Spin the Bottle
Despite its proximity to Melbourne, this scenic wine region has managed to fly under the radar – until now.
Beat a path (and the tourists) to the Heathcote wine region
a 90-minute drive north of Melbourne, Victoria’s Heathcote region doesn’t hold back on its bucolic charm. Visitors are greeted by what looks like a giant game of marbles abandoned centuries ago: large granite boulders strewn across sharp green peaks. Roads wind through this dramatic landscape punctuated with rolling hills before reaching the area’s heart, where vast open bushland dotted with ageing eucalypts takes over.
But Heathcote is much more than scenic drives and must-stop lookouts. A burgeoning food and wine scene is also part of its charm. It all began in 1955 when Czechoslovakian vigneron Paul Osicka and his family arrived and planted the first vines in Graytown. Two decades later, Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill in Ladys Pass produced spectacular shiraz, which remains the region’s signature variety.
Today, some of the country’s big names in winemaking – Tyrrell’s, Seppelt, Brown Brothers – have vineyards in Heathcote. Yet the area is still something of a local secret. It’s not set up for mass tourism (there are no big bus tours here) and the only visitors you’re likely to encounter are kangaroos and emus wandering among the vines. But that’s precisely what makes it a wonderful escape – much like the Napas and Champagnes before tourists discovered them. Plan a weekend here now before the rest of Australia catches up.
The four guest villas at The Cellars at Heathcote II are stocked with local and international wine