Learning from the Radiographer

As I lay waiting for my scan to commence, the radiographer wished to establish who I was and where I came from.  Inevitably, the question asked of me was what do I do and I said wine.  I am a director of Narkoojee Wines.  The radiographer nodded knowingly and with a smile said, I know of Narkoojee, I grew up in Traralgon.

He then commented on the general excellence of our wines, but in particular, his enjoyment of our shiraz styles.   You could have knocked me over with a feather as cool climate shiraz of the elegant style we produce is fighting what appears to be a state versus state battle for the hearts and palates of confirmed shiraz lovers .  ‘I love your chardonnay and pinot noir but it is your shiraz that I enjoy most.  The cool, elegant almost Rhone-like flavours and elements that reflect your site produce shiraz (or syrah) that is most refreshing in style and palate’.   Not the answer I expected, but on reflection it is exactly the reason I enjoy Axel, our winemaker’s shiraz styles.

Narkoojee is proud to be part of a revolution in Australian wine making, which has added a fine new design to the rich tapestry of Australian shiraz. With the climate warming and carbon dioxide levels rising, grape varieties previously deemed too late-ripening for cold climates are not only ripening in cool regions, but often with spectacular results. Shiraz in southerly climes such as ours is a refined alternative to traditional Australian styles. There’s some good news in climate change.

Our current release cool climate shiraz comes in three levels. At the premium level is the great value and stylish Francis Road Shiraz (2017). Next is our elegant Isaac Reserve Shiraz (2015), which will reward further cellaring. Finally, at the pinnacle of the group is our much vaunted Valerie Shiraz (2016 – Halliday rated 95 points) that has a winning combination of texture, flavour and length.

I believe these wines speak for themselves and encourage you to embrace our latest Spectacular Shiraz Case Offers*.

Ken John
Narkoojee Director


* The three options to access this offer are: ‘Shiraz Pack 1’, ‘Shiraz Pack 2’ and ‘Shiraz Pack 3’. Each pack includes varied combinations of the wines highlighted above.

Offer valid until Sunday 16th June 2019

Winter Luncheon at Red Emperor



We are delighted that our host Raymond Cheung has created a wonderful five course banquet for our first Narkoojee Winter Celebration at the Red Emperor Restaurant in Southbank.

For many years we have celebrated our latest wine releases and magnificent fare twice every New Year in January.

We hope you will love the winter version of this Narkoojee event where we will take pleasure in launching our 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir.

Bookings essential.

  • When: Saturday 22nd June 2019 at 12pm
  • Where: Red Emperor Restaurant, Level 2 (Mid Level), Southgate, Melbourne
  • Value: $85 per person (all inclusive)
  • Bookings: Phone Jo or Brad at winery 03 5192 4257

More information and payment options

Intimate MCO Concert & lunch at Narkoojee


We are delighted to be welcoming a quintet of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra’s musicians to Gippsland to perform an intimate concert in our winemaking space at Narkoojee.  Enjoy a performance of Brahms’ opulent second string quintet followed by a delicious lunch in the barrel room prepared by our ‘by Jorg’ restaurant. You will also be treated to a glass of Sparkling wine on arrival and matching wines to accompany your lunch. This is sure to be a wonderful afternoon to experience and enjoy magnificent music, food and wines.

Inclusive of:
– Sparkling wine on arrival
– Initimate concert performance, Brahms String Quintet No 2 in G Op 111
– Opportunity to chat with the musicians over lunch
– Matching wines will be served with lunch in the barrel room

Bookings essential.

  • Date: Sunday 25 August 2019
  • Time: 11.30am – Sparkling wine on arrival. 12.00pm – Concert performance
  • Venue: Narkoojee winery, 220 Francis Road, Glengarry
  • Value: $142 per person (all inclusive)
  • Bookings: Phone Jo or Brad at the winery 03 5192 4257 or email wines@narkoojee.com

Old favourites return, briefly

Harry Friend, in a reflective moment, recently advised that merlot can be a trifle capricious. He felt that in the manner of a true European grape variety, merlot tends to produce great wines every three years or so.  We obtained very little merlot from the 2016 vintage and did not make any wine from this variety. By contrast, vintage 2017 is one of outstanding quality for merlot, and for other varieties as well.  This has allowed Axel Friend, our winemaker, to create two splendid versions, The Athelstan Merlot (named for his grandfather who was the first generation Friend at Narkoojee) and the Four Generations Merlot, reflecting the continuing heritage of the Friend family at Narkoojee.

