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Open 10:00 to 4:00 weekdays.
10:00 to 5:00 on weekends.
Other times by arrangement.
Phone: 0409568241 and 0435146081
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Open 10:00 to 4:00 weekdays.
10:00 to 5:00 on weekends.
Other times by arrangement.
Phone: 0409568241 and 0435146081
Shopping Cart - $0.00

No products in the cart.

How to Eat Wine (OR Become a Wine Connoisseur in 5 minutes)

Eating wine” isn’t for everyone. For some it will be so obvious that it is irrelevant. For others, their assumptions about wine will be challenged. Others again will have their confusion cleared. Fortunately, there is a simple test that will help decide this, and answer the eternal question: “Is it me or is it the wine?” Read More

The 2011 Vintage Sparkling has landed

We are proud to present the 2011 Vintage Sparkling, grown and made here in Nicholson, East Gippsland, using the traditional ‘hands-on’, ‘Méthode Champenoise’. This time we have raised our output to 60 dozen bottles.

There are many ways to make ‘Sparkling Wine’, from soda injection methods & upward. But the Ultimate Sparkling Wine is without doubt, ‘Vintage Champagne’. This style has been made famous by those in the eponymous region of France, and known partly for the presence of bubbles, but mostly for the rich, creamy and toasty flavours held within the bottle. Bubbles are still important, though not for appearance, as many assume. The best quality bubbles are small, and stem from the secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives a soft mousse texture of soft mousse on the tongue. The ageing on yeast for many years gives the characteristic, delicious flavours. Incidentally, in Champagne they prefer to drink out of white wine glasses and not flutes! (ie. They appreciate flavour over bubbles.)

The rules for making authentic Vintage Champagne wine are quite strict. The wine must be at least 85% from grapes grown in the same year. Importantly, the wine must then be left on lees (with the yeast, in the bottle) for a minimum of 5 years, before disgorging (the process of removing the dead yeast cells.) Then, the wine is left to rest for at least another 9 months.

Ken has been making sparkling wine for over 10 years, honing and perfecting the craft with each passing vintage. As with our other wines, Ken wondered whether it was possible to make Classic Wines here in the Gippsland Lakes region. The answer has been a resounding ‘Yes’, but with a cool-climate Australian twist – Flavour Intensity.

On Pricing – given the age, the low volumes we make, the amount of work involved and the quality, one would expect to pay upwards of $70 a bottle for this Vintage Sparkling. Contrary to marketers suggestions (Did you know that the more expensive a Sparkling is, the more demand increases?) we prefer to keep our wine prices at a level that is accessible to everyday Australians. This is a new style for most Australians, different from what people are used to. We’d love to see this style become more widely known and appreciated.

To purchase this special wine, go to our online shop.

Gold for the 2014 NR Chardonnay!

The British Wine Sommeliers Association have announced the results of their annual tasting of International wines. These are the wines they are recommending to Britain’s top restaurants. Around 100 sommeliers participated on the judging panels with Australian Chardonnays dominating the New World producers, receiving 5 Gold, 7 Silver, 3 Bronze and 8 commendations. (www.sommelierwineawards.com)

The Judges comments on this result included, “interesting to see how Chardonnay styles are evolving. You can still say it’s ‘Australian Chardonnay’, but they are elegant, classy……these wines are genuine alternatives to good Burgundy……

Different to what restaurants expected of this category 20 years ago”.

The Australian Golds went to 2 Tasmanian, 2 Western Australian and I Victorian wines.

Comments about the Nicholson River included, “A unanimous choice for our tasting panel, and ‘a wine of a different level, with great oak use and freshness of fruit, golden apple, pineapple and vanilla notes’, according to team leader Laurent Richet MS, with Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson noting ‘lemon peel, wax and honey, an old school feel with toast and cream, depth of flavour and generosity’. Agustin Trapero of Avenue found ‘complex ripe mango and mandarins, with white chocolate notes and yoghurt texture’. ‘Huge depth and intensity, such a lovely mouthfiller, fab wine,’ concluded Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.”

Nicholson River Winery in East Gippsland was established in 1978 has been long known for its Chardonnays and was voted nine times “Victoria’s most popular White Wine” in the 90’s.

Ken Eckersley, the owner/winemaker, said “its always nice to be appreciated for all the hard work that goes into making quality wine. This was a great result for a small winery in a relatively unknown wine region and opens the door into the exclusive restaurant trade in Britain. I’m always telling people that Gippsland produce is World Class. We do rely on outsiders to remind us.

This represents a turn-around for the British, who have seen Australian wine as cheap and inelegant.”

Our distinctive label

People often ask us about our unique label, so we’ve created a page that outlines the why and the how of the Nicholson River Winery label.

Read more here.

Feast East Gippsland

160 people were here in April to ‘Feast East Gippsland’. 2 breweries, 2 wineries and 4 restaurants – all local – showed what fantastic produce East Gippsland is capable of. This is the kind of event we have wanted for a very long time – celebrating local produce, and food and wine together! It was a wonderful night, that all involved can be proud of.

