The Name

A rich history born in Craigo, Scotland


The Name: Boat O'Craigo

Our winery’s distinctive name echoes that given to a family farm in the town of Craigo in Scotland where our ancestors, all agriculturalists and pioneers in the early evolution of Scotland, settled alongside the docking point for the ferry that crossed the North Esk River. The Boat O’Craigo name and tradition have drifted across seas to settle and book-end Victoria’s burgeoning Yarra Valley with two magnificent vineyards, one in Healesville and the other in Kangaroo Ground. One red, the other white.

As with the ferry’s docking-point, it is here at the gateways to the Yarra Valley that the physical journey of our travels ends, although the journey of the senses is only just beginning.

Kangaroo Ground: A Beginning

The patriarch of the Graham family, Steve Graham was originally a pioneer in the Australian road construction industry and built a successful national business which has been in operation for more than 50 years. Eager to pursue their interest in wine, Steve, alongside his wife Margaret, founded Boat O’Craigo as their passion project in the mid 1990’s. 

Their venture commenced with the purchase of a unique property at Kangaroo Ground; an extinct volcano on a bald hill and one of the highest and most picturesque sites in the Yarra Valley. In the late 1990’s, the site was carefully planted with grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier, later introducing Grenache and Gamay varietals. In 2003, we celebrated our first vintage from the Kangaroo Ground vineyard, launching our Black Cameron Shiraz. 

The Kangaroo Ground site is now a mature and flourishing vineyard with vines more than 20 years old. This vineyard has established a strong reputation for growing some of the best fruit in the Yarra Valley and is where some of our highly prized wines originate.

Healesville: An Expansion

After purchasing a second and equally unique vineyard in Healesville in 2003, with a view to growing and developing the Boat O’Craigo name and offerings, the Grahams extended their range into white varietals and established a cellar door at the original Graceburn Estate site. 

Located at the foothills of the Black Spur Ranges and bound by the Graceburn Creek, this stunning site was ideal for producing the cooler climate varietals of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. In more recent years, we have also planted more unique varieties including Gewürztraminer and Grüner Veltliner. Many of the vines on this site are now up to 30 years old and produce exceptional fruit each year, all proudly carrying the Black Spur name. 

In 2018, Boat O’Craigo was heralded by James Halliday as a 5 Star Winery and awarded Dark Horse Winery of the Year. We were also announced as the state winner of the James Halliday Cabernet Challenge in 2020.

Looking Forward...

We have enjoyed an experimental and collaborative winemaking processes for many years, working in partnership from 2010-2019 with renowned winemaker Rob Dolan.

With an aim to continue our journey of development, especially as a smaller winery, and conscientiously strive to produce premium quality, hand-crafted wines, we established a relationship with Rob Hall who took over as Head Winemaker from our 2020 vintage. Rob works out of his facility in the north hills of Pakenham, with the stunning and prized feature of an underground barrel room, enabling a lot of his work to be carried out via gravity and ensuring optimally stable storage temperatures of around 15-17 degrees all year.

We look forward with excitement and anticipation to building upon our cellar door offerings and opening our brand new restaurant and cellar door space in Healesville in mid 2024.

“We are farmers and craftsmen at our core. The vineyards are a place of great beauty and joy for me. I love the variety of my role, no two days are the same. Perhaps most of all, I love the people and characters involved in each and every stage of the process." - Trav Graham