Wine, food & spectacular scenery only an hour from Melbourne city! In 1838 the wine industry in Victoria began and it was the Yarra Valley who was the pioneering region. With over 70 wineries, this cool-climate region is roughly an hour south of Melbourne city, an easy day trip if you ever find yourself in Melbourne.
The itinerary is important. If you are only in the region for one day, like myself, you definitely want to maximise your time. Without starting at a ridiculous hour (actually we got to our first stop at 11am), my thirsty companions and I managed to get to 7 different wineries, including having lunch at one. If you’re looking for a decent itinerary, please feel free to follow this trail:
One Day Yarra Valley Wine Lovers Itinerary
We started out at the sparkling wine house because 3 times a day the winery conducts free guided tours of the facility (11am, 1pm and 3pm). On this tour you walk through the facility seeing everything from the huge stainless steel tanks, to oak barrels and of course the riddling room to see the bottles in action. You learn about the impressive history of the vineyard, which was established by the French Champagne house Moët & Chandon in 1986.
Once the tour concludes you find yourself in the ‘ Green Point Room’, otherly known as the tasting room. There is a tasting fee of $5 however this is fully refundable if you purchase something to take home with you.
The Green Point brasserie sits alongside the tasting room with beautiful views down the valley of the vines. It really is spectacular. We ended up having a bite to eat here and a glass of bubbly, naturally. From polenta chips with Chandon tomato and red capsicum relish to antipasto, seafood and cheese platters the brasserie is ideal for a nibble at midday. The prices, service and of course the setting are all very good. 727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream 3770
Literally 5 minutes up the road was our next stop – Oakridge. With 10 hectares of vines, this family owned estate has a friendly and approachable aura. Again this would be another great spot for lunch, surrounded by vines and the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. Make sure to try their Limited Release Riesling if you get a chance, pure happiness in a bottle! 864 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream 3770
It was the cherry blossom trees that had me captivated at this winery. Absolutely stunning! This modern winery is definitely the hip kid on the block, with its funky interior. Plus, I have to say that I had one of my favourite wines of the day here – and believe it or not it is actually French! Yep, the Rochford winemaker has shipped over some of the wines he made while in France. The wine is from Bordeaux, St-Emilion to be exact, a 2006 vintage from the Le Sanglier vineyard. Simply divine! Sadly I can’t say any of its Aussie counterparts were even in the same league as this one. 878-880 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream 3770
I’d have to say this winery was up in my top 2 favourites of the day. I love the fact that their tasting room is an old shed on the hill that looks over the valley. This shed was actually on the property from when it use to be a dairy farm. Their wines were equally as pleasing, particularly their sparkling and the service was impeccable. If I were visiting the Yarra Valley again, this would be one of my first stops. 957 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, 3775
You can’t go to the Yarra without stopping in at DB. It is one of the biggest names in the Australian wine industry and despite this fact you still get a very one-on-one experience when visiting their cellar door in the Yarra. At the cellar door you can try through the extensive list, even trying some of their most prestigious brands and doing a flight of their infamous ‘Stickies’ (including Noble One of course!) for a small fee of $5. Once you have tasted your way through the menu you can then pop into the Cheese Room next door and indulge in a tasting of cheeses. The setting is perfect to sit outside with a glass of wine in hand and a platter of cheeses and crackers. Your taste buds will definitely thank you for stopping here. 58 Pinnacle Lane, 3775
This is probably one of the youngest wineries in the Yarra, having only been established in 2002 and opening its cellar door in 2005. With only 1.7 ha under vine, a lot of their fruit comes from their sister vineyard in the Upper Yarra. The tasting menu includes everything from a sparkling to Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sangiovese blend and Cab Sauvignon. 473 Warburton Highway, Seville 3139
Perhaps not as small as the previous vineyard, however you very much get that country feel when you walk in the door at Whispering Hills. The winery and cellar door are adjoined so you can peek in and see all the action-taking place as you sip on one of their tipples. What I also thought was very quirky, is that you can “ Adopt-a-Vine”! Quite a cute gift for a wine-lover indeed! 580 Warbutron Highway, Seville 3139
All up it was a great day spent in the Yarra Valley. However I do get the feeling that all the wineries are a bit too busy trying to offer everything under the sun (accommodation, restaurant food, local art, events, etc) when they should be putting more of that effort back into the wines.