Macedon Ranges


Macedon Ranges In the context of mainland Australia, this is a totally atypical wine region; downright chilly in its windswept south-east and only marginally warmer in its north-west. The vital statistics that appear below show the critical importance of correct vineyard site location in the almost glacial climate of the region's south-east. This sprawling, hilly and windswept area extends from the Lancefield-Macedon district at its southern end to the Kyneton district to the north. It is what might be termed the sharp end of Australian cool climate viticulture. It is uniquely suited to the production of ultra premium sparkling wine, yet also manages to span all the table wine styles from Riesling through Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The majority of the soils are relatively skeletal mountain soils, most typically granitic sandy loams which further restrict yields. However, there are patches of deep loams in valleys and on the lower slopes and occasional plains. Relatively low yields are in fact a blessing in disguise, for in many years higher yields would not ripen past sparkling wine levels.

Site selection (altitude, protection from wind and spring frosts, and maximum sun interception from north and north-east facing slopes), the careful matching of site and grape variety, razor sharp canopy management and relatively low yields are all prerequisites for success. Even then success will not come every year; those few extra degrees of heat as well as extra hours of sunshine of the warmer Melbourne summers are needed to get the best results. Notwithstanding this, the area continues to grow apace, far more quickly than one would imagine. The beauty and the lifestyle of the region together with its proximity to Melbourne are all factors contributing to its success. However, the size of the wineries is small and is likely to remain so. It is hard to imagine any of the larger wine companies moving in and this, at the end of the day, is exactly how the vignerons of the area wish it to be.