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History of the Vineyard

Ken and Juliet It was in 1978 that Ken and Juliet Eckersley decided it was a good idea to plant a vineyard and make wines in Gippsland.

They were pioneering times and vineyards were being planted in all sorts of new locations, with Ken and Juliet inspired by the 'Great Wines of France', asking 'Why not here in Gippsland'.

The decision to plant the vineyard was made by Ken and Juliet whilst  Ken was working as a social worker and Juliet as a nurse in the Bairnsdale area (Eastern Victoria). The decision wasn't hard with both Ken and Juliet loving wine, with Ken in particular facinated by the craft of making it.

It's been a long, hard road for Nicholson River - far removed from those romantic beginnings - through droughts, floods, outrageous taxes, local indifference, dumping by large wine companies and so on, however they are still here, producing some of the most interesting wines in Victoria.

The grapes and wines from Nicholson River are distinctive due to both the vineyard location and the winemaking approach that Ken takes, with character, true varietal definition and a distinctive style the trademark of Nicholson River.

Varieties Produced

Nicholson River produces wines from a number of different varieties with much of the fruit sourced from their 20 acre vineyard. The varieties and quantities produced vary from year to year based on vintage conditions

The grape varieties planted on the Estate include:

  • Chardonnay
  • Semillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Rhine Riesling
  • Pinot Noir
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz (Syrah)


Cellar door facilities


On the Nicholson River, by the Gippsland Lakes, between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance, 300 km East of Melbourne, signposted off the Princes Hwy and the Great Alpine Way.

Opening Times:

10am to 4pm every day, but please ring in winter and non-holiday times.


Phone: (03) 5156 8241
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ordering the wines

Wines can be ordered through the Nicholson River website, with delivery throughout Australia



What makes Nicholson River unique ?

The following excerpt was taken from Ken Eckersley from Nicholson River and describes the wine making approach, and unique aspects of the Nicholson River vineyard.

"Our approach at Nicholson River Winery has been an evolving one. Originally our concept was to endeavor to make Great Wine, like the French, but over the years and after many frustrations we are happy to make the best we can, given the season

What we do well is to make food friendly, flavoursome styles - and as I have slowly realised, this is at variance with mainstream (fashionable) styles. I think Australian sweets are too sweet, whites are too dry and reds too tannic and alcoholic. Generally they are limited in their compatibility with food. We make our own styles and the best we can in that year. Different and interesting!

Our area is special in having very long ripening periods - amongst the longest in the world for Chardonnay, Syrah and others; that I think gives us such a varied flavour profile. The down side unfortunately is our vulnerability to diseases(such as  botrytis) because of our mild season. We are a high cost producer and our cropping level is very low - about a tenth of the Riverland irrigation areas. Everything is done by hand of course. "


Current Vintage Reviews

In tasting through the current release of the Nicholson River range it is clear that the wines produced by Ken, his wife Julie and son James are some of the most unique and varied wines produced in Victoria, the wines have texture, complexity and interest; focussing on structure and balance rather than opulence.

All reviews for Nicholson River wines can be found by following the below link

Nicholson River Reviews