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.

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Welcome to Heathcote

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.

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9am

The Bank

129 High Street
Heathcote VIC
(03) 5433 3283
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The Bank

Start your day with a coffee at The Bank, before sampling Mitchelton Wine’s red and white drops. Pick up some artisan chocolate for dessert later.

10.30am

Heathcote Winery

Cellar Door 183-185 High Street
Heathcote VIC
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Heathcote Winery

Stroll down the main street to this cellar door set in a historic produce store. It’s particularly cosy when the fire’s roaring – linger over a glass of your favourite wine and some house-made bread and butter.

12pm

Heathcote Harvest

32 Tuscan Court
Heathcote VIC
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Heathcote Harvest

Settle in for a leisurely lunch at this produce-driven cafe. Choose some provisions for dinner and say hi to the chickens and the pigs.

2.30pm

Sanguine Estate

77 Shurans Lane
Heathcote VIC
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Sanguine Estate Wines

Continue your cellar door touring at Sanguine Estate. Its award-winning shiraz is oaky, peppery and complex. Collect one for now, and one for the cellar.

4pm

Tooborac Hotel and Brewery

5115 Northern Highway
Tooborac VIC
(03) 5433 5201
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Tooborac Hotel & Brewery

Stop by the pub for a chinwag with the locals and a pre-dinner pint. There’s Faire Ferments’ co-op cider, and naturally, more wine for the non-beer-drinkers.

5.30pm

Mt Ida (eco) Cabin

401 Northern Highway
Heathcote VIC
0418 342 957
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Mt Ida (eco) Cabin

Head back to your off-grid cabin for the night. Light the fire, pop on a record and lay out the day’s accumulated fare for a picnic dinner.