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Your 2022 Guide to the Macedon Ranges Wine Region VIC

Posted by David Laity on
Your 2022 Guide to the Macedon Ranges Wine Region VIC

A Snapshot of the region

We recognise the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the region – the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples.

This wine region is located in central Victoria, Australia - and it's one of the state's smallest but most exciting wine regions. There's only 215 hectares of vineyards, compared to Bendigo with 610ha and Yarra Valley with 2,837ha under vines.

From its stunning countryside and quaint villages, to its food and wine scene, there's plenty to keep you entertained in this central Victorian region. It's one of the most highly rated places in Australia on the quality of life index, it's got one of the highest concentrations of artists of any government region, it's one of the coldest places on the mainland, and Mount Macedon wineries are producing some of the country's finest cool climate grapes!

Mount Macedon itself dominates the landscape of undulating hills, extensive landscaped gardens and native forests. It's a dormant volcano that last erupted about seven million years ago.

Hanging Rock is another famous attraction of the area. It's a mamelon - one of the best preserved plugs from the centre of an extinct volcano - in the world. It's also the setting for a famous Australian film, a striking place to visit for a weekend picnic (only an hour away from Melbourne!) and the site of many major events throughout the year.

Passing Clouds cellar door and restaurant

Take Me There!

How to get to the Macedon Ranges Wineries

Take a train! Woodend is a lovely little country train station and it's just over an hour from Southern Cross station in the heart of the city of Melbourne. Take the Bendigo VLine and shell out about $10 for the privilege.

If you're behind the wheel yourself, get onto the Calder Fwy (M3) and it's pretty much 40 minutes from the edge of Melbourne to the base of Mount Macedon.

There's plenty of wine tours to join if you wish to visit different vineyards, or enjoy some very lovely scenery as you move between Lancefield, Tylden, Romsey, Cobaw, Carlsruhe, Woodend and Daylesford in search of the perfect drop.

Wikimedia Public Domainr- licenced under creative commons

What are Macedon Ranges wines like?

An overview of Macedon Ranges wines

In a nutshell - elegant. The climate is slightly cooler than the surrounding areas and the region boasts some of the highest elevated vineyards on the Australian mainland, so the wines tend to be lighter and more delicate. The most planted grape variety in Macedon Ranges is pinot noir - and it shows in the quality of the region's red wines. Expect to mostly find lighter to medium bodied wines with a higher degree of acidity which adds length and complexity to the palate.

Terroir - Soil and Climate

How do the soil and climate affect wine flavour in the Macedon Ranges?

One of the most striking aspects of this wine region is how bloody cold it is. The climate here is a mixed blessing. Although it can markedly limit the growing season of the grapes, it also allows the grapes to develop slowly and this enhances fruit flavour and retains fruit acidity.

If the season is particularly chilly or rainy, the typical requirements for wine grapes of more than 180 frost-free days and a minimum of 1200 hours sunshine during the growing season may not be met.

Similarly, with soils, you want enough nutrition, good drainage and soil life for the vines to flourish, but give them too much and the vines will benefit at the expense of the fruit. The variety you are growing is, of course, also important . Pinot noir is fussy and low yielding, whereas shiraz often benefits from tough love.

Macedon Ranges soils are typically poor quality mountain soils with lots of quartz, granite and rocky outcrops. Some locations in the ranges benefit from deep sandy loams and warm conditions, but these are not the norm.

Luckily, given all this, the conditions are good enough, often enough, for some wonderful wines to be made here.

Something out of the box?

Unusual wine varieties in the Macedon Ranges

If you're after a fine red wine other than shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, you've come to the right place.


A French red wine grape often blended with pinot noir. It's a famous part of the Beaujolais blend. It's a beautifully fresh, light coloured red that pairs well with food and can have a perfume of violets. The Lyons Will examples of the past few years have been getting rave reviews for good, grippy tannins and red cherry aromas.


A very unusual variety in Australia, lagrein is a relative of pinot noir and it is mostly grown in the Tyrol region of northern Italy. This grape produces wines that are highly acidic, highly tannic and with a distinctive minerally edge. Cobaw Ridge produces a well-known blend of lagrein & syrah (20% and 80% respectively in the mix) that they describe as having "morello sour cherry and delicate spice on the palate."

