The Macedon Ranges is on Melbourne’s door step, less than an hour from the city and elevated with the vineyard areas generally above 400 metres and up to 700 metres.
The vineyards are located along either side of the Great Dividing Ranges seeking the optimum interaction of soil, topography, aspect and climate. In general it is a high winter rainfall area. With cool summers (the ranges attract weather), the ripening period is in the cool of autumn-delayed, slow and long- the latest vintage to occur anywhere in Australia.
The wines reflect the climate and topography. There is a diversity, but the predominant characters are a natural lively acidity and steely backbone; fine, intense but delicate fruit characters and soft tannins in the red wines. The balance of alcohol, acidity and fruit provide complexity and longevity, and make the wines a superb match for a wide range of food.
Burke and Wills passed through in 1860 on their ill-fated journey north, a legacy being the Burke and Wills Track road-name used to this day. In that same year small vineyards and wineries sprang up around Riddells Creek, Carlsruhe and Darraweit Guim.
The Darraweit Guim and Riddells Creek plantings were in the 1840’s and 1850’s by the Jackson Brothers and by William and Walter Clarke of Clarkefield. Vineyards in the Sunbury region to the south were also established at this time.
The Riddells Creek plantings were made by Henry and Robert Foreman who planted vines along the Sandy Creek at Holyrood in the 1850’s and by George Knight who planted 10 acres at Beulah’s in 1889
It is believed that the extensive plantings at Riddells Creek were abandoned because of the 1890’s recession, the cooler climate compared with Sunbury and the loss of English markets.
Viticulture was revived in the area in the late 1960’s with plantings at Virgin Hills by Tom Lazar and by Gordon Knight (Granite Hills) at Baynton in 1971. This was followed in 1977 by Gordon Cope-Williams plantings at Romsey, Bob Nixon’s planting of Gisborne Peak Winery in Gisborne South in 1978 and the establishment of Hanging Rock, Rochford, Portree and Roseberry Hill in 1983. Since then winemaking and grapegrowing has continued to expand, with Cleveland established in 1984, Cobaw Ridge and Mt Gisborne in 1985, Mt William and Bindi in 1987, Mt Macedon in 1989, and Curly Flat, Braewattie and Stonemont in 1993.