Narkoojee, originally a dairy farm owned by the Friend family, is near the old gold-mining town of Walhalla and looks out over the Strzelecki Ranges. The wines are produced from the estate vineyards, with chardonnay accounting for half the total. Former lecturer in civil engineering and extremely successful amateur winemaker, Harry Friend, changed horses in 1994 to take joint control of the vineyard and winery with son Axel, and they haven’t missed a beat since; their skills show through in all the wines. Exports to China. -JAMES HALLIDAY
Narkoojee, meaning “place of flowers”, was a dairy farm owned and operated by Edna and Athelstan Friend, since the early 1940s. Their son Harry planted the first experimental vines back in 1980 and with his wife Val, moved to the property from Melbourne in 1995.
Narkoojee had very humble beginnings with the Cellar Door operating out of a small weatherboard bungalow at the back of Harry and Val Friend’s house. The grapes were taken to the old butter factory in Glengarry, which served as their first winery.
The first trial vines (1/4 acre) were planted on the property in 1980 and since then several varieties have been planted on 25 acres. Chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet, shiraz, merlot and viognier all grow well in this location.
Today Narkoojee has a state-of-the-art winery that was officially opened on 10 December 2004 by the Hon. John Brumby MP, then Treasurer of Victoria and Minister for State and Regional Development.
Today the winery enjoys a five star status as rated by James Halliday.