Victorians are very proud of the diversity of their food and wine culture across the regions, from the Mornington Peninsula, to the Yarra Valley, to the coast.
Strangely, we don’t hear about the Strathbogie Ranges as often as we should in this context, as it’s certainly no slouch in the food and wine stakes. Located just off the Hume Highway in the northeast of Victoria, gems such as Fowles Wines can be found among the greenery and the grazing cattle.
Awarded Best Victorian Tourism Winery for two years running, Fowles isn’t your ordinary tourist destination. With its lush surroundings, the young and dynamic team, the strong focus on customer service and of course, the unique cold climate wines carefully paired with great food, it is easy to get swept up in the sheer enjoyment of the visit.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that everyone involved in the winery is so proud of and passionate about what they do. Chief Winemaker Victor Nash, who at 38 has already been making wine in the region for 13 years, is no exception.
“Victor would never say it himself, but he’s actually a genius,” CEO Matt Fowles says of his colleague. “Smartest bloke here and a rare palate and aptitude in this area. We’re a young group here, and he’s a great example of age having nothing to do with talent and ability.”
With a sound understanding of “terroir” (a French word that describes the unique characteristics of a region and how it in turn effects produce from the area) and a passion for local game meat, Fowles looks to celebrate all the region has to offer. The result is a range of diverse, award-winning wines from chardonnay through to shiraz, and food that beautifully complements the wines on offer. This is reflected in the “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch” and “Are You Game” range of wines, which have been created specifically to partner with game dishes.
The Gamekeeper’s Platter, which incorporates four different ‘tastes’ of food to be found around the region, is testament to this ethos. Each element of the platter is paired with a drop so well matched that the wine becomes an integral part of the flavours of the dish. A remarkable match in this instance is the Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch riesling, which has a little more body and texture to it than its traditional Australian counterparts and stands up very well to the smoked eel it is paired with. Another highlight is the fruity Are You Game chardonnay paired with the wonderful rillette of pheasant, bone marrow and celeriac.
Being so close to Melbourne, Fowles is a great place to have lunch, or if you’re looking to stay in the region a little longer, there are some lovely boutique places to stay in town.
“The varying wineries in this region are all so different from each other, so it’s a great place to be if you’re a food and wine enthusiast,” Fowles’ Customer Service Manager Ian Firth says. “Here, the vineyards are so different, the climate is different if you go as small a distance as 20 minutes down the road.
“That is our point of difference in the Strathbogie Ranges – from one winery to the next, we’re all unique. And that’s exciting.”
Fowles Wine is open seven days from 9am to 5pm.
Fowles Wine have been crowned Victoria’s Best Tourism Winery for the third year in a row! As part of their celebrations they’d like to give two GRAM readers the chance to dine with them for free. Click here for details on how to enter.