Cuisine Wine

Desert Heart

Right at the end of Felton Rd is one of Bannockburn’s gems, the Desert Heart cellar door.

The tasting room is located in what was once a woolshed belonging to the Mt Difficulty high-country sheep station. The original wooden floor and an air of rusticity remain, as does Mt Difficulty itself of course, looming up over the western side of the property. The building is entirely surrounded by vines.

Desert Heart is the realised dream of Jane Gill and Denny Downie, who produced the first wines from the property in 2003. The label name is a rearrangement of the description the 19th-century gold miners had for the settlement of Bannockburn – Heart of the Desert.

Winemaker Francis Hutt produces pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and a fragrant riesling. The pinot rosé is a perfect summer quaffer.

Our picks From the very first vintages, Desert Heart’s pinots stood out. The Mackenzies Run Pinot Noir, in particular, is a fine expression.

Plus The western end of the old woolshed has been converted into a very comfortable two-bedroom, self-contained apartment, available for stays all year round.