Published on 22nd June 2016
by Linsey Rendell

Explore this peaceful wine region, then cosy up by a log fire to sample the fruits of your winery rounds.

Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Heathcote is the quiet achiever that punches above its weight among Victoria’s more vocal wine pockets. It’s home to around 40 passionate producers who make some award-winning drops, with a particular focus on red wine. The cellar doors are generally small, family-run operations, set in rustic sheds and heritage buildings. Weekends are the perfect time to knock on their doors and sample their fine drops.

The focus is on shiraz in the Rhône Valley style. Full-bodied and spicy, this red drop thrives in Heathcote’s mineral-rich soils and warm climate. Other Mediterranean varietals have more recently been added to the mix, with many of the town’s wine growers experimenting with sangiovese, grenache and tempranillo. The town also produces a handful of whites, including riesling, chardonnay, viognier and marsanne.

Heathcote is a place to enjoy a long lazy lunch between cellar-door hops. Many of the wineries also champion local providores, so you can gather a bounty of provisions for a cheeseboard dinner to enjoy next to the fireplace. Alternatively, classic pub vibes meet craft brews at the Tooborac Hotel & Brewery, while off-the-beaten-track cafe Heathcote Harvest is a true embodiment of the paddock-to-plate ethos.

Three op shops sit on the main drag if you enjoy a rummage, and the mini gorges of Pink Cliffs are tucked up the back streets if you’re more natural-world-minded.

Welcome to Heathcote

EAT

From a wild-rabbit pub pie to a paddock-to-plate salumi board, hearty dishes round out the region’s excellent liquid offerings.

DRINK

Heathcote is known for its shiraz, but its mineral-rich soils also deliver some surprising whites. There’s a craft brewery too, perfect for punctuating all that cellar-door action.

STAY

Hibernate with your other half in an off-grid eco-cabin. Or fill a cosy cottage or motel lodge with a few friends.

Itinerary

A wine trail around Heathcote

You could approach a trip to Heathcote at one of two paces – with a hurried, must-see-everything attitude or opting for something a little more leisurely. We recommend the latter. Relish the country quiet, savour each sip, and soak up the undulating landscape of granite outcrops and lush green pasture.