You have free articles remaining this month.
Subscribe now for 50c a week. Subscribe


Judging the cellar doors of Gippsland is a difficult task, not only because of their number and the size of the region, but also because of the increase in quality offerings over the past decade, even the past few years. Last year was particularly difficult, as many were still recovering from the catastrophic bushfires when the pandemic struck. This has led to some adopting creative ways to deal with adversity – white pinot noir; Covid-safe tastings – while remaining focused on offering something for everyone in Gippsland.
Brendan Black

Harry and Axel Friend of Narkoojee by Sarah Long of Longshot Images.


Star Cellar Door & Best Food

(03) 5192 4257

Situated in an area of Gippsland not exactly known for fine wine or dining, Narkoojee is an oasis for the senses. The father-son team of Harry and Axel Friend are a passionate duo and while their original cellar door was a modest affair, the current facilities are polished and spacious, with a restaurant serving delectable lunches and dinners. As for the wines themselves, they are outstanding. The Valerie range, incorporating chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz, is sourced from exceptional fruit in the vineyard, resulting in sumptuous wines that reward many years of cellaring. While the Reserve and Premium ranges are at a lower price point, they are also wines of immense quality and flavour. Wineries like Narkoojee remind you that Gippsland should be on everyone’s radar. BRENDAN  BLACK

OUTSTANDING WINE: 2019 Narkoojee Valerie Chardonnay, A$68

Cannibal Creek Vineyard
Best Large Cellar Door

(03) 5942 8380

The Wine Farm
Best Small Cellar Door

0417 336 734

Lightfoot & Sons Wines
Best Tasting Experience

(03) 5156 9205

Ensay Winery

(03) 5157 3203