REGION PROFILE

Geelong Wine Region

Overview

Climate: Cool climate wine region

Soil Type: Red brown clay over hard clay base

Elevation: 20 – 150m

Sunshine Average: 7.8 hours per day

Annual Rainfall: 540mm 

 

Family Owned and Operated

A particularly rare and unique feature of the Geelong wine region is the fact that ALL wineries are family owned and operated, there are no corporates. Visit any Geelong winery and the chances are the people you meet are the personalities behind the wines. The majority of Geelong wines are estate grown with pride and hand crafted with soul.

Wineries and Vineyards

The Geelong wine region is home to more than 150 vineyards, 60 wineries and 40 Cellar Doors.

Hectares Under Vine

780 hectares (1,950 acres) comprising approximately:

160 hectares – Surfcoast/Otways  |  390 hectares – Moorabool Valley  |  230 hectares – The Bellarine

Annual Tonnage

The annual yield for the Geelong wine region falls between 4875 – 5460 tonnes. This equates to 6.25 – 7 tonnes per hectare ( 2 – 3 tonnes per acre).

Climate, Altitude & Terroir

LONGITUDE 144 o 22’ E
LATITUDE 38 o 07’ S
ALTITUDE 20 – 150M (66-492 FEET)
ANNUAL RAINFALL 54 0MM
MEAN JANUARY TEMP 19o C
RELATIVE HUMIDITY OCT – APR, 3PM AVERAGE 57%

Geelong is classified as a ‘cool climate’ wine region which inherently provides an extended ripening period. Cool climate wines are recognised as the best in the world. The Geelong region boasts a winning combination of rich ‘terroir’ (the overall growing environment of the vine that has a direct impact on a wine’s character) and a cool climate, similar to the renowned French wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The majority of the Geelong wine region is strongly influenced by the moderating effect of the surrounding water of Port Philip Bay or Bass Strait. Pushing up into the northern part of the region the climate is less maritime and more continental. Elevations are from the coast to approximately 400m above sea level. The region is fairly dry, with average rainfall between 500 ml and 600 ml per annum; the majority falls in winter and spring. Strong winds are a constant, providing good air flow within the canopy, which assists in the natural control of various vine diseases.

Long, cool and usually dry Autumns ensure optimum ripeness across the core regional varietals whilst low rainfall produces a rich concentration of avour, aromatics and colour – distinctive characteristics of Geelong wines. It’s also a diverse region with plenty of geographical ‘latitude’. From the maritime microclimate of The Bellarine and Surf Coast to the dark volcanic topsoils and dry, sandy outcrops of the Moorabool Valley, sub regional nuances add an intriguing, multi-faceted complexity to Geelong wines.

Soil

The principal soil type is the commonly encountered red-brown clay loam over a hard clay base. The subsoil varies in pH; in part it is strongly alkaline, owing to the presence of limestone, while elsewhere it is more acidic. A second soil type is also found, that of Biscay; black cracking clay, which forms a finely cracked surface crust.

Harvest

Although seasonal/climatic impact varies from year to year, typical Geelong wine sub region harvest periods are:

Surfcoast/Otways – March/April/May  |  Moorabool Valley – Feb/March/April  |  The Bellarine – March/April

Export

Numerous wineries in the Geelong wine region are now exporting wine all over the world. Geelong wine export markets include China, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, India, Germany and Singapore.

Geelong Wine Region

Geographical Indications Defining the Region

In relatively recent times, there has been a move towards officially defining Australian wine regions. The official title for Australian wine region definition is Geographical Indications (GI), a concept overseen by the Geographical Indications Committee (GIC) a statutory authority of the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC). A Geographical Indication is an official description of an Australian wine zone, region or sub-region designed to protect the use of the regional name under international law. Any wine carrying the GI must include at least 85% fruit from that region. The GI system was introduced in 1993 arising from an historic bilateral agreement between Australia and the European Union involving Australia’s agreement to respect Europe’s regional names. Underpinning this agreement was the phasing out of Australian usage of established European generic names such as Burgundy, Champagne, Chablis, Moselle, Port and Sherry on wine labels.

AWBC component definitions of Geographical Indications comprise the following:

  • A zone is an area of land, without any particular qualifying attributes.
  • A region must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. A region is required to be measurably discrete from adjoining regions and have measurable homogeneity in grape growing attributes over its area.
  • A sub-region also must be a single tract of land, comprising at least five independently owned wine grape vineyards of at least five hectares each and usually produce five hundred tonnes of wine grapes in a year. However, a sub-region is required to be substantially discrete within the region and have substantial homogeneity in grape growing attributes over the area.

There are four levels to Australian Geographical Indications. Within these four levels, Geelong’s GI is defined as:

1. States or Territories: VICTORIA

2. Zones: Port Phillip

3. Region: Geelong

4. Sub Regions: Surfcoast/Otways, Moorabool Valley, The Bellarine

“The diverse wines of Geelong are borne from equally diverse landscapes – from low-lying, cattle-studded farmlands to hilltop vineyards and sweeping bay views. As a passerby its certainly pretty, but for those making wine here the elements can be extreme. Many areas are windswept and cold thanks to their proximity to Port Phillip and Corio bays. There are pockets of the region that see almost no rain and on the whole, Geelong is quite dry. These factors result in a distinctive regional style: the vines are robust, the wines are lush and aromatic, and the makers are tough. In places with low rainfall, limited yields and tricky conditions, you’ll find passionate producers, which is another reason to go – it takes talent and tenacity to turn tough elements into wines of complexity, and Geelong has those in spades.”

– James Halliday