In late October I had the honour to represent Narkoojee at the Annual Gala Dinner of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, of which Narkoojee is a proud sponsor. Held in the Sofitel on Collins, the food was excellent, the music was wonderful and the wines, provided by Narkoojee, were very well received. The highlight among the wines undoubtedly was the 2017 Athelstan Merlot, many guests commented on its quality, with the words ‘stylish’ and ‘elegant’ being widely used.

I believe that this is a very fine wine. If you have enjoyed our Narkoojee merlots in the past, or would like to get to know them, I suggest that you order quickly. The 2017 merlots have only been released for a month but already one quarter of our stock has gone.

As many of you know, Narkoojee makes small quantities of fine pinot noir. Three years ago we undertook a new planting at Glengarry to augment our supplies, but wines from this planting are still some way off. The 2017 vintage was small but of very high quality. The 2016 Premium Pinot sold out some months ago, but the 2017 version of this wine is wonderful and is now available. With small quantities and high demand it might be all gone by Christmas. So get in now!

Ken John

Introducing the 2016 “The Harry” Shiraz


Regular Narkoojee followers would be aware of the pivotal role played by Harry and Val Friend in the establishment and development of the Narkoojee wine business. It was Harry’s father Athelstan, a dairy farmer, who in the 1940s purchased the property named “Narkoojee” a local Koorie term meaning “place of flowers”. It won’t surprise you to learn that as a young man Harry developed a great interest in wine and the first experimental planting of vines was undertaken in 1980. The results were very encouraging and following his father’s death Harry acquired the property from his siblings, gave up his career as an Engineer and with his wife Val committed to establishing a commercial wine business.

The capital required necessitated the establishment of a corporate structure with a limited number of shareholders all sharing the vision. The first commercial planting was of 5 acres in 1990 and this has grown to the point today of Narkoojee having 33 acres under vine. Along the way a state of the art winery was built and more recently a restaurant. Harry was of course the founding winemaker and from the outset Narkoojee has not compromised in its commitment to produce wine targeted at the quality end of the very competitive wine market. Thanks to Harry, and more recently his son Axel who is now the chief winemaker, this commitment has been realised in abundance as reflected in trophies and medals from wine shows and wine writers’ accolades, including the prestigious 5 red star rating by James Halliday, the doyen of Australian wine commentators. It has been the company’s practice to name selected wines after Harry and Val’s grandchildren – Lily Grace, Harriett, Isaac and Max and more recently to honour Val by naming our three superior wines the Valerie range. To date Harry has resisted having a wine bear his name but he has now been overridden. The catalyst was the superb 2016 vintage of shiraz and Axel’s determination to set aside the best 2 barrels and make a wine in honour of his father. The wine has been fermented by wild yeasts indigenous to the vineyard and matured in 100% new oak barriques. The richer and more flavoursome characteristics arising from the warmer 2016 season have facilitated the integration of the new oak. A beautiful wine named the 2016 “The Harry” Shiraz.

A special label has been prepared with each bottle individually numbered, a presentation box option is being finalised which will also make this a wonderful gift idea. The cellar door price is $160 per bottle, a price reflecting the very limited stock of a rare and outstanding wine worthy of the name “The Harry”.

Halliday 2019 – A Valerie Year


The always anticipated Halliday Wine Companion results were released on Thursday 2nd August 2018. Once again, the quality of Narkoojee’s wines was fully recognised, in particular, the exceptional quality of our cool climate shiraz and our continued status as a five red star winery.

A very sage commentator described our Halliday 2019 review as ‘A Valerie Year’ for Narkoojee and we couldn’t agree more. A great recognition for one of our founders, Valerie Friend. Further, this reflects the outstanding scores achieved for our 2015 Valerie Shiraz, 2016 Valerie Shiraz and 2016 Valerie Pinot Noir.

We also offer the 2016 Maxwell Reserve Cabernet that has been very well received by Halliday. Continuing the family theme, this wine is named for Valerie’s grandson Maxwell Friend.

A major difficulty is that we only have 20 cases left of this much vaunted 2015 Valerie Shiraz. We encourage you to secure your order before stocks are fully depleted.

Spectacular Shiraz – Special Case Offer

Narkoojee shiraz special case offer

Our development of some exceptional cool climate shiraz wines is still a too well-kept secret, which was evident in a recent blind tasting attended by one of our Directors, Ken John. I draw your attention to his comments in the article “A tale of two wines”. Accordingly, we have created this ‘limited opportunity’ case offer to allow wine-lovers to share in this shiraz secret.

