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There are not many people who realise that vines were successfully, and widely, grown in and around Geelong 150 years ago.  In fact during the latter half of the 19th century there were some 500 or so hectares of vines grown throughout the broader Geelong region.  However, the devastating root louse phylloxera struck savagely, and long before the 19th century was done, all vineyards were eradicated.geelong-vines.jpg

Vineyards began re-appearing nearly a century later, and slowly continued being planted throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  Today there are nearly 100 wineries producing wine, albeit in tiny quantities for the most part.  Approximately two-thirds of the region's production is red wine - Pinot Noir and Shiraz predominantly - although there are significant amounts of white wine produced as well, including the ubiquitous Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The region generally has low rainfall, and can be drought-prone.  Proximity to both Port Phillip Bay and Bass Straight results in a maritime influence on the wines, and the soils are an interesting combination (depending on site) of ancient calcium-rich seabeds, volcanic soils, and sandy clay loams.

The wines tend to be richer rather than finer expressions of their varieties, but as always, this tends to be a big generalisation.  And whilst it's fair to say that the vast majority of the region's producers are making merely average or acceptable wines, there are a handful of exceptional makers and inspirational wines.

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