For most people, hearing the words 'the Pyrenees' makes their eyes glaze over and look distantly off to the left as they imagine the wonderful joys of Southern France, where it meets the Spanish border. Respond with the statement 'No, I meant the Pyrenees region of Victoria..' and their eyes revert back to the present moment and a quizzical look appears on their faces.. 'There's a Pyrenees in Australia?!' Yes, there most certainly is. Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, Scottish surveyor and explorer first came upon this land in the year 1836. He was the first European on record to have travelled through this part of Victoria finding it more temperate in climate and better watered than NSW. This section of the Great Dividing Range reminded him of the Pyrenees in France, where he had previously served in battle. The first vineyards were planted here by the Mackareth family in 1848. The winery was said to be quite substantial, however around the end of the First World War, two brothers (who maintained control of the vineyard) after a failed negotiation with Seppelt, sold the winery to a Methodist Minister in 1929 who closed the winery immediately, destroyed the cellars and uprooted the vines. What a d!ck. Following this, it was 1962 that saw the revival of the Pyrenees as a growing region, when Chateau Rémy, part of Remy Australia proposed a sites for their wine production. The original eight wineries of the 70s and 80s included: Chateau Rémy (now Blue Pyrenees Estate), Dalwhinnie Vineyard, Mount Avoca Vineyard, Mountain Creek, Summerfield Vineyards, Redbank Winery (now known as Sally's Paddock), Taltarni Vineyards and Warrenmang Vineyard. To this date, there are nearly 30 wineries scattered around the town of Avoca. Standout wines of the region include award winning Sparkling wines, many under traditional method, Shiraz and Cabernet.