Looking for something you've probably never seen before? Same grapes, same vintage, same winemaker - but two very different treatments. This will be one of the most fascinating drinking experiences you will ever have and its delivered to your door for only $39.95. Oak vs Amphora.

The stars of the show

The top varietals of the Macedon Ranges

Between the high altitude and the southern latitude, the Macedon Ranges consistently produces some of Australia's finest pinot noir and chardonnay. These wines often have great structure and length with typically lifted fruit characteristics. The higher acidity of cool climate pinot lends itself to a wine that cellars well. Wine Australia believes that Macedon's Riesling is "some of the State’s best of this variety."

Pinot Noir

With bunches of grapes shaped and coloured like inky black pine cones, and an aroma containing elements such as cherries, violets, cola, roses, mushrooms and the forest floor, pinot noir is a subtle and fascinating wine. It also has a reputation as a demanding and difficult vine to grow well.

Australian pinot noir has been steadily improving in quality over the past two decades and is now recognised as some of the best new world pinot being produced. This is thanks, in part, to the pioneering work of growers and winemakers in regions like Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania and of course, Macedon Ranges.

Macedon pinots tends towards being highly perfumed, acidic and silky in texture, but the big variations in altitude, season and aspect of this region can also lead to pinots that are more robust, rounded and fruit dominant.

Wikimedia Public Domainr- licenced under creative commons


Chardonnay and pinot noir vines alone account for 70% of the plantings in this area. Find a good example and you'll be getting citrus and stone fruit with bright, appealing acidity. Along with lower alcohol, there is less sugar and often a more pronounced minerally quality to chardonnay from the regions around Melbourne.


The region's chardonnay and pinot noir are perfectly suited to the production of world class sparkling wines and indeed, some excellent bubbles have been coming out of Macedon Ranges in recent years. The cool climate means the wines have excellent natural acidity - perfect for sparkling wine.

Cope-Williams have a swag of awards for their sparkling brut and Hanging Rock Winery, Curly Flat and Passing Clouds are all making waves with their versions of "Macedon Brut"

Stellar Cellars

Some of the best wineries in the Macedon Ranges

Bindi Wines - Michael Dillon, the chief winemaker, just scooped the coveted winemaker of the year award from Halliday. Bindi don't fine the wines (see our blog on vegan wines for more information on this), they use minimal filtration and they intensively manage each vine. The vineyard is on a steep North-facing slope, which means the vines get more sun than most in the Macedon Ranges and this makes for riper grapes and more concentrated wines.

Place of Changing Winds - This is one of the most interesting Macedon Ranges wineries. Where many wineries have one full-time worker per fifty hectares', PoCW has one full-time worker per hectare. It's an intensively planted, minimal irrigation, organic cultivation vineyard only growing pinot noir and chardonnay. Where most Australian vineyards will get 2-3kg of fruit per vine, Changing Winds harvests about 400gms only. All this in done in service of getting the maximum fruit expression from each grape.

Hunter Gatherer Winery - Only a five hectare planting of twenty year old Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot. As the name suggests, fruit is also sourced from other wineries in the area. It's another local winery with a minimal intervention philosophy and with a a tasting flight of 9 wines for $10 at their cellar door, it's a great value way to check out the philosophy of the winemaker.

Mount Macedon Winery - At almost 700m above sea level this is one of Australia's highest altitude cellar doors. They grow chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling, along with sourcing grapes from surrounding vineyards. It's a lovely venue for a wedding, a meal at their restaurant or a wine tasting before or after (or before and after!) you explore Mount Macedon. Bookings essential here.

Curly Flat - Curly Flat have well-loved Sunday lunches with food and drink pairings and a cellar door offering free tastings of their wines during the week (open 12-5) all hosted in a beautifully renovated heritage building. The Curly Flat white pinot is an unusual treat.

Domaine Epis - One vineyard is close to Woodend and the other to Kyneton (30kms away) and both are charming historic towns with excellent restaurants offering some of the best places to eat and drink local specialities. The Australian average for cropping wine grapes of tonnes per acre is 2-3, but at Domaine Epis it is one and a half. These low-yield vines often produce fruit of great flavour and complexity.

