve for the next seven plus years. 

Best enjoyed: The 2021 pairs beautifully with lamb cutlets or vegan Irish stew. 

RRP $28 | Drink to 2031 | | Shop this wine


Tahbilk tower

Chief winemaker and general manager Jo Nash says: Established in 1860, Tahbilk is the oldest family owned winery and vineyard in Victoria. Visiting Tahbilk Winery is like stepping into a hidden oasis where natural landscape blends to complement a rich winemaking legacy. Tahbilk has a rich source of old vineyards and iconic single vineyard wines, including Victoria’s oldest shiraz (planted in 1860) and Australian’s oldest marsanne (planted in 1927). Tahbilk is a leading sustainable winery, certified as Net Carbon Zero since 2012.

H. What do you love about making wine in Nagambie?
JN. Tahbilk Estate is situated within the sub-region of Nagambie Lakes, within the Goulburn Valley, a distinctly warm region with a typical inland valley-floor climate and substantial diurnal temperature ranges. In 1993, the Nagambie Lakes Wine Region was recognised by Wine Australia as distinctly different to the broader locale of the Goulburn Valley due to the large bodies of water in the region, including Lake Nagambie. Our winemaking approach, in combination with our unique climate and world class soils, rich in iron oxide, means our wines truly pay homage to the place they are grown, the people who made them and five generations of family heritage and craft. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
JN. At our cellar door a dedicated wine ambassador will guide you through each wine and introduce you to the varietals we are most known for, marsanne and shiraz. There's also plenty to explore on the estate; walk through our National Trust listed underground cellars, explore the beautiful wetlands on the estate – which support a rich biodiversity of vegetation, native birds and animals – or wander designed eco trails, cross timber boardwalks and visit the purpose-built bird hides. Finally, enjoy lunch at the Tahbilk Estate Restaurant.

Local favourite spot: The Tahbilk Estate Wetlands. I love taking a walk through the wetlands, exploring its beauty and rich biodiversity. It’s always so peaceful and a great escape from the usual busyness of the day.

Wine to try

Tahbilk bottleshot

2016 Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne

Displaying all the elements of the remarkable pedigree of our 1927 Vines marsanne releases, this 2016 vintage brings penetrating straw, ginger spice and citrus fruit aromas to a still evolving palate of nashi pear, grapefruit and honeysuckle notes. An energetic mineral acidity graces a clean and steely finish and will provide the supportive framework for greater complexity to come with extended cellaring.

Best enjoyed: Given the age of this wine, it would pair well with richer foods such as roasted poultry, oily fish, creamy pasta or a lightly spiced curry. Serve chilled in wine glasses with larger bowls.

RRP $44.95 (Tahbilk member price $40.45) | Drink to 2045+ | | Shop this wine