King Valley Wineries: The Underestimated Vineyards Of Victoria

by Alexandra Matkowsky

The picturesque King Valley is located at the base of the Alpine National Park, in Victoria which is surrounded by mountains, rivers and numerous King Valley wineries. From an extraordinary gourmet experience at the Milawa Gourmet Region to stunning waterfalls and mountain ranges in upper King Valley. The King Valley is a must visit for wine and food lovers. Pulling similarities from Northern Italy, a few wineries have integrated this into their wines and food.

The vineyards are found on the fertile slopes that rise above the King River – they are home to a great variety of wines. The Prosecco Road is a food and wine trail that visitors can explore, meet the winemakers and taste everything the King Valley has to offer (including the impeccable Italian cuisine).

King River Estate, Source: https://www.kingriverestate.com.au

How To Get There

Driving: The Hume Freeway, the Maroondah and Midland Highways, and the Great Alpine Road lead you to the King Valley Wineries. The drive from Melbourne is 3 hours or 4 hours from Canberra. All roads leading to the region offer spectacular views.

Flying: Albury Airport facilitates daily flights between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. All major rental car agencies are based at the airport. Wangaratta railway station is on the main Sydney-Melbourne rail link.

Our Top Picks Of King Valley Wineries

The King Valley is known for its cool climate wines and European style varieties. Many cellar doors in the valley are open seven days. Most of the King Valley vineyards have their own exceptional restaurants with distinct Italian flavours.

The region is remarkable for its imaginative use of various grape varieties by winemakers who recognised the regions cool-climate potential long ago.

1. Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers are one of Australia’s leading family-owned wineries. John Francis Brown planted 10 acres of mostly Riesling, Muscat and Shiraz grapevines in Milawa, Victoria in 1885. In 1889, the first vintage of wine was produced in the Old Barn which still stands on the property today.

With four generations of winemaking experience, the Brown family are known for producing some of Australia’s most innovative, hand-crafted wine. Located in the King Valley, the Milawa Vineyard is the birthplace of the Brown Brothers company. 

Thousands of tonnes of grapes are crushed each vintage. The stunning Victorian Alps are just a view away when looking out from this famous winery. Brown Brothers offer a unique experience from the moment you walk in the door. Their extensive lists of unique wines are definitely something to try when visiting King Valley Wineries.

Brown Brothers, Source: https://www.brownbrothers.com.au

2. Dal Zotto Wines

Each Dal Zotto wine is the blend of three elements – family, tradition and innovation.
The Dal Zotto philosophy begins with the most important thing – family. The founding family originated in rural Italy, before relocating to the King Valley.

This winery is home to delicious food, great wines, friendly service – all in an idyllic location. This family-owned winery will treat you as one of their own from the moment you walk in. Pull up a seat at their big family table, and discover the winery and all of the history behind it. Indulge in innovative wine and unique food and spend your afternoon listening to their stories.

Dal Zotto Wines, Source: https://dalzotto.com.au

3. Pizzini Wines

In 1978, Alfredo and Katrina Pizzini built a winery based on their passion and dedication to family and the Pizzini family legacy. It was this year that the first grapes were planted and 16 years later in 1994 when their first wine was produced. Today their four now adult children – Natalie, Joel, Carlo and Nicole work in the winery with their hard-working, determined parents. And together, they keep the Pizzini Wines dream alive.

In 1996, Alfredo and Katrina began selling their wines at the cellar door – a converted tobacco drying kiln on the property. To attract more customers to their winery, the Pizzini’s invested in 3 different hospitality businesses in 1995. The first was a little restaurant in Oxley, the second was the Mountain View Hotel in Whitfield. Daughter Natalie and Alfredo’s nephew, Adam Pizzini, took the reigns and turned the Mountain View into the award-winning country hotel it is today. And lastly, they renovated a cottage on their vineyard and turned it into self-contained accommodation.

These businesses helped shape Pizzini Wines into the winery it is today, with the family still running the Mountain View hotel in Whitfield. Cooking classes available at the cellar door, lovely and attentive staff, excellent wines and great food are what you’ll get to experience when visiting this winery.

