|Cool Climate Wineries|
|also: Banjos Run Winery, Blue Metal Vineyard, Bou-saada*, Cherry Tree Hill, Cuttaway Hill Estate, Diamond Creek Estate, Eling Forest Winery*, Farago Hill Wines, Greenbrier Park*, Howards Lane*, Joadja Wines*, Kingsdale Wines, McVitty Grove Estate*, Marist Bros Wines*, Mount Ashby Estate*, Pulpit Rock Estate, Sally's Corner Wines*, St Maur Estate*, Southern Highlands Wines*, Sutton Forest Estate Wines*, Tertini Wines*. [* = cellar door]|
AUSTRALIAN WINES AND THE HIGHLANDS - A NEW COOL CLIMATE WINE GROWING REGION
One does not normally associate the Highlands, with its cold winters and cool autumn and spring weather, with vineyards.
Most traditional wine growing in Australia took place in the famous Barossa and Hunter Valleys, or even further inland, where the hot summers and abundant irrigation waters make cultivation easier.
However, grapevines were amongst the first imported plants originally grown in Australia, and there is evidence that Dr. Charles Throsby planted vines at Throsby Park (near Moss Vale) as early ago as the 1820s.
Whether they were used to make wine does not seem to be recorded, but given the preference of people at the time for fortified wines, it is likely.
The industry today.
In the 1990s wine growers became interested in the formerly overlooked advantages of high altitude vineyards, as a means to source varietals, and for distinctive wines for blending.
Local pioneers - Joadja Wines (1983/1989) and Eling Forest Wines (1985/1992), are very much in the mould of the traditional Australian winemaking entrepreneurs. These are "boutique" wineries, pioneers who have seen their vision for winemaking grow, and who use a combination of traditional and modern techniques for growing and producing their wines.
They have since been joined by other boutique wineries: Howards Lane (1991/1993), Centennial Vineyards (1996/2001), Southern Highland Wines, 2002/2004 (dates in brackets are for first plantings/first vintage) followed by a boom of many more in the last decade. Of these a number of smaller enterprises have already shut down.
There are currently over 60 vineyards in the Highlands under cultivation (over 250 hectares) and about ten wineries.
Most vineyards are small in size and produce grapes for wine production at local wineries (many under their own labels). A few wineries operate on a largere commercial scale.
Fourteen vineyards have cellar doors (as at 2012), some smaller ones open only on weekends or by appointment.
The vignerons of the Highlands formed themselves into an association and have gained separate recognition of the Highlands as a cool climate winemaking region.
Today touring the wineries to taste the local vintages (and gaining the advantage of cellar door prices) is a popular pastime for visitors.
Vintage time is usually from early March through April, with harvesting of the grapes, crushing and winemaking.
New season's white wines, and aged reds, are usually released by mid-year, so late May, June and July are good times to visit to catch up on the very latest vintages. At other times, wine lovers are encouraged to keep an eye on the Highlands, and to visit its wineries to see the quality and variety of the local cool climate wines.