They say variety is the spice of life. When it comes to drinks, we all have our favourites,

With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to try some fantastic new taste sensations. From underwater wine and beer made from grapes to some amazing gin varieties and brews, this region has it all. Read on and add some extra spice to your life this summer.

Wilimee Wines, in Goldie, have been making a unique and unusual wine by maturing their pinot noir underwater for five years. A bit like ship wreck wine but a few centuries younger. To add to the allure, the bottles look a little shipwrecked, complete with dried mud. The taste is something else, with the consistent underwater temperature and pressure adding a complexity that’s a worthy inclusion in any pirate’s treasure chest.

Nearby, at the Lost Watering Hole in Lancefield, you can sip on a new English Brown Ale that is wellbalanced and showcases its malt character. Toasted bread and caramel flavours take the lead, providing a solid foundation of sweetness. Nuttiness is also present, imparting a pleasant richness. The beer finishes with a subtle, earthy hop bitterness that provides a gentle counterpoint to the malt sweetness.

At their base in Newham, Big Tree Distillery have produced a luscious dark and rich Pinot Noir Gin in collaboration with several local Macedon Ranges
vineyards. They have used a blend of hand-selected pinot grapes sourced locally from Cleveland Winery, Hesket Estate, Lyons Will Estate, Hanging Rock Winery, Midhill Vineyard and Mount Macedon Winery. It is perfect neat, chilled over ice, or with an added splash of tonic if desired.

In Kyneton, Animus Distillery have developed a new ‘Elements’ line: Coffee Noir, Grapefruit Triple Sec and Spiced Mandarin Cello. My favourite is the Coffee Noir. We know Melbourne is notorious for its persnickety coffee enthusiasts and it’s no different in the Macedon Ranges. The Coffee Noir Element takes the Macedon Dry Gin, full of rich spice and citrus, as the foundation to amplify the intense flavours of locally-roasted coffee beans. It’s lightly sweetened to perfectly balance and elevate your espresso martinis.

Willimee Wines underwater wine uai
Willimee Wines -underwater wine

At their soon-to-open tasting room in Woodend, you can try Gindu’s new Billy Tea Gin. It combines their award-winning Australian Dry Gin with their cold brew billy tea. They have captured the essence of the classic Australian camping trip; think morning mist, campfire embers and steaming hot billy tea in a chipped white
enamel mug. Gin and black tea, blended with lush flavours of the bush – native lemongrass, scented emu bush, blue gum and white kunzea, adding floral complexity with subtle honeysuckle, eucalypt and ginger notes.

Another must-try new gin can be found at the Daylesford-based Hepburn Distillery. They have introduced a Japanese-inspired Tenrai Gin, created in collaboration with Aaron Schembri from two Hatted restaurant Kadota. This is a stunning gin with umami flavours from toasted rice and it has seaweed, wasabi and yuzu amongst other flavours. It packs a punch…in a good way.

Back to brews, Hepburn Springs Brewing Co. have developed an Italian Grape Ale. This fine ale is a collaboration beer, brewed onsite using pinot grapes supplied by Captains Creek Organic Wines in nearby Blampied. The communion of malts and pinot grapes is well balanced, and the grape characteristic radiates through in aroma, taste and ruby appearance, with a hint of slight dryness. This small batch limited release beer is characterised by floral hops and is fermented with a Belgian yeast. I’m told next up is a white grape ale.

Rounding out the new offerings is a refreshing Mango Apple Cider from Daylesford Cider. A thirst quencher on a hot day, this drink combines the tangy blend of Daylesford Cider’s heritage apple cider with the tropical taste of mango.

This is just a taster of the many innovative drinks that go with the many excellent food offerings in this region. So, do yourself a ‘flavour’, pop out for a visit and check out these new taste sensations.


Hero Image: Wilimee Wines underwater wine

Hepburn Springs Brewing Co. - Italian Grape Ale
Hepburn Springs Brewing Co, Italian Grape Ale

About the author

Paul Matthews
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Paul has more than 25 years of marketing, tourism, business and stakeholder engagement experience in both private and public sector organisations.

He worked at Visit Victoria from 2017 to 2021 as the Head of Regional Tourism and Strategy. In 2021, he started his own business, the Visitor Economy Tourism Consultancy and has been working closely with Daylesford Macedon Tourism in the area of Industry Development.

Paul’s specialist areas of interest include Visitor Engagement, Destination Planning, Industry Development, Dark Tourism and Wellness. You can find more about Paul through his website or via LinkedIn.