A NEW North East winery nestled on the banks of the Ovens River is raising the profile of native fauna.
Bundalong-based Squires Winery now offers six wine varietals for tasting, with stylish labels featuring native birds.
Squires Winery owners Paul and Bern Squires used Chiltern artist Lisa Bishop's designs; a galah, kookaburra, regent honeyeater and blue wren were among them.
"All of the birds featured on the labels can be found on the property," Mr Squires said.
"Not only are we just focused on wine but we're part of the broader cultural community."
Having bought the property with a vineyard and olive grove almost 20 years ago, Mr Squires said a cellar door was not on the radar until recently.
He said he gained a Victorian government Wine Growth Fund grant two years ago.
"We were about to start building a cellar door and COVID hit," he said.
"We put our plans on hold and then started building in September.
"We used Bundalong and Yarrawonga tradespeople and bought materials locally wherever we could."
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Mrs Squires said they opened the cellar door to the public over summer.
She said platters were available for wine tastings on the deck or in bean bags on the lawn adjoining 500 metres of river frontage.
"We also offer functions and corporate catering and have some weddings booked already," she said.
Former Buller Wines winemaker Andrew Briedis joined the Squires Winery team in December.
Mr Briedis said the upcoming vintage looked more than promising.
"We've had excellent conditions this year; we've had good rain, warm days and cool evenings," he said.
"Shiraz, durif and cabernet sauvignon are grown here and the white grapes are grown elsewhere."
Cellar door manager Emily Marklew came on board recently.
Squires Winery, located at 6900 Murray Valley Highway, Esmond, can also be accessed by boat, jet ski, pontoon boat, fishing boat or canoe.
Squires Winery cellar door operates Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
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