Best's Great Western
Best’s Winery is one of the Grampians’ prestige vineyards. It was established in 1866 when Victorian entrepreneur Henry Best bought a 30-hectare parcel of land just outside Great Western. He named it Concongella, for the three-kilometre stretch of creek winding through the property where the first grapevines were planted.
After Henry’s death in 1920, his son Charles sold the winery, horse stables and underground cellar to another budding vigneron, Frederick P. Thompson. Five generations later, the Thompson family still runs Best’s.
Cold nights and warm afternoons inform the medium-bodied, slow-ripened fruit character in the range. Shiraz, chardonnay and riesling are the heroes, though dolcetto and pinot meunier are some of the intriguing, albeit lesser-known varietals in vintage.
Housed within the original horse stables built in 1867, the cellar door offers complimentary tastings of Best’s entry-level range. Unlike most prestige wineries, Best’s offers its pricey top-shelf, old vine and back vintage wines “on Coravin” – poured by the glass using a needled device that passes through cork, extracts the wine and replaces it with Argon gas to prevent oxidation. It’s like tasting Penfold’s Grange without splashing out on the bottle.
Visitors can explore Best’s historic underground tunnels, hand-dug in the 1860s and lined with oak barrels and maturing wine bottles. Historic maps of the region and Henry Best’s own journals are displayed in the tasting area.
For lunch, visitors can “pick their own platter” with cheeses from Warrnambool, Gippsland and Meredith, and signature jellies by Five Duck Farms made with Best’s Shiraz and Chardonnay. Fresh baguettes by the Granary are available on weekends.
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