The wineries were us, and Lightfoots. The breweries involved were the Bullant Brewery (Bruthen), and Sailor’s Grave Brewing (Orbost).

(Photos by Scott Kingman.)

Here is MC Cam Smith, of Triple R, congratulating the team of chefs who pulled off a fantastic feast.


Some of the guests enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine.


The menu for the evening. (Click to zoom in.)


A view of the event from across the paddock.


Vintage 2016

Vintage 2016

Interesting and challenging are the words that come to mind when thinking of vintage 2016…
Spring was wet, with periods of heat and cold. This resulted in good growth, and flowering spread out over a long period. Rain fell on 16 days in January, and 18 in March. Thankfully February was dry, and we held the botrytis and mildews at bay.
We began picking quite early – mid February. Then, the weather cooled, ripening halted, and we finished picking quite late. It was one of the most protracted vintages we’ve ever had – 8 weeks. (In contrast to the rest of Victoria, where the season was hot and dry.) We picked 26 tonnes of fruit – our largest since 2010. This is a very small production – under 20% of Australian wineries are at this level. Typically we only produce between 80 & 150 dozen of each wine that you see on our wine list.

Our ‘Top Picks’ for 2016
The Pinot Noir looks interesting – it came in early and is quite dark.
The Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend will be impressive.
The Chardonnay will be complex and interesting, with an alcohol level of around 12.5%.

Ken with his 6 year old grandson Toby, closely watching the Pinot Noir grapes come down the chute and into the crusher.

Toby and Ken V2

Events, Other News & Musings…

 There’s been a lot happening at the cellar door over the warm months. Nick Reefman played every month, building up a solid following of local music and wine lovers. The wood-fired pizzas were a big hit, too. And, we now have another oven to cook in. It’s made of mud! Or rather, cob – a mixture of clay, sand and straw (see picture). It was built over a few days, coinciding with the 4th annual (f)routeville – a festival of local art, food and culture. This year saw a ‘medieval marketplace’ made of fabric with local artisans plying their wares, workshops, talks, performances and faeries. We’re proud to be involved in such a wonderful creative community.

Mud Mob Oven

Some of the crew that made a cob oven at the winery during the (f)routeville weekend. An old water tank was added to keep the rain off.
Bread and pizzas have been delicious!

(f)routeville 2016

It’s on, for the fourth year in a row! This extravaganza of local, handmade and bespoke family fun is sure to be an event not-to-be-missed!!

For full details, and bookings, please visit www.frouteville.com


Niq Reefman @ NRW

The illustrious local talent, Niq Reefman returns to Nicholson River Winery to regale us with his fun and poignant tunes this Sunday the 3rd of January from 1 to 4. Free entry. Platters, soft drinks, beer and gourmet pizzas will be available.
Niq was hugely entertaining for the 80 or so who came on the Melbourne Cup weekend. Let us help you ease into the New Year with an antipasto or cheese platter, gourmet pizza, a bottle of wine – accompanied by a side-serving of jazz-folk fusion.
Classically trained, Niq brings many instruments together to create his unique blend of folk, jazz, classical, funk and cabaret.
Ever heard songs about clag-paste, caravans, or coconuts?
Green-thumbed, multi-instrumentalist – Niq Reefman was born into the gentlemen’s world of ABC radio, but his music was warped through a classical rebellion, evolving into the blossoming new breed: “folk-jazz-fusion”…Lyrics with courage and music with character, exploring a rainbow of subjects mostly uncovered by contemporary music in a dynamic range of styles and instruments (like uilleann pipes)
He’s toured the world with orchestras, composed music for ensembles and run musical soirees most of his life. His motto “Try almost anything at least once” applies to instruments, composition, and food…especially cheese! (A cheese fondue before bed makes for an adventurous dream-trip)

What is a “Food and Wine Culture”?

Second Feast on East Direct Dinner

“Rudder and Fin” restaurant in Lakes Entrance on 21/11/15

Address by Ken Eckersley of Nicholson River Winery

It is something we often talk about at FOED and aspire to, but what is it really? Aren’t we doing that now just by eating local food?

I think the answer is No. It’s much more. Read More

Feast on East Direct Dinner, Little Alice’s Restaurant in Bairnsdale on 24/10/15, Address by Ken Eckersley of Nicholson River Winery

I hope you noticed that you were given a white wine glass of Sparkling Wine and not a flute! In the Champagne region flutes are regarded as suitable for cheap bubbly as they accentuate the bubbles, but quality Champagne has flavour, and this is brought out best by a white wine glass. Champagne is perceived there as a superior white wine rather than glorified soda water.

To-night we will be tasting seven local wines and some beers with the various courses. The wines are a sampling only of perhaps forty available at cellar doors for you to try in this area. Do check them out.

