How do you coax good flavours out of cool surroundings? That is the challenge facing most of the 600-plus producers in this eclectic region. There is no shortage of variety: the coolness of the Pyrenees generates excellent Pinot, Chardonnay and sparkling wine production, while the unique weather patterns around Rutherglen in the north-east make for world-renowned and sticky wines. Prior to the gold rush, phylloxera and financial collapses at the end of the 1880s and the resultant implosion of the Victoria wine industry, hundreds of producers had slaked the thirst of the pioneers, but by the 1980s there were only 30 wineries in the entire state. However, these days things have taken a turn for the better; Victoria has regained its highly-regarded and hard-won status as a region to rival South Australia. The game here is quality, not quantity, they'll tell you wryly, and anyone who's had a top-flight Heathcote Shiraz or a coal-black Bendigo Cabernet would nod their corked hat in benign agreement.