A Travellers Guide to the King Valley
Three hours from Melbourne, Australia’s King Valley and High Country is a region rich in history, surrounded by snow and ski resorts. It’s also home to wineries, vineyards and a rich culture.
Start your day with a visit to Pizzini vineyard, where you’ll learn about the Italian heritage that has shaped the region and the wines that are produced here. Then, head to the barrel room for a tutored tasting of both current and back vintages.
Located in Victoria’s High Country, the King Valley is an outstanding wine region that shines year-round. Discover cellar doors, restaurants and outdoor activities. Cycle through vineyards or collect fresh local produce, journey to stunning landscapes and national parks and take on ski slopes if winter is calling you.
The region has a strong Italian heritage and its wines are influenced by this, with Prosecco and Sangiovese among the more well-known varieties in this part of Australia. It is also known for its other premium traditional cool climate varieties like Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto and Arneis.
There are a great range of wineries in the area that you can visit and sample different types of wine from, many with excellent Italian cuisine to match your wine selection. Some even offer cooking classes, where you can learn how to make some of the classic dishes from their kitchens.
A number of these wineries have a strong Italian influence, pulling from Northern Italy as their inspiration. You’ll find house-made salami, stuffed sardines, pasta filled with freshly made ricotta and more.
With a variety of Italian varieties, it’s no surprise that the King Valley is known as Australia’s Little Italy! The region is dominated by Italian migrants and their families, who have brought their knowledge of grape growing and wine making to the area.
While the majority of these wineries are run by families, there are some that have been more innovative and opened up new possibilities in winemaking. For example, Otto Dal Zotto planted the first ‘glera’ vines in the region in the 1990s, and has since helped establish King Valley as Australia’s home for this Italian-born sparkling white.
Another innovative winemaker is King River Estate, who use minimal intervention in their production process allowing the complexities of the wines to develop naturally. The winery is situated right on the King River and under a small mountain, so the fruit receives a natural exposure to the air and the grapes are able to interact with wild yeast, resulting in a complex and textural style of wine.
The king valley has an Italian heritage and its wines are influenced by that, with Prosecco and Sangiovese being among the more well-known varieties in this section of Australia. It is also known for its alternative grape varieties, with Pinot Grigio and Dolcetto among the more well-known.
Food & Wine
Whether you want to hit up an Italian winery with the kids or find a hidden gem, the King Valley has everything you need. This north-east region is home to some of Victoria’s top wineries, award-winning pubs and fine dining restaurants.
The area is known for its cool climate and terroir, with a number of family-owned wineries in the heart of the valley. The majority of the King Valley’s wineries produce high quality, low production wines.
A lot of Italian varietals are made here and they are very well-suited to the King Valley’s cooler climate, especially nebbiolo and sangiovese. Prosecco is also a popular wine in the area, and has recently been increasing its production.
Pinot grigio is another great local option, and the King Valley’s climate suits this grape well. It’s often a zippy, tangy style of pinot that has lovely melon, peach, honeysuckle or citrus aromas and lingering acidity.
If you want to experience the full food and wine experience, why not book a tour at one of the top wineries in the King Valley? Brown Brothers, for example, offer a chef’s tasting menu lunch with matching wines that you’ll enjoy under the guidance of their experienced winemaker. Or head to Politini Wines in the upper part of the valley for a tour and cooking experience or their cellar door.
For an even more intimate experience, try one of their bespoke private tours. You’ll get to hear their stories and discover the secrets behind their wines with a guide by your side.
You can also take a guided tour of their vineyard and kitchen garden to forage for the freshest produce. Then sit down for a delicious lunch that’s perfectly matched to the wines that you’ve been sampling and served by the chefs at their acclaimed restaurant.
Whether you’re planning a day out in the wineries or an extended stay, a trip to the King Valley is a must. It’s a gorgeous place to spend time with friends and family and is a great base from which to explore the other wine regions in North East Victoria.
The King Valley is home to some of Victoria’s most picturesque scenery, making it a popular destination for outdoor lovers. This beautiful region is perfect for hiking, cycling, rafting and fishing. There are also numerous waterfalls, lookouts and trails to choose from.
The region is surrounded by the Alpine National Park and is full of cascading waterfalls and rock formations. There are many trails and walks to suit different levels of experience, including hikes that take in the stunning views across Lake William Hovell.
For those who prefer to relax in the sun, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming and picnicking. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a 4-wheel driving tour or a horse riding adventure. There are even opportunities for white water rafting and kayaking in the region.
When it comes to a bite to eat, there are a lot of delicious options to choose from. One of the most popular places in the area is Milawa, a small town brimming with delicious produce from local wineries and cheesemakers.
Another popular place for food and wine tasting is Rutherglen, a beautiful region in North East Victoria that is home to five chief wine growing areas. It’s here that you can explore the cellar doors of some of the best wine producers, as well as enjoying a meal or a drink at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a fun way to discover the wineries in this region, try a guided wine trail with High Country Hiking Tours. They have years of experience leading hikes in the area and can take you to some of the most scenic locations.
There are so many things to see and do in the King Valley that it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, we have rounded up some of our favourite activities and attractions for you to try!
If you’re planning a getaway to the King Valley, be sure to pack your camera. Not only is it a gorgeous area to explore, but it’s also home to some incredible wildlife, with wildflowers blooming in the warmer months and migratory birds arriving in winter. You can also catch some spectacular sunsets over the mountains.
The King Valley is a world-class wine producing region in the northern state of Victoria. It stretches along the King River between the city of Wangaratta and Alpine National Park.
There are a number of hotels and lodges throughout the King Valley that offer luxury accommodation, each combining comfort with outdoor delights. These are perfect for couples who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax.
One of the most luxurious options is Lusso Vineyard Resort in Whitfield. Listed as one of the Best Regional Hotels by Luxury Travel Magazine, this boutique property offers terrace dining, a bright guest lounge and a striking swimming pool.
Another option is the Mountain View Hotel, set in a tiny hamlet on Jessie’s Creek. It’s owned by the Pizzini family and is surrounded by gorgeous gardens.
It’s a great place to stay for those who like to take their time, with plenty of activities to do around the area. It’s also a great base for those looking to explore the local wineries.
If you’re more of a camping type, you could try Edi Cutting Reserve, which runs for 2km alongside the King River. Or, if you’d prefer to go a bit further afield, you can stay at Bennie’s Camping area within the alpine park.
There’s also the option of camping at Riverside King Valley, which is just 38km on a sealed road from Wangaratta. The campsite is surrounded by picturesque countryside and has access to 1Km of river frontage.
The town of Milawa is a popular tourist destination and home to a large number of historic buildings, accommodation from caravan parks right through to boutique hotels, a country pub, bakery, unique retail stores and cafes. It’s a good base for those looking to explore the surrounding wineries, but who also want to experience the charm of rural Victoria.
The 126km King River flows through the alpine region of the High Country, starting at an elevation of more than 1000 metres and flowing south-east to Wangaratta. It feeds into the Alpine National Park, providing sustenance to one of Victoria’s renowned wine growing regions.