The Gippsland winery Melbourne loves to visit
Just two hours from the Melbourne CBD but a world away, you’ll find a Gippsland winery Melbourne loves to visit. Down an avenue of picturesque Maple trees framed by the stunning foothills of the great dividing range lies the hidden gem Narkoojee.
Narkoojee means ‘place of flowers’, it’s a place where good things bloom: award-winning wines, flavoursome food, and memorable times with family and friends.
From humble beginnings
Located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Narkoojee started life as a dairy farm owned and operated by Edna and Athelstan Friend in the early 1940s. Their son Harry planted the first experimental vines in 1980 and moved from Melbourne with his wife Val to the property in 1995.
Narkoojee had humble beginnings, with the cellar door operating out of a small weatherboard bungalow at the back of Harry and Val’s house. The grapes were taken to the old butter factory in Glengarry, which served as their first winery.
Today, there are 15 hectares of vines on site, and what was once a humble dairy farm is now a thriving winery with 5 Red Star status as rated by James Halliday and critical acclaim from wine writers and consumers around the globe.
Narkoojee remains a proud family affair, with chief winemaker Axel Friend sharing the role with his father, Harry. Together, this father-and-son team make for an unbeatable combination of talents. They share the desire to experiment with new techniques to perfect the winemaking process and give Narkoojee wines their unique characteristics.
The characteristics of the wines Narkoojee produces result from our unique micro-climate, soil profile and adaptable winemaking techniques.
Located in crisp Central Gippsland, the long and cool ripening period produces classic cool climate wines. The vines are trained to a lyre trellis system, which increases sunlight penetration and air circulation, producing optimum-quality fruit.
Our range of premium quality wines reflects both varietal and regional character. It includes chardonnay, sparkling chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, sparkling reds, rosé, and the late-harvest viognier.
Narkoojee is an award-winning enterprise with various accolades and awards, including the Michelin Trophy for a Reserve Chardonnay. James Halliday described our wine as “consistently immaculate”, with two wines previously listed in his top 100. Most recently, nine of our wines scored 90 points and above in the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion, including four gold medal awards and five silver medals. Narkoojee retained its prestigious 5 Red Star rating (a rating awarded to only 7.9% of Australia’s wineries) and also went up a notch with the stars underlined in red.
In typical family fashion, our original Narkoojee label was a black and white sketch of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo with a bunch of grapes in its mouth, sketched by Harry and Val Friend’s son and now head winemaker, Axel, back when he was at school.
Today, our label has evolved into a classic and elegant style but still features the original and ever-prevalent cockatoo – symbolising our strong family ties, sense of place, and connection to country and community on land that has been in the family for generations.