Murrindindi

February 15, 2007

What is “Murrindindi”, you might ask? This is a location in central Victoria along the Murrindindi River. It is also the name of the shire where Two Hills Vineyard is located (www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au).

According to Wikipedia the Woiwurrung people lived in these parts of the Upper Goulburn when the first white settlers arrived in 1837. In the Woiwurrung language Murrindindi means “living in the mountains” and indeed this part of the Upper Goulburn Wine Region (www.uppergoulburnwine.org.au) is quite hilly and mountainous. It was all covered by forests.

There has never been a Murrindindi town. The first settlers (squatters as they are called in Australia) cleared the forests and farming and timber became the main industries in this region. A short lived gold rush began in 1868.

Murrindindi

Mountain view in Murrindindi

Although most of the area was deforested by the early 20th century, systematic protection and re-planting of trees has occurred and today the eastern part of the Melba Highway from Glenburn to Yea is in some parts quite densely forested again with Mountain Ash and other gum varieties.

Tourism is on the rise (www.murrindinditourism.com.au). Accommodation is easily available. There are good opportunities for trail riding, fishing, trail biking, and bush walking, specially along the Wilhelmina Falls and along the Murrindindi River.

Also the wine industry has made Murrindindi its home. Since the late 1980ies and the early 1990ies some vineyards were established in the Murrindindi area. In comparison with my native Mosel River, this might seem a rather short history of wine production. Indeed, vintners and winemaker here are true pioneers. There are fours vineyards in the vicinity:

▪ Penbro Estate
▪ Murrindindi Vineyards
▪ Yea Valley Vineyards and
▪ Two Hills Vineyard

All are members of the Upper Goulburn Wine Growers Association but only Penbro Estate has a website (www.penbroestate.com.au). There cellar door used to be the Glenburn Pub in Glenburn. Murrindindi Vineyard’s cellar door is at Marmelades Café in Yea, a small country town about 25 km to the north along the Melba Highway.

Whereas the Celtic Treverer had hundreds of years of site and varietals’ selection opportunities, so that today a rich and extensive knowledge base exists in the Mosel wine industry with well established vineyards and wineries.

The vintners in Murrindindi had only a couple of years of trial and error and are still searching.

We at Two Hills had to pull all our Cabernet grapes out because they would not ripen in the cool and harsh climate with its short autumns. They were replaced with Pinot Noir.

Last year was our first but promising Pinot vintage. The variety seems to be better suited to our conditions then the long ripening Cabernet. We plan to extend our vineyard and plant 0.4 ha of Chardonnay this year.

Vineyard in Murrindindi

Vineyard in Murrindindi

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