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King River Estate: A Jewel in North East Victoria’s Wine Region

There’s nowhere quite like Victoria’s North East and there is nowhere quite like the King Valley. Only 3 hours from Melbourne, and one might argue a little off the Hume Highway tourist trail is the little “hamlet” of Edi. Once a thriving community with 4 pubs, a post office and a railway station, what remains now is a shadow of its Tobacco growing heyday! But that is part of the charm.

Most wineries in the area have a long family story stemming back to the 19th century and we too enjoy strong connections to the region adding to the local appeal and identity. The area is steeped in agricultural history, gold mining history and yes even a couple of bushrangers are thrown in for good measure to add to the appeal.

Famous (or is that infamous) as one of the biggest tobacco growing regions in the country where the dairy industry also has a strong foothold, the area soon turned over to vines when Tobacco started to fall foul; at only 30 minutes from Wangaratta, King River Estate was established in 1990 when the first vines were planted on the estate and the first vintage was realised in 1996 by the previous owner.

A father and son team planted and propagated the vineyard and established the label until only a few years ago. The current owners also have a good history in the region with a small holding only 3 kms away growing small amounts of grapes that the former owner and winemaker of King River Estate would assist in making some of their wines. It was through that bond that the current owners were in a good position to purchase the property with 2 other families to continue the “tradition” of family run King Valley wineries.

The vineyard is ideally located on the banks of the King River in the shade of a small mountain in what is arguably the gateway to the upper King Valley. Using alluvial deposits and being close to the water table, the vines enjoy rich minerals and a good natural water supply, minimising the need to irrigate even during the dryer months. In the winery we also use minimal intervention in the wine making process such as using wild yeast to assist in a natural fermentation, which allows the wine to show its true personality thus creating a more complex range of wines.

Using a traditional yet innovative approach to wine making, the King River Estate’s philosophy is based on 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.

The rustic setting is effectively dominated by old tobacco processing and dairy farm buildings and is set off with a lush lawn and garden area that has been tended to over the years with as much care as has been shown to the lush vines. Our cellar door is located in an old machinery shed, and whilst it may have changed purpose it still retains some of its rustic charms whilst being a practical centre to the property to sample our wines.

Whether it is the more “traditional” varieties such as Shiraz or Merlot that you enjoy, or some more exotic varietal names such as Vermentino, Barbera, Sagrantino, or Saperavi that appeal to your senses, then we are sure to have something to appeal. As we say – we let the vines do the talking – so why don’t you swing by for a chat.