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Balgownie Estate

Reviews and Blog


Simon Wiener
30 November 2018 | Simon Wiener

New Year's Eve Celebrations Amongst the Vines

Christmas New Year's Eve Amongst the Vines in the Yarra Valley

See the New Year in style at Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley

Includes a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival with a magnificent 4-course degustation dinner and a night full of live entertainment. (Add paired wines for $45 pp)

6 PM – 8 PM | $110 Adult | $50 child

8:30 PM – Onwards | $130 Adult | $50 Child

 Bookings Essential | 03 9730 0774

Time Posted: 30/11/2018 at 1:21 PM
Simon Wiener
8 November 2018 | Simon Wiener

Christmas Lunch at Rae's Restaurant in the Yarra Valley

Christmas Lunch at Rae's Restaurant in the Yarra Valley

Celebrate the holiday season at Balgownie Estate

Join us for an indulgent Christmas Buffet Lunch complimented with a beverage package of Balgownie Estate’s finest wines and local beer.

Adults $190 | Teenagers $140 | Children $40

From 12 pm |  Bookings Essential | 03 9730 0774


Time Posted: 08/11/2018 at 9:00 PM
Simon Wiener
2 November 2018 | Simon Wiener

Balgownie Estate Bendigo features on 'A Moveable Feast'

Ross and Kate from Channel Seven's 'A Moveable Feast' visited us in Bendigo and dined on the fabulous French food of Executive Chef Travis Rodwell, matched with the Balgownie's superb Estate wines.

Watch the full episode here. Balgownie features at 16:25.

Time Posted: 02/11/2018 at 4:12 PM
Simon Wiener
7 September 2018 | Simon Wiener

2016 Estate Chardonnay is a Best Buy

We are thrilled that Australian Gourmet Traveller has included our 2016 Estate Chardonnay Yarra Valley as part of their Best Buys. Read their review:

“With its complex, roasted bread and toasted hazelnut bouquet, this is a beguiling wine. Delicious and refined with the full gamut of chardonnay complexities. Generosity delivered with finesse.” 94 points.

Time Posted: 07/09/2018 at 2:22 PM
Simon Wiener
11 August 2018 | Simon Wiener

2019 James Halliday Wine Companion

Balgownie Estate is thrilled to once again achieve a five-star rating in the newly released 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion. we are especially delighted that seven of our wines scored more than 90 points.

Here are all our ratings:

Some of these wines are yet to released. Why not join the Platinum Wine Club and be the first to know about our new release wines, while saving 25% on you wine purchases.

Time Posted: 11/08/2018 at 11:01 AM
Simon Wiener
21 July 2018 | Simon Wiener

Single Vineyard Shiraz Reviews

Read some of the exceptional reviews for the new release Single Vineyard Shiraz from Balgownie Estate's Bendigo Vineyard.


2015 Centre Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

"This is a looser knit single-site Bendigo shiraz than its brethren. The result is a choir of violet, iodine and blue fruits, lifted by a skein of white pepper melded to transparent acidity and moderate tannins. Slightly reduced, echoes of Northern Rhone in its potential, floral aromatics. Will age beautifully. 96/100"

Jeremy Oliver's Review:

“Assertive and sumptuous, this powerfully flavoured shiraz tempers its intensity with elegance and savoury qualities. Scented with musky spices, cracked pepper and deep dark plum, blackberry and cassis-like scents, it’s supported by fresh, smoky cedar/chocolatey oak. Its intense core of black, blue and red fruit extends long and assertive down a firmish, powdery spine, culminating in a long, faintly mineral finish." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Dark fruit gets in deep. Really deep. Whiffs of sandalwood plays its hand but sits alongside the fruit. Still tight through the mouth, aging beyond a decade is not out of the question. Soft baking spices curl around the mouth with dark chocolate dotted amongst the landscape delivering a wine oozing charisma. Oh, I could kick back by the fire with a glass or three of this.
Drink now but it will be better with more time in bottle for a decade." 93/100



Cellar Door Price $65 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $48.75 per bottle


2015 Railway Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

“The most concentrated of the single block Shiraz pillars, this leaves the lifted, floral aromatics behind in a journey to shiraz’s world of spice: clove, anise, turmeric and black pepper. There are generous fruit flavours from the blue to black spectrum, yet the overall experience is one of energy, herb and power." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Hold in two hands and embrace. What a beauty this is! The first release of the Railway Block and what a debut!
As with the Centre Block and Rock Block, this is dense, generous but carries a luscious factor all to its own. Milk chocolate, dark plums, sandalwood and baking spice aromas - so much going on. Things just mesh in a relaxed and effortless manner. The mouth is filled joyously tinged with delicate spices on exit which hang long. An absolute beauty.
Drink now to a decade." 94/100.