Lyons Will Estate - Often awarded as one of the Macedon Ranges' best cellar doors, Lyons Will grow only their own fruit and make both gamay and riesling along with sparkling wines and other staples of the area. In their quest for a true expression of terroir in the wine, they state that "We do not add or remove any acids, tannins or colourants, and have moved away from relying on commercial yeasts and bacteria."

Granite Hills Estate -All estate grown and bottled wines. With varietals including Pinot Blanc, Gamay Noir, Gruner Veltliner and a small planting of Malbec, Granite Hills is producing some of the more unusual bottles of cool climate wine of the Macedon Ranges wine region, but it's also one of the few vineyards with plantings of shiraz.

Mount Towrong Vineyard - a perfect little encapsulation of all the great things about the ranges. Terraced, sustainable, unusual varietals, hand picked, family owned and it has a cellar door with breath-taking views of the local landscape (and some very good wine)

Passing Clouds- Passing Clouds, situated in both Bendigo and the Macedon Ranges, will be celebrating their fiftieth birthday in 2024. They're biodynamic, regenerative, and they make consistantly great wine. The cellar door is open seven days a week and the restaurant from Thu-Mon.

Need a nap after all the fun?

Best accomodation options

For lovely hosts and the feeling of a proper country stay, try The Barn Woodend.

Showcasing the beautiful gardens and clear night skies of the ranges is Braeside Mt Macedon - there's also plenty of local food and drink to sample when staying here.

Macedon Caravan Park is a non-corporate old-school site with both cabins and campsites.

The Firth Park Camping Area is free and has spaces for RVs and tents on an old sawmill site right next to Wombat State Forest.

Mount Macedon Hotel is rated as one of the best hotels in Australia by a number of the team at Goodwill Wines. The rooms are basic, but the lounge room in winter, sitting under a pressed tin ceiling with an open fire, looking out on a bare branched huge old oak outside in the beer garden, is hard to beat.

(c) The Barn - Woodend

Why visit the Macedon Ranges in 2022?

The lowdown

There are many things to do in the region, including visiting the wineries, exploring the scenic hiking trails, and picnicking in the beautiful parks and gardens.

Hanging Rock is not only an outstanding feature because it dominates all the the surrounding flat land, but also because there's many an event held at a winery in the immediate area. Some of the best cellar doors of cool climate Victoria are nearby. Hanging Rock winery itself produces some very acclaimed sparkling wines. Visit a local vineyard for a wine tasting, maybe eat some quality local delicacies, grab a bottle on your way out and then climb the rock. Or do it all in reverse.

In 2021, the Macedon Ranges wine region enjoyed a ‘quite incredible’ season, cool and wet, made – rather than saved – by a sunny and warm autumn of golden days and cool nights. Perfect conditions for some exceptional sparking wines.

Come 2022, and the pattern was somewhat similar. It was a cool season overall, and there was a general prevalence of low sugar and high acid wines. Those in the winemaking business could finally relax a little by the end of summer 2022.

Yields of ripe and very bright pinots, and chardonnays of excellent concentration and cool acidity, prompted great enthusiasm from the region’s top growers.

Something to see while you're there?

If it is wine that you've come to see and you are staying near Daylesford then Daylesford Wine Tours offers great value packages and knowledgeable guides to help you discover some stunning vineyards you never knew existed.

The Daylesford Sunday farmers market is an institution. Located beside the old railway station it is a great way to start your morning before jumping on a short train ride to the Passing Clouds winery for a memorable lunch.

Woodend hosts its own farmers market on the first Saturday of every month as does Kyneton on the second Saturday of each month.

While in Kyneton, explore the myriad of second hand shops and enjoy a meal in one of its many restaurants. Kyneton is regarded as the one of Victoria's top gastronomic destinations and is a town punching well above its weight in all things food and drink.

Then there are beautiful gardens attached to some truly epic properties on Mount Macedon some of which are open year round.

photo by Russell Charters - licenced under creative commons

Fancy a bevvy while visiting?

Beer, wine and cider in the Macedon Ranges Region

Head to the 2022 Wine and Food Budburst Festival from the 19-20 of November. Over 30 wineries in the Macedon Ranges open their cellars and vineyards to visitors, allowing them to discover the variety of local wineries and sample wine that may only be found at their cellar doors. Check out the website here.

Holgate Brewhouse is a central meeting place for locals in the town of Woodend. It's been brewing independent craft beer since 1999 and has a good selection of local Macedon Ranges wine.

