Macedon Ranges wineries to visit

By Halliday Promotion

27 Mar, 2024

Discover these three wineries from Victoria's Macedon Ranges, a region that is home to elegant wine, award-winning restaurants and spectacular scenery. 

The Macedon Ranges is one of Victoria's best-kept secrets. Just over an hour's drive north of Melbourne, you'll be greeted by tree-lined avenues, mile-long driveways and heritage buildings. The region has a vinous history that dates back to 1860, when wineries first sprang up (before disappearing again around the outbreak of the First World War). Winemaking didn't really take off again until 1968, when artist and restaurateur Tom Lazar established the Virgin Hills vineyard. 

Today, Macedon belongs to what James Halliday has called the "Melbourne dress circle" of pinot noir regions. The variety is a regional standout, along with chardonnay, riesling, shiraz and sparkling wine.

And there's no better place to sample these varieties than the three wineries below. Try pinot noirs from Kyneton Ridge and Paramoor, and a chardonnay from Lyons Will Estate

Kyneton Ridge

Giant rock at Kyneton Ridge

Owner and manager Angela Wood says: Kyneton Ridge is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery high on the northern slopes of the Macedon Ranges. With a cool climate, granitic soils, sunshine, sustainable viticulture and minimum intervention winemaking, our wine seeks to reflect the unique character of the Macedon region.

H. What do you love about making wine in the Macedon Ranges?
AW. We love to showcase the unique character of cool-climate wines, delivering structure and flavour through gentle spring/summer vine growth and long, slow ripening. It is a region that rewards patience. We have been able to explore traditional cool climate varieties such as chardonnay and riesling, but also cool climate expressions of classics such as cabernet and nebbiolo. And if that is not enough to get us excited, it is a great region for the creation of sparkling wine. The excitement of releasing the cork on a bottle of sparkling that has demanded patience from its traditional process adds sparkle to living and working in the Macedon Ranges. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
AW. Our guest facilities have undergone major renovations to provide a contemporary but casual cafe dining and cellar door experience. The addition of our Artspace within the cafe has provided the opportunity for emerging and established artists to showcase their work. The Ridge Café offers a contemporary, seasonal menu designed to complement our fine table wines. Come relax and enjoy the magnificent views over Blackhill Reserve with your family and friends on our sunny deck in summer or inside around by our cosy woodfire in winter. 

Local favourite spot: Our property is bounded by Blackhill Reserve. Its walking trails offer great views across the Macedon Ranges to Bendigo, Heathcote, Castlemaine and beyond. There is abundant wildlife to discover along with the 360-million-year-old granite boulders of its unique geology. 

Wine to try

Kyneton Ridge bottleshot

2023 Skipping Rabbit Pinot Noir

Estate grown and hand picked, its nose is currants, blackberries and spice. A soft, crunchy and fresh wine with hints of raspberries, glazed cherries and blood orange structured with refined acid and soft tannins. 

Best enjoyed: A fresh wine best served in the mid teens but can also take a chill in summer. Pair with antipasto, paella, cheese or chocolate.

RRP $32 | Drink to 2031 | Kyneton Ridge | Shop this wine

Lyons Will Estate

Lyons Will vineyard

Winemaker Ollie Rapson says: Macedon is a pretty special place; the hot days and cold nights make for wines of interest, wines with a sense of place. It's also what makes it a unique wine region, being the last GI to pick. The vineyard is where the heart is – we take special care in hand manicuring every aspect, from pruning, to undervine and canopy management through to picking. In the winery we see ourselves as the ushers of any given season, providing the best representation of that year’s growth through our wines, without the need of additives or modifications.

H. What do you love about making wine in the Macedon Ranges?
OR. The seasons are stunning and at times quite wild; its this ability of our environment to be so changeable that allows for nature to really leave an indelible mark on each vintage. I love looking back at some of our wines with a lot of enthusiasm as every vintage tells its own story and makes us reminisce on moments associated with it.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
OR. Perched on the side of the Cobaw State Forest, our cellar door is set up to celebrate not only all the vineyards around it but also a stunning elevated view across the Lancefield valleys. The vast glass building is designed to capture it all. Obviously, you’ll probably run into myself or Renata so the experience will be intimate, interesting and, most of all, relaxing and fun. Open Friday to Sunday 11am–5pm. Walk ins welcome.