Huon Hooke's Review:

“Deep red colour with a good tint of purple. The bouquet is fragrantly spicy and ripe, rich and plummy, with some undergrowth accents. The wine is medium to full-bodied and soft, fleshy and savoury, the palate finishing with some peppery graphite notes and a trace of pleasant bitterness. It's really nicely balanced and approachable now." 91/100 Drink 2018 to 2030.



Cellar Door Price $65 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $48.75 per bottle


2015 Rock Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

“This site is a tough position in which the vines struggle to embed their root system. The wine is a highly savoury blend of black olive and anise, impeccably balanced and sinuous, spiralling across the mouth as it tries to shed its firm carapace of moreish tannins and marked acidity." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Cedar, black olive, cola, plums, dark berry fruit. Some cured meat too. There's a tension in the mouth which time should release. Chalky and dusty tannins to finish." 91/100.



Cellar Door Price $55 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $41.25 per bottle


Currently these wines are only available online as an exclusive pre-release offer to members of the Platinum Wine Club for a limited time (August 31st).

If you are a member, please login to purchase. Or why not join the Platinum Wine Club and recieve a 25% discount on you wine purchases, plus other great benefits.

Time Posted: 21/07/2018 at 9:08 AM
Simon Wiener
14 July 2018 | Simon Wiener

Balloons Over Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley

Beautiful morning for a balloon ride over Balgownie Estate Resort in the Yarra Valley













































































































Beautiful morning for a balloon ride over Balgownie Estate Resort in the Yarra Valley

Time Posted: 14/07/2018 at 9:27 AM
Simon Wiener
23 June 2018 | Simon Wiener

Why Winemakers Love Chardonnay

Despite being grown in Australian vineyards since the arrival of the First Fleet, chardonnay really only became popular in the 1970s and subsequently sales boomed through the 1980s. Today chardonnay is the second most widely planted variety in Australia (behind shiraz), with almost 32 000 hectares currently under vine.

Chardonnay is not only loved by wine drinkers, but it is also a favourite of winemakers and grape growers alike, and there are two major reason for this. The first reason is its ease of cultivation. Chardonnay is able to adapt to many conditions and hence is found in vineyards with very diverse climates – from the cold of Tasmania to the warmth of the Riverland. Many grape varieties are not capable of this, with varieties like pinot noir performing best in a cooler climate.

The different climates where chardonnay is grown are also reflected in the finished wine. Chardonnay from cooler climates taste more of gooseberry, grapefruit and lime, while warmer climates produce chardonnay with flavours of tropical fruit and rockmelon.

The second reason that winemakers love producing chardonnay is due to its malleability. There are a range of different winemaking practices that can be utilised in its production. This gives winemakers the opportunity to endlessly experiment with these different techniques. Some of the major winemaking techniques used in the production of chardonnay are:

  • Oak Contact. Oak barrels can be produced from trees grown in many different countries such as America, France, Slovenia, Germany or Russia. Most winemakers in Australia prefer the more delicate flavours that French oak imparts to their chardonnay, but even with French oak there are options and differences depending on where the oak is grown. The oak barrels can be used during fermentation or for storage post-fermentation. There are many further nuances about the topic of oak use in winemaking, which will be explored in a later post.
  • Wild Yeast. Most wine is produced using cultured yeasts that have predictable behaviour, produce known characters and aromas in finished wine, and will tolerate a high alcoholic-strength environment. But wine can also be produced using the natural yeast strains that occur in the vineyard and winery. These wild or indigenous yeasts often produce some unusual flavours (often termed funky) that can add extra complexity to the finished wine.

  • Time on Lees. Called sur lie in French, this involves leaving the dead yeast cells, skin, pulp and grape seeds (collectively known as lees) that collects at the bottom of a vessel after fermentation in contact with the wine for two to twelve months (in some styles, even longer). The presence of the lees improves mouthfeel, by creating a creamy texture in the wine, as well as adding cream and yeast flavours. Often times lees-stirring (or bâtonnage), where the lees are regularly mixed in the barrel or tank, is also cemployed: this prevents the formation of off-putting hydrogen sulphide characters in the wine. Leaving a wine on lees also encourages malolactic fermentation to commence (see below).

  • Malolactic Fermentation. This is a secondary fermentation that usually occurs after the primary (alcoholic) fermentation is completed. During malolactic fermentation (MLF or malo in Australia), specific strains of bacteria convert the stronger, harsher malic acid to the softer lactic acid. The fermentation is carried out by lactic acid bacteria which are usually naturally present in the winery, however MLF can be induced using cultured bacterial strains. As well as reducing the acidity in the wine, a by-product called diacetyl is produced - which is the distinctive buttery character often seen in chardonnay.

