Fowles Wines: home to Australia's quirkiest wine label, Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch
RACV members enjoy a 15 per cent discount on Fowles Wines
By Kerry Scambler
With their cellar door and café in an enviable location in the Strathbogie Ranges just off the Hume Freeway, it is not the weary and thirsty road warriors who make up most of Fowles Wines custom.
Rather, Fowles Wines has become a destination in itself with many repeat customers introducing the welcoming cellar door and café to friends and relatives.
Fowles Wines: a short history
In the 1970s Alan Plunkett was one of the first to see the potential of the Strathbogie Ranges as a wine-producing region and planted the first trial vineyards amongst the granite rich landscape, with Shiraz and Riesling proving outstanding - something which still holds true today.
Over four decades on, this foresight has been well rewarded with a string of prestigious awards and a region growing in reputation for outstanding quality cool climate wines.
In 2005 the Plunkett family formed a partnership with the Fowles family, with Matt Fowles stepping up to the role of Chief Executive and leading the development of Ladies who Shoot their Lunch – the world’s first wine blended to match wild game meat. Ladies who Shoot their Lunch 2008 Shiraz went on to win the prestigious trophy for ‘Australia’s Best Shiraz’ in September 2010, making it the first Victorian winery to win this accolade.
In 2012 the Fowles family purchased the remaining interest in the winery from Alan Plunkett and the winery evolved from Plunkett Fowles to Fowles Wine. Victor Nash, a Young Winemaker of the Year finalist, and a talent with ten years experience crafting Fowles Wine stepped up to the role of Chief Winemaker.
Recently awarded the ‘Chairman of Judges Perpetual Trophy Wine of Outstanding Quality – Personal Selection’ at the 2013 Sydney International Wine Show and ‘Best Winery’ in 2012 by the Victorian Tourism Awards, this winery keeps going from strength to strength.
What will I find here?
At cellar door you’ll find an impressive 29 wines on tastings across three quite different brands:
- the too easily quaffable 490m range: a nod to the altitude of the vineyards
- the elegant Stone Dwellers range: wines crafted to showcase the best varietal examples from the Strathbogie Ranges each year
- the eye-catching Are you Game?: with labels depicting game animals, these wines invite adventurous matching with food
- the Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch range: possibly one of the best wine labels around and as it suggests, designed to match with game dishes (shot by yourself or otherwise).
If the budget allows, The Exception Reserve Shiraz offers discerning customers something quite special.
In the café kitchen, chef Adele Aitken has an enviable task of developing the menu based around the rich local produce of the region. Much is sourced from the Fowles family farm, Killeen, the cellar door kitchen garden and the best local produce
Locals too know Adele is always happy to accept their bonus produce and will often turn up at the back door laden with rhubarb, asparagus, eggs and other seasonal bounty.
Over the warmer months Fowles Wine host a number of events including live music, theatre performances and food and wine events at both the cellar door and the beautiful heritage listed venue of Killeen Stables.
Fowles Wine also hosts an annual Queens Birthday Shed Sale at their cellar door to celebrate winter and the start of the ski season in Victoria. With a sausage sizzle, this is the perfect event for picking up bargains to enjoy over the public holiday.
Throughout the year Fowles Wines hosts and attends a number of food and wine events across Victoria and Australia so it’s best to check the winery’s website for all dates and details as such events tend to sell out fast.
What should I ask to try?
- Ensure you taste the riesling and shiraz. For aficionados (and those just keen for a quality drop), these fine regional wines provide a real sense of place.
- The light and bubble 490m frizzante or the vibrant, juicy 490m shiraz dolce may be just the thing for those who enjoy their wine a touch on the sweet side.
- With an irresistible name and label to match, the Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch range is a must.
- Book lunch in the café and try a Wine Flight, three wines matched with three generous tastes from the menu.
Cnr Hume Fwy and Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel
Ph 03 5796 2150
An hour from the Melbourne ring road, Fowles Wines is an easy drive from Melbourne up the Hume Freeway. Just past the Avenel turn off, you will find it on your left hand side as you head north.
The café and cellar door are open 9am to 5pm daily. We advise booking for lunch during busy periods.
RACV Members: Show Your Card and Save
- Goulburn Valley (VIC)
- Strathbogie Ranges (VIC)
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