Fowles Wine, in the Strathbogie Ranges in central Victoria, is run by husband and wife team Matt and Luise Fowles. The vineyards used by the winery were planted in 1968 by the Plunkett family, who ran a successful business on the site before selling it to the Fowles family in 2011. The vineyards total 145ha of mature vines, planted with varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling, as well as small plots of arneis, pinot gris, sangiovese and mourvèdre. The Strathbogie Ranges region has a diverse climate, with an altitude ranging from 144m to 1044m, making the lower parts suitable for growing red grapes, and the hills more for the whites; it also means that pinot noir (which prefers cooler areas) can be grown alongside cabernet and shiraz, which generally like warmer climes. Winemaking duties are performed by Victor Nash, who has worked in Coonawarra and Hunter Valley, and is inspired by the French varietals grown in Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley. The barrel hall at Fowles has space for 1,000 barrels, including some that 140 years old.
Fowles produce a dizzying array of wines under eight different labels. Their most distinctive and quirky of these is ‘Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch’, a selection of mid-priced chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and shiraz with wine labels designed by Luise Fowles. Budget labels include ‘Are You Game?’, with a selection of whites and reds, as well as ‘Farm to Table’ and ‘Stone Dwellers.’ Premium wines come under the labels ‘The Rule’ and ‘The Exception’, with the 2004 ‘The Exception’ shiraz having won numerous awards over its lifetime. Fowles also produce a handful of fortified and dessert wines, as well as two sparklings made from vermentino and pinot noir, and a sparkling rosé.
Fowles Wines can be explored on their website.