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Wineries of River Country - St Anne's Winery

Written by guest bloggers - The Vibe Tribe

No trip to River Country would be complete without tasting the superb range of wines that St Anne’s Vineyard produces; and given that we insist on including a visit to St Anne’s Winery in Moama every time we are in the region, we consider ourselves experts on their business and wines. And yet, every new visit we are pleasantly surprised to rediscover again and again just how great St Anne’s is.

The first time we visited Moama back in 2018, we were gratefully offered a private wine tasting alongside the banks of the mighty Murray River. As we were cosily nestled around a fire pit at Tindarra Resort, relaxing after a busy day of exploring; Trent - the chief winemaker of St Anne’s organised a selection of their wines and spoilt us with a charcuterie board to accompany each delicious drop.

Trent set about educating us about the winery – St Anne's is family owned and operated, established by the McLean family in 1972. Currently owned by Richard and Anne McLean, Trent joined the team around eleven years ago, and brings a youthful yet experienced winemaking outlook to the operation. Whilst learning about the history of the business, and their unique wine making practices, we tucked into their signature range of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Vintage Brut, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat.

Pinot Gris was our majority favourite due to its easy drinkability, although the bold Cabernet Sauvignon came a very close second and would absolutely be our drop of choice in the colder months. There was a bottle to suit every palate, and to wind down the day enjoying their wine in the company of the lovely and super knowledgeable Trent, was a one of a kind experience.

The second time we visited in 2019, we were given a tour of their vineyard and cellar door in the heart of Moama. Trent met us again (he’s basically part of the tribe now) and explained the intricacies of the production process while taking us around their property – we even nabbed a stunning view over the rows and rows of bursting buds of their new wine vintage, from the best vantage point – standing right on top of their massive wine tanks!

After the tour, we settled in the sunshine on the lawn in front of their cellar door cafe… more wine was consumed, more food was enjoyed and before we knew it, hours had passed – it’s so easy to waste away a lovely, lazy afternoon here… from every person we met around the business, it is so evident that all the staff at St Anne’s believe the direct customer experience is just as important as the taste of the wine itself.

Having just returned from our third, and certainly not last, visit to the winery, we were impressed with how well St Anne’s coped during the Covid lockdowns, pivoting to focusing on home deliveries, and creating new products to entice new interest and customers. Their latest offering is a gorgeous hamper, filled with their signature wine and accompanying delicacies from other local producers, available for home delivery. On this trip, we met with the owner, Richard, and in his soft-spoken way, he explained how important it was to not just care about your own business in times of crisis, but to also do all you can to help other local businesses going through the same hardship. Community, over competition. It’s this ethos that has stood out the most during our most recent visit to River Country, and one that St Anne’s lives by.

One of the highlights of this particular visit was sampling what Richard called ‘the youngest wine you will ever taste’ - poured directly from the wine tank, having only just become drinkable, we tasted what will become their next year’s vintage. That was certainly a unique experience you couldn’t find anywhere else, and not just for us either - booking a private or group tour of their winery is available to everyone and can be arranged by directly speaking to the venue.

St Anne’s is certainly a formidable presence in town… they have their cellar door and café venue in Moama, a beautiful bottle shop right in the centre of the historic Echuca Port and they are regulars on the local food and wine festival scene. If that wasn’t enough, St Anne’s are also the proud owners of Echuca Coffee Roasters and Echuca Chocolate Company. With wine, coffee and chocolate – what else could you possibly need?!

As busy as they are with all of their businesses, they still commit to reducing their carbon footprint and ensure they operate sustainably. They have adopted Organic Cultivation Practices – which, in part, is a very formal way of saying they allow cute sheep to roam free in specific vineyard blocks, to reduce the weeds and the need for chemical sprays. They have an effective Water Conservation program and an on-site water recycling plant that recycles 100% of the waste water generated by the winery and bottling plant. This respect for the environment is super important these days, and it is definitely something we think about when selecting which wineries to visit, and purchase from.

Whether your favourite wine is a crisp Savvy B, or an intense Heathcote Shiraz, or even a smooth Liqueur Muscat, St Anne’s have it covered – some of these wines are award winning, and you can taste the quality in every bottle. It is always a gorgeous experience when we visit Moama, and we highly recommend you pop the stunning St Anne’s Vineyard onto your itinerary next time you are in River Country.

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