Beechworth has to be one of the better settings for a wine region with it’s small, friendly towns, rustic countryside and bushrangers walking around with metal buckets on their heads. Sure, Ned Kelly doesn’t bail up stage coaches much these days, but the legend lives on in the winemaking spirit. Or maybe it doesn’t but that sounds like a good thing to say. Nevertheless, Beechworth has catapulted itself onto the wine map with a stellar array of premium wines.
Beechworth sets benchmarks for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in more recent years Shiraz. Tradition and innovation go hand in hand, with an increasing move to organic viticulture and in some cases biodynamic vineyard practice is increasing. Ned Kelly would be proud of the steadfast attitude to producing quality wines, eschewing the bulk and mass market appeal of other successful wine regions. Likewise, it is populated only by a relative handful of wineries, though increasing interest in the wines in the region has seen other wine companies eager to source fruit.
The region is set in the north of Victoria, is relatively cool/frosty with some vineyards reaching up to 700m above sea level – an influence of the ‘sub-alpine’ location. The region came to prominence through the premium wines of Giaconda and the cult wines of Sorrenberg, though biodynamic wunderkind Castagna has helped perpetuate the legendary status of the region further. Wines are often very elegant, seamless and pure with a savoury vein through the fruit profile. Pricing is generally high as quality of fruit and detailed winemaking go hand in hand. A premium wine region without the associated highway robbery.