Snaking your way up through the King Valley is one of the most beautiful drives in Victoria’s highlands. And the food isn’t too shabby, either. This is one of Victoria’s winemaking meccas, with rolling, sun-dappled vineyards around every bend in the road. Exploring the region without stopping at every cellar door, farm gate stall, interesting café or artisanal cheesemaker is the real challenge. Here are our Top 10 places to try in the King Valley. Bring your appetite.

1. Chrismont

If you like your vino with breathtaking views of the King Valley (not to mention some A-grade service) Chrismont is the place. With the Black Ranges all around, and a state-of-the-art wine and food centre to explore, there's plenty to see, do and taste. Chrismont is known for its European and Mediterranean wines: think familiar friends like prosecco, pinot grigio and barbera, plus left-of-centre drops like fiano, arneis and tempranillo. You can even stay at the guesthouses on-site, if you feel like soaking up the atmosphere for a few days.

2. Pizzini Wines

Pizzini has been producing world-class wine under their own label since 1994, and it’s fair to say they've become very, very good at it. There aren’t many vineyards in the state that can match their signature varietals: Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Verduzzo and Arneis, Prosecco and Brachetto. The cellar door is open seven days, and there's even a cooking school. Spend your morning sipping some excellent shiraz, then while away the afternoon making gnocchi with the women herself, Katrina Pizzini.

3. Dal Zotto Wines

Prosecco is the name of the game at family-run Dal Zotto Wines. In fact, this vineyard was responsible for pioneering Australia's first Prosecco grapes in 1999. Picture a gorgeous country house, surrounded by gum trees, with a welcoming cellar door, lots of al fresco dining and a charming garden (keep an eye out for family matriarch Nonna Elena; she's often pottering around in there). It'd be a crime to visit Dal Zotto and not try a glass of prosecco, but they also do a mean Arneis, Pinot Grigio, Garganega, Rosato and Sangiovese.

4. King River Brewing

It's not all wines and terroir up here. King River Brewing has established itself as one of Victoria's premier microbreweries and taprooms, owned and run by husband-and-wife team, Nathan and Brianna Munt. There are usually 12 rotating taps, not to mention plenty of varieties in the fridge (which you can either drink on-site, or purchase to takeaway). Our tip? Line your stomach with one of King River's signature wood-fired pizzas, and set up camp outside, under the trees and the fairy lights. It's the perfect way to spend a sunny, High Country afternoon.

5. Sam Miranda King Valley

You'll find Sam Miranda vineyard in Oxley, about 35km up the road from King River Brewing. This is the heart of the King Valley, and Sam Miranda has pulled out all the stop when it comes to their cellar door. You enter through a subterranean passage, which leads to the tasting area, bathed in light from the architecturally designed, 40-foot tower above. There's also a cosy, crackling fire, if you visit during the colder months. Sam Miranda is best enjoyed outside, with the vines all around and a gourmet picnic platter on standby. Start with the 2017 Rosato and go from there.

6. Brown Brothers


Brown Brothers is one of Victoria’s best-known family vineyards. They’ve been making wine here for over 130 years. Founded in 1889 by John Francis Brown, the winery has become best known for experimental varietals, including tarrango, fiano and cienna (along with familiar faces like cab sav, chardonnay and Moscato). There’s a cracking cellar door and renowned restaurant on-site, and you can even tailor your visit with a vineyard tour, wine blending experience, or a session in the Prosecco Lounge.


7. Milawa Cheese Company

Is there a better pairing than wine and cheese? A lot of the vineyards in this region source their cheeses from the Milawa Cheese Company, but if fromage is your thing, you really need to visit the source. Milawa Cheese is a family-run business, and has been going strong since 1988. Their speciality is European-style, farmhouse cheeses, made from cow and goats milk: big flavours, funky aromas, and a camembert that has to be tasted to be believed. Good luck leaving this place without a trunk full of ‘souvenirs’.


8. Mountain View Hotel


King Valley doesn’t lack for pubs, but Mountain View is one of the best. You’ll find it in Whitfield, surrounded by beautiful gardens and the burbling Jessie’s Creek. Pub classics are the name of the game here, but there’s a definite European slant to the menu, all backed up with wines and beers produced right here in the King Valley. You can also stay at the Mountain View, if you’d like to spend a couple of night’s exploring Whitfield and the surrounds. There are four beautifully refurbished units, right nextdoor.


9. La Cantina


If vegan, natural wines are your thing, make time for a pit stop at the beautiful La Cantina vineyard on Honeys Lane. This place is all about family, with three generations currently working behind the scenes. When it comes to wine, they specialise in Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Saperavi, along with Italian varietals Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera. All the fruit is grown and bottled right here, on the estate, with no preservatives and minimal intervention.


10. King Valley Popcorn


Time for a detour to the charming town of Glenrowan and the famous King Valley Popcorn. The team here pop and produce premium, gourmet, gluten free popcorn (the salted caramel is probably the best place to start). You can also re-fuel with Mansfield Coffee, 15 flavours of locally made ice-cream and a huge range of pick-n-mix lollies. Definitely a good option if you’ve got hungry kids in the backseat. While you’re in Glenrowan, don’t forget to stop and check out the town’s Ned Kelly exhibitions and memorials; Glenrowan is the site of the bushranger’s famous final stand.   


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