History of Geelong

By March 8, 2018 April 16th, 2020 No Comments


Many people think of Australian wines as part of a new wave, which came from nowhere and challenged the old order. What they don’t realize is that many parts of Australia actually have a long and noble wine producing heritage. One of these regions is Geelong, in Victoria, which first started producing wine during the Victorian Gold Rush in the mid 1800s. However, disease and economics meant that the industry went into decline, only to be resurrected by modern, fiercely independent winemakers with a real sense of adventure.

From Gold Rush to Modernity

The first Geelong wineries were established by Swiss settlers, using their accumulated viniculture knowledge to produce wines that brought a taste of home. Unfortunately, as happened in many parts of the
world, the wine louse, Phylloxera, laid waste to the Geelong vineyards. In 1875, as part of a vain attempt to contain
the parasite, every single vine in Geelong was uprooted.

This void remained in place for almost 100 years, because it simply wasn’t economically viable to replant the vines and
invest in wineries. In the 1970s, with wine now a growing industry, new, family owned wineries appeared across Geelong, as people once again began to appreciate the rich, fertile soils and vine-friendly cool climate. Now, the wine industry  n Geelong is thriving and producing notable wines that rival brands produced anywhere in the world. Most locals cannot imagine the region without the rows and rows of ubiquitous vines crossing the landscape.

A Wine Tour with a Refreshing Twist

Not only do Geelong’s wineries produce fine wines that are sent across Australia and further afield, most are open to
visitors. Taking a tour is a great way to see this beautiful region and sample some of its clear, slightly sharp wines. Because most of the Geelong wineries are still family owned, each has its own specialty, leaving you with ample
choice whatever your palate.

Wilson’s Wine Tours specializes in creating customized wine tasting trips for small groups. The tours take in the beautiful landscape of the Geelong region and show you how winemaking has shaped the land and become ingrained in local culture. At each winery, you will see how families learned to work with the land and the unpredictable climate, and rediscovered  the skills once common in the area. Checkout some of the wine tour options CLICK HERE

From Rebirth Comes Diversity

One thing that makes Geelong’s wine special is the idea of rebirth. In recent decades, young entrepreneurs became winegrowers, most with a distinct lack of experience. They set up wineries and brought a sense of adventure and experimentation. Unconstrained by convention, these new wineries tried new things and rejected the consensus.

Geelong wineries still resist the corporate  mentality that brings in bland, identikit wines, and instead take pride in
their history and uniqueness. Their small size makes them agile and willing to try new varieties because, if one does not work, they simply try something else. This flexibility is not always apparent with the largest producers who tend to stick with the tried and tested. Many of the wineries go beyond wine and include restaurants, local music, and cultural displays, ensuring that you can soak up the rich heritage of the region as part of a unique wine tasting experience.

The sheer variety of new wines and the refreshing willingness to try new things is why a Wilson’s Wine Tour offers
something unparalleled. Your itinerary can give you a taste of the rich heritage of Geelong alongside the opportunity to sample types of wine that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Wilson’s Wine Tours will help you plan a wonderful journey that takes in all your favourite types of wine, but also has the ability to surprise and delight.

To book in a wine tour throughout the Geelong wine region – START HERE

Or simply contact David on 0405 173736 /

Next >> Ballerine Winery Trail

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David Wilson

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