I'm planning a visit to Animus Distillery sometime in the near future. In their words, "Our gins are produced in small batches, where our botanical baskets are changed frequently throughout the production of each batch, to extract the freshest, richest flavours from our balance of Australian native and international ingredients."

The Wine Collective are based in Macedon and stock up to 120 wines from over 30 Macedon Ranges wineries. They have an impressive range of sparkling wines.

Holgate Brewhouise tasting rooms and pub

How about some good tunes and good times?

Live Music and Festivals in the Macedon Ranges Region

The Macedon Ranges Music Festival has heaps of great acts, at Hanging Rock, and donates the profits to the Cambodian Kids Foundation.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis will be performing at Hanging Rock in November.

Spring Bliss Festival really will feel like bliss after the long, cold winters of the region.

Bringing Granny and the kids?

Family Friendly things to do in the Macedon Ranges

If I was a kid again, I'd nag my family to take me to the 2022 National Entomology Insect Expo. It's Australia's largest insect expo held in the beautiful village of Woodend. Spiders, scorpions and wrigglies galore!

The Macedon Ranges Adventure Playground is a stone's throw from the wine bars and restaurants of Gisborne. Let the kids have their playtime before your playtime begins.

The Mount Macedon Memorial Cross is a solemn place, but there's lots of room and walking places for the kids to run around. There's a good cafe right next to the carpark and it regularly snows there in the winter.

photo by Denisbin - licenced under Flickr

Geeking Out?

Quirky and clever things to do in the Macedon Ranges

Burke and Wills passed through the area on their travels through Victoria in 1860. The track that bears their name runs just past Lancefield. Have a little explore yourself, raise a glass to them, and hope your travels are better fated than their own.

Kyneton Museum is only open from Fri-Sun, but it's in a great location on Piper St which warrants a visit in itself. The building is an old bluestone bank and it hosts temporary exhibitions alongside the permanent collection.

Professors Lexi Con and Noel Edge (the Word Nerd and the Science Freak) will be hosting their Live Show: The Alphabet of Awesome Science in September 2022 at the Kyneton Town Hall.

Feeling Artistic?

Arts, Culture and Entertainment in the Macedon Ranges

You're absolutely spoiled for choice in this department. There's a new artistic event almost every week of the year in the ranges.

The Old Auction House Art Precinct & Gallery has two gallery spaces, working artist studios and a retail shop. Imperfect Landscapes is an interesting photography exhibition running through July, 2022.

Open Studios Macedon is on the weekend of 26-27 November. Nine different artists will open their studios to the public along with an exhibition at the Top of the Range tearooms Mt Macedon.

The Macedon Ranges Art Trail operates throughout the year and you may be able to book an appointment with an artist to visit their studio. Here's a copy of the map.

photo by Lynn Greyling - licenced under CC0 Public Domain

Looking for Something Sporty?

Active events and outdoor sports in the Macedon Ranges Region

Go mountain biking in the Wombat State Forest. There's a well-loved 17km loop which is maintained by locals.

The Macedon Ranges Shared Trails project will see a shared walking and cycling route connect Gisborne, Woodend, Macedon etc with a 24-kilometre trail.

photo by Tim Foster - licenced under unsplash

The Wrap

We've hope you've enjoyed this run down of the Macedon Ranges wine region and some of the incredible wineries and activities it has on offer. We will be regularly updating this page and greatly welcome any input you can offer. And if you go ahead and visit the Ranges, we hope you love it as much as we do.


The team at Goodwill Wine

Who is Goodwill Wine?

Goodwill Wine is Australia's only certified social enterprise wine company.

What's that you ask?

We are a wine company with soul. While other wine companies are focussed on maximising their profit, we are focused on maximising our impact. We do this by donating half our profits to Australian charity. Better still, when you buy, you get to tell us where the money goes.

Our wines are every bit as good as our competition - in fact hundreds of five star reviews would indicate better (see below) and thanks to Australian's choosing to buy their wine ethically, we have been able to donate almost half a million dollars to date.

So, why would we do this?

Our founder, David Laity lost most of what he owned in the Black Saturday bushfires. Thanks to the generosity of fellow Australians, he was given the chance to start again and so he made it his mission to pay forward the help he received.

You can read his story here

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