Case offer includes:

2016 Francis Road Shiraz – 6 bottles

2015 Isaac Reserve Shiraz – 4 bottles

2015 Valerie Shiraz – 2 bottles


SAVE 22%

$395 per case

Offer only valid until 30th June 2018

I recommend that you try these wines – you won’t be disappointed.

Harry Friend
Managing Director

A tale of two wines


Preference and subjectivity are the hallmarks of all sensible wine chat.  To that end I recently attended a surprise blind tasting of two red wines.  Naturally, opinion around the table varied regarding which wine each taster preferred, in terms of a comparison of styles and pricing.

Firstly, a rich almost lushly fruited wine with a level of sophistication that indicated a provenance of high quality with an apparent cool climate origin.  My only wish was that the wine was a touch longer on the palate.  Nevertheless, a wine of substance to be appreciated and enjoyed.The second wine was more moderately fruitful, of mid-weight and beautifully balanced.  It certainly displayed appropriate fruit and fine tannins, and to my mind was a wine of great harmony that would be even more attractive with food.

So; decisions and preferences were announced. All agreed that both were very fine wines, but final choices differed. I personally enjoyed the style and balance of the second wine which, among other things, I think I described as ‘sexy’.

Then the labels were revealed, to much surprise. The first wine was the 2016 vintage of a greatly admired Victorian label, certainly amongst the most revered expressions of shiraz in Australia.  The second was our current 2016 Narkoojee Francis Road Shiraz selling for about a third of the price of the first wine.

I am delighted that our Narkoojee premium level wine stood up so well against an icon of the industry. Narkoojee has two levels of shiraz above the Francis Road; the Isaac Reserve Shiraz and at the elite level the Valerie Shiraz, both of which are superb, cool climate styles, representing bargains at their price.

The wines included in this offer have not yet been reviewed by James Halliday because of the lag, but they are all from very good vintages.  The most recent reviews for our shiraz wines are: 2013 Valerie Shiraz 96 points, the 2014 Valerie Shiraz 95 points and the 2013 Isaac Reserve Shiraz 94 points.

I believe the wines speak for themselves and encourage you to embrace this Spectacular Shiraz Case Offer*.

Ken John
Narkoojee Director


* Case includes:

2016 Francis Road Shiraz x 6
2015 Isaac Reserve Shiraz x 4
2015 Valerie Shiraz x 2

Offer only valid until Saturday 30th June 2018

Narkoojee Newsletter – Winter 2018

Our latest newsletter includes:

  • A summary of our ‘New release wines’
  • Season 2018 – ‘Yet another excellent year’
  • A fabulous selection of ‘Wine Packs’  – only available while stocks last
  • Our Restaurant’s Winter Trading Hours

Click here to view

If we have your home and/or postal address details on our mailing list, we trust that you will receive your copy in the first week of June 2018.

Happy reading.

New at our Cellar Door

Brad King has recently joined us here at our Cellar Door in Glengarry. He’s extremely passionate about all aspects of wine, but most particularly education and guiding others along the wine tasting journey. His training has taken him through the Burgundy region of France, the home of chardonnay and pinot noir. For those of you in the Gippsland area you may recognise Brad from his previous position as Fine Wine Manager at Dan Murphy’s.

We are delighted to welcome Brad to Narkoojee and to share with you his thoughts on three of our most popular wines below.

We are also letting you know that stocks are selling rapidly so we encourage you to get in quickly.

2017 Lily Grace Chardonnay  “I simply couldn’t make a list of Narkoojee wines without including Lily Grace Chardonnay. This wine already has a cult following and delivers flavours well above the price tag. I believe this is one of the best I have seen, it has something to offer for all palates and is great to match with food. Get some while you can”.

2016 Pinot Noir  “I adore well made pinots, it can however be hard to find great quality at an affordable price and this doesn’t disappoint. Wonderful complex and juicy bouquetrich and generous palate with terrific length. This is sure to be one of our fastest selling red wines this year”.

2016 Francis Road Shiraz  “The 2016 vintage of this magnificent shiraz makes me believe we have our next cult wine in the making. With the 2016 vintage being quite warm this is a much bigger wine than your typical cool climate Shiraz. Perfect wine to have with dinner or Friday afternoon drinks with friends”.