Pizzini Wines, Source: https://www.pizzini.com.au

4. La Cantina

In 1980, Gino – founder of La Cantina, worked with his son Peter on their farm in the King Valley. Formerly a tobacco farm, Peter and Gino had an interest in growing grapes – it was in this year that they planted numerous vines and sold their grapes to Brown Brothers of Milawa. Gino kept some grapes for himself to make wine for family and friends. These wines were and still are today, made the traditional way, with no filtration and not adding any preservatives.

Over the next few years, the amount of tobacco grown on the farm lessened and the grape vines slowly took over. In 1992, Gino’s daughter insisted that her dad’s wine be served at her wedding. Here, everyone got to experience high-quality wine and started asking where they could purchase Gino’s wine.

It was in 1993 that they decided to no longer grow tobacco. Wine sales started increasing and in 1997, Gino and wife Carmel built a traditional Tuscan style cellar door. The winery continues to expand each year, and it is still a family-owned winery that continues to be passed down through generations. Known for their great wine, service and old fashion Italian food – this winery should definitely be one to visit.

La Cantina, Source: https://lacantinakingvalley.com.au

5. Wood Park Wines

A winery established in 1989 by John Stokes and his family. Wood Park Wines is all about using traditional and modern techniques, with plenty of hands-on approaches and wild yeast used to create unique wines.

In 2002, Wood Park’s cellar door opened at the Milawa Cheese Factory. It has been successful ever since, constantly bringing in customers/tourists. At their cellar door, you’re invited to explore their range of cool climate inspired wines and a relaxed setting. Wood Park Wines have a reputation for producing award-winning, hand-crafted wines in various style. Sparking, whites, reds, and sweet/fortified wines – all on offer using environmentally friendly, minimal chemical production techniques.

Wood Park Wines, Source: https://www.woodparkwines.com.au

6. Politini Wines

Salvatore Politini watched his father work in a Sicilian winery when he was younger. Today, 60 years later, Salvatore has brought a slice of Sicily to the King Valley – through his hand-crafted, cool-climate wines. Politini Wines is a family-owned boutique winery specialising in Italian varieties. You can experience and indulge in premium-quality wines including the unique Sicilian heritage Grecanico and Nero d’Avola at the cellar door. There are Sicilian cooking classes on offer, and excellent self-contained accommodation if you’ve had one too many.

The wine Politini produces include – Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Italian varietals – Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Rose and Prosecco, and Sicilian heritage varieties – Nero d’Avola and Grecanico.

Politini Wines, Source: https://www.politiniwines.com.au

7. King River Estate

Located in the picturesque King Valley, King River Estate was founded in 1990, when the first grapes were planted on the property. The vineyard is right next to the King River and under a small mountain. There is minimal intervention used in the winemaking process, such as using wild yeast to assist in their natural fermentation processes, this is said to create a complex range of wines.

Using a traditional yet innovative approach to winemaking, the King River Estate’s philosophy is based on the some of the “old world” techniques where wines are made naturally and the grapes are left to interact with wild yeasts, allowing for a natural fermentation to take place resulting in far more complex, soft & textural wines. King River Estate produces outstanding wines using biodynamic viticultural practices and minimal intervention. There is local produce to indulge in whilst visiting their cellar door. Wood-fired pizzas are available on weekends, they are said to be so good and worth the wait.

King River Estate, Source: https://www.kingriverestate.com.au

Things To Do While Your In The King Valley

  • Explore the Alpine National Park, picturesque valleys, stunning lakes and waterfalls in the King Valley.
  • Cycle through various wineries and sample new vintages or collect fresh local produce, discover stunning landscapes, national parks or spend the day fishing at the numerous rivers and lakes.
  • Many local businesses in the region offer camping and outdoor equipment, and there are stunning spots to set up camp and make a holiday out of your time in the valley.
  • There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer – white-water rafting, four-wheel driving, hiking the mountains and valleys, mountain bike riding, horse riding tours and so much more. There is so much to do in the King Valley – it should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

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