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translation missing: en.Tumbarumba: Tumbarumba

Welcome to the New South Wales Wine Region series, where every week we feature select wine regions from the expanse of New South Wales' lush greenery and rolling hills. Subscribe to our newsletter today or view other articles in this series to learn more about the wines of the region.


Situated in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains, sandwiched between the Victorian border to the south, and the Gundagai region to the north, sits the Tumbarumba wine region. It's centred around the town of Tumbarumba, which lies about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, approximately 120kms southwest of Canberra.

The first commercial vineyards were planted in the region in the early 1980s, making Tumbarumba a relatively young region by Australian standards. However, given its unique, cool-climate terroir, it has quickly grown in popularity amongst vignerons and consumers alike. Today the region has around 300 hectares under vine, with nineteen vineyards - all family owned and operated.
Spectacular mountainous landscapes, rolling green pastures and rugged Australian bushland sitting in crisp alpine air, create the backdrop for a remarkable and unique wine region, and of the most promising emerging regions in Australia.


Tumbarumba enjoys a cool continental climate. Being an alpine region, altitude plays a big part in both the average temperatures and large diurnal range. In fact, Tumbarumba holds the title for coldest wine region in New South Wales, with temperatures similar to those of Victoria's Yarra Valley.

A major part of what contributes to Tumbarumba's cool climate is its altitude. The town of Tumbarumba itself sits at around 650m above sea level, with most of the vineyards lying between 300m and 842m above sea level. This range of altitudes offers distinct opportunities to vignerons, with both lower-lying, warmer sites and higher-seated, cooler sites at their disposal. These differing altitudes are quite similar to the Orange wine region, just a few hours drive to the north.

Due to the cooler climate of the region, frost is an ever-present viticultural threat and its presence dictates the necessity for careful site selection and management. Most vineyards are planted on slopes sufficiently steep enough to allow good air drainage, thus minimising the risk of the cold air settling and frost occurring. Aspect also plays a role, with most vineyards planted on a north to north-westerly aspect, taking advantage of the warming afternoon sun, which encourages ripening conditions.

The soils of Tumbarumba are quite varied, and differ based on altitude and proximity to the mountains. Basalt and weathered granite are present in many higher areas, with white granite and shale derived soils on the lower slopes. They are typically gritty and granular in form, well-draining, but with good water-retaining subsoils, which force the vine roots to grow deeper.


Chardonnay is the most important variety for the region, making up nearly 70% of the total annual crush. It is used to make both single variety wines, as well as blended with Pinot Noir to make wonderful cool-climate sparkling. Chardonnay wines from Tumbarumba are typically elegant and restrained with delicate flavours of citrus and stonefruit. They are usually only lightly oaked, if at all, to allow the purity of the fruit to shine through.

The next most important variety behind Chardonnay is Pinot Noir - again, made as both a single variety wine and also used for sparkling. Lighter-bodied, red fruits, and delicate spice typify Tumbarumba Pinot Noir.

Other than those two main varieties, other grapes grown and produced in this region are Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which go to make excellent cool-climate reds, as well as aromatic varieties such as Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.


CLO Wines, Nick Spencer, Courabyra Vineyard


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