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: Beechworth region

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Beechworth Vignerons Association: No website

Beechworth region

Beechworth is a small but super-premium mild climate wine region based on floodplain valleys and the Alpine foothills around the historic north-eastern gold mining town of Beechworth. Despite its small size there is considerable vino-diversity in the region.

The temperature range is quite variable depending on altitude so it is classified as transitional between a warm climate and a cool climate region. Vintage variations can be quite significant and late spring frosts can devastating, as occurred with the 2007 vintage.

Like other areas in Victoria where you got gold in the 19th century you soon got the vines to make the local plonk for the diggers.

The first vines were established in 1856 using numerous cuttings from Adelaide. Like much of northern Victoria the wine-making in region peaked in the 1890s, but had disappeared a couple of decades later.

The first modern vineyards began in the 1950s when Brown Brothers started up their Everton Vineyard (now the site of Battely Wines). There are no big wineries or vineyards in the region as the soils are unsuitable for the construction of large dams, the underground water supply is very limited and the region is part of the phylloxera-quarantine zone. There are about a dozen small boutique wineries.

Despite the low key profile of the region at least three of the wineries should be well known to fans of Australian super-premium wines. One is the iconic Giaconda with its funky and highly sought after Nantua Les Deux Chardonnay and the less well known Aeolia Roussanne (which is one of the best examples of this variety made in Australia so far).

The biodynamic Sorrenberg is also prominent in good wine bars and restaurant wine lists as Australia's first producer of a serious Gamay (the variety the French use to make Beaujalois).

Castagna, another tiny biodnymanic winery, has achieved cult status for its elegant (self-declared) Grand Cru reds, most notably the Genesis Syrah.

Riesling, Merlot, Semillon, Cabernet Franc/Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Orange Muscat, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir is also grown in the region but have not achieved the iconic status given to the Syrah, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Gamay.

Beechworth holds a number of events throughout the year with most famous being the Beechworth Harvest Festival in May. Also if you are fans of country cycling like some of us here at genxywines then you should try the Beechworth Rail Trail, a bitumen sealed former rail line that provides safe off road passage from Bright to Wangaratta.

Smiths Vineyard

Giaconda is one of Victoria's most iconic cult boutique wineries