Just Down The Lane
The urban winery movement arrived with a bang in Central Victoria with the June opening of Musk Lane – but first you have to find it.
Tucked down a no-name laneway in central Kyneton (the owners are in the process of having it officially anointed Turners Lane, after the Turner Bros Hardware yard that used to inhabit the site) this working winery, cellar door, wine bar, beer garden and neighbourhood hangout shows that you don’t have to leave the comforts of town for a taste of terroir.
“It’s a little bit of a treasure hunt to find us,” says Brendan Lane, former assistant winemaker at acclaimed vineyard Passing Clouds who has taken the plunge to back his own Musk Lane label full-time. “There’s a real sense of discovery when you get here.”
What you’ll find is the embodiment of a cool country aesthetic. All corrugated iron and reclaimed timber, the haute-shed cellar door and bar is warmed by a blazing pot belly stove and opens onto the backyard beer garden, where a lush lawn is the perfect place for children (and dogs) to play while their parents do tastings.
Another shed houses barrels full of fermenting Musk Lane grapes, sourced from growers
up to an hour’s drive from Kyneton (which enables Lane to tap into the Bendigo, Macedon Ranges and Heathcote wine regions). It’s a broad church, featuring varietals such as fiano, syrah, sangiovese, nero d’avola, pinot gris and nebbiolo (“Everyone is used to the Macedon Ranges doing chardonnay and pinot noir, so I don’t do those,” says Lane).
He’s a member of the low-intervention school of winemaking, which means wild yeast ferments and minimal sulphites, and his wines are all vegan to boot. But non-wine nerds simply need to know that Lane isn’t in the habit of shoving wine-speak down his customers’ throats. “I don’t need to give people a big spiel unless they want it. A lot of people just want
a drink. I approach this as a bar, not a cellar door where people can get freaked out by a whole lot of serious wine business.”
In pursuit of Lane’s easy-going aims, he also sells beer (Sierra Nevada from California is his favourite), gin and tonic (using gin from Macedon’s Mountain Distilling Company) and other producers’ wines from near and far. “I like to buy a mixed dozen and whack it on the board so people can try, say, a cabernet franc from the Loire Valley.”
Food-wise, Musk Lane is all about community. People can feel free to bring their own food from home or nearby restaurants. “Rather than get a license to do food I thought, I’m in the middle of town, so let’s share the love. We’re 40 metres from the pizza shop and the Chinese restaurant. If you phone up Donkey Fried Chicken for an order, they’ll probably drop it down to you in person.”
Heading into the warmer months, Lane hopes to open longer hours as well as bring in food trucks. “It’s going to be a beautiful spot when it heats up a bit. The festoon lighting makes it look like a Spiegeltent at night. Let’s see where the evolution takes us.”
Musk Lane Wine
1 Turners Lane, Kyneton
0415 890 850
Open Saturday & Sunday noon-4pm