Budburst into Spring!
Story by Richard Cornish
Photography by richard cornish and kim selby
It is one of the best food and wine festivals in regional Victoria and it’s happening around here, the Daylesford Macedon Ranges region. Over 30 wineries from across the area will be opening their cellar doors, unveiling their new releases, cooking up special dishes and putting on exclusive dinners. It’s called Budburst and it’s on from Saturday November 18 to Sunday November 19 with a few special events thrown into the mix.
The festival kicks off with a special Sunbury Wine Club Budburst dinner held at Club Sunbury on November 7 when the respective winemakers of Lyons Will,
Midhill Estate, Parkside Estate and Zig Zag Wines get together to riff on why they make the wines they do, where they are. With a two-course meal plus two wines each from each of the wineries, tickets start at just $52.
Down in Piper St Kyneton, in the newly re-opened The Parkland (formerly Mr Carsisi), Matt and Clare Fegan will be showcasing six of the best regional wines on the evening of November 17. Wineries include Mount Towrong, Curly Flat, Hunter-Gatherer and Lanes End. Start with bubbles then move on to a leisurely tasting of various wines from the
different wineries on the verandah looking out over the park and St Pauls Church. After that it's time to tuck into a spread inside the newly renovated restaurant.
The Saturday and Sunday winery events are a perfect way to explore the effects different climates and terroir have across this truly diverse wine region. It covers the volcanic soils of the vineyards that grow on the side of extinct volcano cones such as Passing Clouds at Musk to the high altitude, cool climate wines grown in the tough granitic soils at Granite Hills in the Cobaw Ranges (see page 14).
The Macedon Ranges is known for its sparkling wines such as those produced by Hanging Rock Winery. For the Budburst weekend, this award-winning winery will also be showcasing their cool climate red wines such as their superb Pinot Noir as well as the beef from their farm. Another winery making sparkling wine is Rowanston On The Track. ‘The Track’ refers to Burke and Wills Track, the road that follows the way of the ill-fated explorers. Rowanston is best known for their prize winning Riesling, spicy Shiraz and Sparkling Blanc de Noir.
The cellar door is surrounded by several hectares of shaded gardens and you’re welcome to have lunch under the trees made by local boutique butcher The Meat Room.
Another great example of what Budburst has to offer is at Cobaw Ridge. This is a truly beautiful winery found on a ridge at the end of winding dirt road, surrounded on two sides by the Cobaw Forest looking out onto the hills of Central Victoria. During Budburst expect pizza fresh cooked in the wood fired oven by Kyneton eatery Colenso. Playing under the old box gums will be The Yugotone Ensemble with their hypnotic folk rhythms.
Bring this all together are separate bus services that depart from Woodend, Kyneton and Mt Macedon in the morning and return at 5pm. The Kyneton bus service on Saturday 18, for example, departs the Kyneton train station at 10.15am then heads to Hanging Rock Winery, Lyons Will Estate then up to Granite Hill before returning to the Kyneton Train Station at 5pm via Kyneton Ridge Estate.
But if you prefer to stay put during the day, head toward Spa Country to the historical town of Trentham. The majestic old Cosmopolitan Hotel will be playing host to five local wineries under the shade of the massive trees in the Cosmo gardens: Atheletes of Wine, Passing Clouds, Patrick's Vineyard, Shadowfax and Silent Way. Held on both Saturday and Sunday, with regional food and live music playing from noon.