Heathcote is located in central Victoria north of Melbourne. This is a warm dry area of lower soil fertility that has traditionally been associated with sheep grazing. A small number of pioneering vignerons in the area highlighted the unique suitability of a narrow strip of red-brown Cambrian ironstone soils for red grape production – in particular Shiraz. The potential of this area has now been acknowledged with most of Australia’s leading wine producers establishing vineyards in the area. As production has increased Heathcote wines have gained both national and international recognition.



The Ada River planting at Heathcote was established in 1998 in conjunction with a local grape grower. The planting includes Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Merlot. The first vintages were made at our Gippsland winery but in 2003 a winery was constructed at Heathcote. We make the Ada River wines from fruit sourced from our block and a range of wines for the growers own label.


The vineyard is on an east facing slope on Cambrian soil on the Mt Camel range. A limited amount of drip irrigation is required to maintain the vines in peak condition over the warm dry summer. Mechanical harvesting and pre-pruning are standard in this area. Grape yields are kept to below 3 tonnes per acre to maximise fruit quality.


The quality of Heathcote wines are established in the vineyard so winemaking is kept as simple as possible. The grapes are crushed and fermented in small tanks before pressing in an airbag press. They are then matured for 12 to 18 months in a mix of new and older oak barrels


The Ada River Heathcote wines have gained immediate recognition with the following ratings by James Halliday:

2000 Heathcote Shiraz 4.5 stars out of 5 (Wine Companion 2003)

2001 Heathcote Shiraz 5 (Wine Companion 2004)

2002 Heathcote Shiraz 4.5 (Wine Companion 2005)

2002 Heathcote Cab Sauv 4.5

2003 Heathcote Reserve Shiraz 5 (Wine Companion 2006)

2003 Heathcote Cab Sauv 4.5

The first Heathcote Merlot was released from the 2004 vintage.