Boasting over 600 wineries, Victoria has more wine producers than anywhere else in Australia and ranks third in overall wine production. Viticulture has existed in Victoria since the 19th century and experienced a high point in the 1890s when the region produced more than half of all wine produced in Australia. The phylloxera epidemic that swept through Europe soon found itself in southern Australia, which took a toll on the Victoria wine industry. The region didn’t fully recover from the destruction until the 1950s.
Vineyards were first planted in the state of Victoria around 1851 and by the 1870s, this was Australia's largest wine-producing area. The region experiences warm summers with cool evenings and light rainfall in springtime. However, vineyards located in the Ovens valley closer to Mt Buffalo receive higher levels of rainfall and cooler temperatures.
Most of the wine industry was originally settled in the cooler southern coastal regions around Melbourne. However, at the turn of the 20th century, the focus began to move to the warmer northeastern zone around the Rutherglen area. Rutherglen is known for its full-bodied red wines made from Shiraz and Durif as well as its sweet, fortified wines like Muscat and Topaque.