These are a variety of these techniques that the winemakers at Balgownie use in the production of out two Estate chardonnays. As these two wines originated from two very different climates – the Yarra Valley and Bendigo – they employ slightly different winemaking techniques.

2016 Estate Chardonnay – Yarra Valley

Grown in the cooler Yarra Valley, this chardonnay was fermented with wild yeast to add complexity to the finished wine. It spent 11 months on less while maturing in French oak barrels – a combination of 30% new barrels and 70% old barrels. To maintain the freshness of the wine and its crisp acidity, the Yarra Valley Chardonnay did not go through malolactic fermentation.

2016 Estate Chardonnay – Bendigo

The warmer climate in Bendigo tends to produce riper and richer fruit that results in a heavier wine. The Bendigo Chardonnay was partially fermented with wild yeast and partially with cultured yeast before spending 11 months on lees. The wine was matured in a combination of new and old French oak barrels. This wine also did not go through malolactic fermentation to preserve the natural grape acidity and freshness.

Time Posted: 23/06/2018 at 2:48 PM
Simon Wiener
12 May 2018 | Simon Wiener

A Brief History of the Yarra Valley

The singular landscape of the Yarra Valley has an extensive history of providing a unique environment for agricultural and leisure activities. Long before the European settlement of the country, the Wurundjeri people occupied the lands around the Yarra Valley, centred on the Yarra River. Their dreamtime stories tell how the river was etched into the landscape by the ancestral creator spirit Bunjil - the wedge tailed eagle (

Pastoralists came quickly to the Yarra Valley and vineyards often formed part of the farming that was established in the area. In 1838 the Ryrie brothers planted the first vineyards in the area at their property known today as Chateau Yering. The property was purchased by the swiss-born Paul de Castella in 1850 and he dramatically expanded the vineyard plantings, importing vines from Chateau Lafite in France.

Other famous Yarra Valley vineyards were also established at this time, with Paul’s brother Hubert de Castella planting St Huberts in 1863 and Guillame de Pury establishing Yeringburg in 1864. The ensuring reputation for the quality of Yarra Valley wine rested heavily on these producers and “despite their disappearance in the 1920s, their fond memory would linger… and would lead in no small part to the restoration of the vine to its rightful place in the Valley in the 1970s.” (Beeston, 1995).

Despite there being almost 1000 acres under vine, the turn of the century brought difficult times to the Yarra Valley as a multitude of factors combined to effectively spell the end of wine production in the area. In the late 1890s the vine louse phylloxera was detected at Geelong and with no cure other than prevention it quickly laid waste to vineyards of Victoria and New South Wales. This coupled with onset of the depression and a change of fashion to favour the heavily alcoholic wines from the warm areas in Rutherglen and South Australia, effectively spelt the end of the Yarra Valley as a wine producing area. The final vineyards were removed in the 1920s as pasture for milk production proved to be more financially viable.

The Yarra Valley would need to wait till the 1960s for the re-emergence of vineyards and wine production. Reg Egan, a Melbourne lawyer formed the vanguard, planting his vineyards at Wantirna in the outer eastern suburbs of the city in 1963. 1968 saw the reestablishment of St Huberts, as the Cester family replanted the vineyards and in 1969 the de Pury family replanted vines at Yeringburg. The year also saw botanist Dr. Bailey Carrodus establish Yarra Yering and Jack and June Church plant the nearby Warramate.

The rush to plant in the Yarra Valley continued with Dr. John Middleton selecting land at Coldstream and planting Mount Mary in 1971. Dr. Peter McMahon preferred the slopes of the hills at Seville and established Seville Estate in 1972. Graeme Miller a diary farmer, planted vines at Dixon’s Creek in 1971 and established Chateau Yarrinya (now Debortoli Yarra Valley).

The rush of planting continued into the 1980 with the establishment of famous names such as Diamond Valley, Yarra Burn, Tarrawarra and Coldstream Hills. The establishment of new properties continued through the 1990s and 2000s with more than 40 new wineries being opened,  confirming the Yarra Valley as the nations premier cool climate wine producing area.

Time Posted: 12/05/2018 at 3:14 PM
Simon Wiener
21 April 2018 | Simon Wiener

ANZAC Day 2018 Opening Hours

Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley

ANZAC Day 2018 Opening Hours

On ANZAC Day Cellar Door will be open from 12 midday to 5pm


Time Posted: 21/04/2018 at 10:44 AM