The Grampians, Victoria – Henry Best, for whom Best’s Great Western is named, planted his first vines in the regino as far back as 1867. A few decades later, the Scotsman William Thomson bought property and planted vines at Rhymney to the south, adding the original Best’s vineyards to his holdings in 1920 upon Henry Best’s death. The Thomson family continue to own and operate Best’s Great Western today, making it one of the few historic Australian wineries to remain non-corporatized.
Best’s original plantings included 48,000 vines and many exist today, pre-phylloxera and on their original rootstock. Soils range from hard setting silt over clay to friable clay loams. In general the soils and vineyards are low yielding and retain moisture very well, essential in a region with limited rainfall. The altitude of the Grampians region results in lower than average temperatures than that of the Central Victorian wine regions to the east. The climate of the region is Mediterranean with breezes from the Southern Ocean providing a cooling influence during summer. The region is especially well suited to later ripening red varieties, particularly Shiraz.