First, the differences between beer and wine. Read More

Melody Moon @ Nicholson River Winery

Nicholson River Winery is opening up it’s lovely outdoor eating area, hosting music afternoons on every first Sunday of the month. Last month local musican Niq Reefman wowed the crowd of over 100 with his whimsical tunes about nature and life. For the second live music performance of the season, they are proud to present the wonderful songstress, Melody Moon.
Entry is FREE. NRW will be providing all your food and beverage needs (please no BYO). As well as the usual gourmet cheese and antipasto platters, there will be pizzas prepared and cooked to perfection in front of your very eyes!

Melody is being described as a fresh breeze on the Australian contemporary music scene. Her unique style of moving audiences with her uplifting stage presence and outlook on life is matched with her honest and engaging vocals. Her songs combine story and personal affirmation, bringing soaring sounds reminiscent of old folk songs with a fresh indie punch. She tours regularly playing at festivals and music venues around the country, and appearing live on ABC and community radio. Melody has been compared to Sarah Blasko and Julia Stone, but “I reckon she’s better” – Sophie Longden, ABC radio NSW. A real treat to catch!

For more on Melody check out: www.melodymoon.com.au.

Come and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon with Ken, Juliet and James in their beautiful garden, with captivating music and fine wine.

A Theory on the Balance between Flavour and Mouthfeel in Wine

The side of the truck said – “Feel the taste of Munchies”.

This is quite right, and it could also have said “Smell the taste of Munchies”, because taste, whether food or wine, has these two sensory aspects.

This will come as a surprise to most people, although on reflection it will appear obvious.

Even wine professionals use the word “palate” for taste and mistakenly interpret that to mean only its mouthfeel, whilst contrariwise foodies have a habit of regarding anything that goes into the mouth as having “flavour”. Each is half right.
Read More

How to Enjoy Wine

Wine was regarded in Ancient Greece as a gift from the Gods, one of life’s great pleasures. The exciting world of wine can be opened to you too, if you know a few of the basics.Firstly, wine is a beverage that is mainly water, with 12 – 15% alcohol (which is sweet), food acid, red tannins (which are bitter) and many flavour compounds in micro amounts; as you would expect from a fermented fruit juice.

Secondly, it is important to know how your eating system works. Read More

Wine Style and Wine Quality

It seems to me that wine style and wine quality are often confused, not only in the minds of wine consumers but more importantly in those of wine judges. The added complication is that ‘style’ is related to ‘fashion’.

When Brian Croser became president of the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia and also Chief Judge of the Adelaide Wine Show during the 1990’s, he commented that ‘exhibits are increasingly cloned to meet…style preferences of the judges’. He went on to state that ‘the broad objective…should be to create the opportunity of a greater diversity of style representation’ for the wine entries in the shows.

Now, many years later, Read More

A Course in How to Enjoy the New Modern Wines

In recent years much has been happening to wine in Australia. There are new varieties and new grape growing areas, such as in Southern and Eastern Victoria. They are often different from mainstream Australian styles and have features and qualities that can be easily missed. In brief, this Course is about a shift from mouthfeel (traditional) to the new aroma/flavour-based wines mixed with some sensible consumer information.

The following is a list of exercises that will enable the reader to make the transition and benefit more from their wine experience.

Read More

Welcome to our new website!!

After two years with the old site, we’ve decided to move with the times and use a new platform which works well on mobile phones and simplifies the purchasing process.
Like our wines, it should be multi-layered and elegant! Let us know what you think, and of course if you have any problems don’t hesitate to contact us on (03) 5156 8241.

Thanks to our web-master, Maurice Burns, for setting it up. We think he’s done a great job! Find more of his work at http://mbworks.info/


Ken, Juliet & James

Wine & Food

Food is meant to sustain us – “what we eat today walks and talks tomorrow”, and, as a bonus, can be a pleasurable sensory experience. Our body evolved so that the need to eat was hardwired into the senses, and in particular, the sense of smell, that specialist function of mammals. The front portion of the brain that computes smell also looks after pleasure, emotions and their memories, which is why the scent of, for example, lavender or freshly mown grass, can transport us back to childhood or an event, to relive that moment. Of our various senses, it seems that smell is the only one that does not necessarily deteriorate with age, thus confirming its importance. In contrast, our palate, where we taste, slowly declines. Small children are fussy eaters because they are more sensitive than adults to bitterness and acids. They tend to be more attuned to sweetness to fuel their active lives. Read More

Vintage 2013 update

Well we’ve picked all the whites, and they’re looking really good! One of the best crops we’ve ever had, actually. Small amounts, but great flavours – and as you know we’re all about quality over quantity! (We average 1 tonne to the acre, while your typical irrigation district vines will crop at 10-15t/a.)

We had 50ml of rain in the middle of it, but it hasn’t had much effect – which shows how dry it has been! The top Chardonnay did end up a little sweeter than we would have liked, but we will be able to blend it with some picked earlier to bring the alcohol down to around 13.4%, similar to previous years. And the flavours are delightful! It’s so good to have some good news after the last two years!

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