The vines of Bendigo are set amongst the gently rolling hills, creeks and rocky granite crests of the central Victorian ranges. Bendig has enjoyed an enduring reputation for robust, intensely flavoured red wines since the early gold rush years. Shiraz makes the region’s signature wine in a rich and muscular style with spicy sandalwood tones. Cabernet sauvignon is deep and inky with minty notes. Other reds include pinot noir, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, mataro, sangiovese and touriga. The principle white wine is made from chardonnay. Other whites include full flavoured, aromatic styles of sauvignon blanc, riesling, semillon, viognier and traminer. The region’s main townships include Bendigo, Inglewood, Castlemain, Maldon and Dunolly. Entrepreneurial vignerons established the first vines in Bendigo to cater to prospectors flocking to the gold rush in 1856. The lust for gold or gold fever was a powerful drawcard, luring tens of thousands of diggers to the region in search of magical golden nuggets. Modern commercial viticulture was instituted in the 1970s and vineyards now span over 1,000 ha. Bendigo contains the unofficial sub regions of Granite Slopes, Loddon Valley and Golden Waters. The Loddon, Avoca and Campaspe rivers flow through the district. Bendigo enjoys the Mediterranean climate of an inland region. Summers are warm and dry, while Winters are mild and wet. Temperatures are slightly cooler in the higher foothills. Soils consist predominantly of brown sandy/clay loams, red and yellow duplex and sandy granitic gravels on higher ground. The Bendigo gold rush of the 1850s and 60s left an historic legacy that lives on in the place, people and wines of the region. The open air museum of Sovereign Hill captures a great moment in time.