Shiraz and Beyond in the Grampians

Words by Mandy Kennedy
Images supplied

The Grampians region is steeped in history young and ancient. Seriously Shiraz Festival (Friday Aug 30 – Sunday Sept 1 2019) may only be five years old but it promises to be a weekend fuelled by wine, food, art and music. 

Thirteen wineries have come together to make this the biggest and best Seriously Shiraz Festival to date, offering a host of experiences designed to suit the novice drinker, the serious vinophile or families celebrating Fathers’ Day.

The festival’s eponymous wines are a result of the region’s cool climate and loamy soils – its terroir in wine speak. Shiraz typically ranges from pretty and fragrant with dark berry fruits to savoury with hints of white pepper, spice and liquorice. Seriously Shiraz gives you the chance to  taste them all.

A spectacular start to the weekend would be the Friday night underground dinner to be held at Seppelt Great Western Winery in their heritage-listed cellar, ‘The Drives.’  First excavated in 1868, and the longest in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be drinking in history as well as a selection of their distinctive sparkling Shiraz and renowned table wines.

For those who wish to delve a little deeper, the award winning Grampians Estate are offering a masterclass featuring their Streeton Reserve Shiraz on Saturday August 31st. At only $25 a head, it’s hard to pass up the chance to experience their top-end shiraz in a full vertical tasting back to 2001. Another one not to miss is Mount Langi Ghiran’s intimate winemaker-led tasting of their 2017 iconic shiraz wines held in the original hillside cellar vault. Bookings are required due to limited places.

Families have not been forgotten with a plethora of family-friendly events occurring across the weekend, many free of charge. Choose from live music at Montara Wines, an art exhibition at Mountainside Wines and a host of kids activities, market and live music at Pomonal Estate.

And let’s not forget about the food options. President of Grampians Winemakers, Leigh Clarnette, recommends a winemaker dinner as a great chance to get up close and personal with a winemaker. Fitting the bill is a five-course degustation dinner hosted by Steel Cutters Cottage with numbers limited to just 16 people. Other options include Gluwhein and gourmet sausages around the fire-drum at Grampians Estate or a visit to Pomonal Estate – a locavore’s dream with their produce coming from within a one hour radius.

Rebecca Drummond of family-owned Fallen Giants, a boutique vineyard of 10 hectares, explains why so many fall in love with the area. ‘It’s just this feeling, working in the vineyard in all weathers and being surrounded by magnificent 360 degree views. In a small winery such as ours, you get to experience the whole lifecycle of a vineyard.’

Fallen Giants is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the vineyard by hosting vertical tasting of shiraz from 2013 to current vintage. ‘As a small winery our blending options are limited and as such our wines are true expressions of their vintage be it hot, short, water-stressed or other. Although our older vines have a lower fruit yield, they produce a more intense wine.’

During Winter, Grampians shiraz is the ultimate wine highlighting the amazing complex flavours our world-class region produces.

When pressed on her ideal accompaniment to their shiraz, ‘I picture sitting by the fire with something slow cooked. Last night we had cassoulet, rich and luscious in flavour. During winter, Grampians shiraz is the ultimate wine highlighting the amazing complex flavours our world-class region produces.’

Time for wider cultural experience? Visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Halls Gap to learn about the aboriginal communities of Western Victoria or perhaps the Halls Gap Zoo. At Victoria’s largest regional zoo they have 160 species over 52 acres and patting the rhino is optional. At this rate, you may need to extend your visit and make it a long weekend.

What: Seriously Shiraz Festival
Where: The Grampians
When: Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September 2019
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