The Bendigo wine region, located in Central Victoria, is just two hours from Melbourne, making it a perfect spot for a weekend visit.
Whilst primarily renowned for its Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the region offers quite a range of varietals, including some fabulous whites.
The cellar doors in the region tend to be smaller in size, often meaning that you will be hosted by either one or more members of the family and/or winemaking team. This makes for not only a very informative experience, but a much more personal and interactive experience. We do note that as many of these working wineries are family run, a large number are only generally open on weekends, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
One thing that we did notice in this region compared to many others is that a number of the cellar doors showcase the same wine across a number of vintages, enabling you to get a sense of the impact of different weather conditions and cellaring potential of the wines. We personally think this is a fabulous way to help visitors understand and appreciate the wines.
Another great idea we noticed in the region was the "Tri-Bendigo Wine Experience" whereby currently, if you purchase 4 or more bottles of any wine from each of Balgownie Estate, Sandhurst Ridge and Connor Park, all of which are located around 10 minutes from each other, then you will receive 2 Riedel Wine Glasses for free!
The city of Bendigo itself has a great mix of modern and historical buildings, vibrant laneways and with a growing arts and food culture, there is definitely a lot to do and see. There are also an increasing number of festivals in the region, including various wine and food festivals throughout the year, meaning there is always something new and interesting to discover.
There are a number of great dining options in the region, both at a number of the wineries and in Bendigo itself. We had great lunches at both Balgownie Estate Winery and at Masons of Bendigo and if you do visit Masons, we highly recommend doing the "Roaming Menu", whereby the chef selects a number of dishes for you to showcase the best of what is on offer. Not only was every dish beautifully prepared and presented, but we thought that it was sensational value for the quality of food and service.
There are so many great cellar doors and restaurants in this region that we will be sure to visit again shortly......