Local favourite spot: Believe it or not, our property and vineyards are set around the base of an old volcanic eruption. At the top of this rocky basalt outcrop you feel like you are on top of the world. It’s a great spot for a glass of wine and a moment to take in the stunning Australian landscape. Pop into the cellar door and maybe we can take you there too! 

Wine to try

Lyons Will 2023 Estate Chardonnay

2023 Lyons Will Estate Chardonnay

Lemon curd, grapefruit and apple are coupled with flintiness and white floral notes. Marzipan, sherbet, lime zest and minerality. A gentle creaminess gives way to some lovely mid-palate depth and a gentle, smooth finish.

Best enjoyed: Definitely a wine to sit down and enjoy with some delicious food. This wine is best enjoyed at room temperature. 

RRP $50 | Drink to 2039 | Lyons Will Estate | Shop this wine


Paramoor winery

Winemaker Geoff Plahn says: Since taking over from Will Fraser, who began planting in the early 2000s with some incredible pinot noir, riesling, and pinot gris clones, we have discovered the unique challenges this environment delivers on a regular basis. The soils for example, derived from sandstone and shale are predominantly low fertility shallow brown-yellow clay loams. The clay helps to keep the loam less fertile, allowing us to produce high-quality grapes and award-winning wines. The vineyard's distinctiveness stems in part from its altitude of 550m and cold air down-flowing from the surrounding ridges, fostering extreme diurnal shifts that slow grape ripening, preserve acidity, and enhance varietal purity. 

H. Can you tell us about your winery and your wines?
GP. The wine making challenges at Paramoor are due to the unpredictability and variation of weather conditions that keeps us on our toes. But probably the most exciting aspect of growing fruit here is how quickly the temperature shifts from day to night (diurnal range), which is fantastic for pinot noir in particular. The shift is helpful for retaining acidity, slowing ripening and producing wines of elegance and depth with intense perfume. Further north we lease from warmer sites within the ranges where exceptional warmer climate fruit such as shiraz, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc, and we source from Colbinabbin for cabernet and shiraz.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
GP. A meandering 600 metre drive past the pinot gris block on the left and the horse paddock on the right and into the winery and settlers' village replete with Clydesdale barn, chaff mill and settler’s cottage, far from the hustle and bustle of Three Chain Road. Current vintage wines are available for tasting inside the barn, which runs monthly woodfired pizza and music days. Cheese platters to sit in or outside are available, as are wines by the glass.  

Local favourite spot: I have always loved Mount Macedon as a region. Long before moving here I would often drive up from Melbourne to walk one of the many trails, stopping off at the iconic Newham General Store for a spot of lunch or ending the day at one of the region’s many fabulous food and wine venues like the Woodend Cellar & Bar to unwind with a local wine is always a pleasure.

Wine to try

Paramoor pinot noir

2023 Paramoor Will's Vineyard Pinot Noir

All elements of this wine are in perfect harmony. Vivid hue, accompanied by pretty aromas of rose petals and violet, red cherries and subtle hints of sandalwood, spice and a discreet touch of minerality. On the palate, it feels beautifully structured with a sumptuous combination of redcurrant, red cherry and raspberry, a hint of violet and a whisper of Moroccan spice, resulting in a long, firm and juicy taste with mouthwatering red fruited acidity and fine-grained tannins.

Best enjoyed: For me, pinot noir is best served at between 14–16 degrees in pinot noir glasses, which really do deliver those subtle pinot characters, particularly the aromatics. Otherwise, a good all-rounder like a RIEDEL magnum works well. But let's face it, it’ll still be enjoyable in a tumbler!

RRP $60 | Drink to 2030 | Paramoor | Shop this wine