I love going away for my birthday, even if it is just for a night. Funnily enough, it tends to always involve some sort of wine adventure! Are you surprised?
Our family friends in Melbourne introduced us to the Toms Cap Sparkling wine from Gippsland a few years ago. So naturally, we have been wanting to visit the vineyard since we moved to Gippsland a year ago. As they have cottages on the vineyard, we were waiting for a special occasion to make a weekend of it. So last month we finally did it to celebrate my 30-ish birthday.
We decided to book in for a late lunch (2pm) at the restaurant followed by a night in one of the cottages. Our plan was to do a cellar door tasting prior to lunch, have a long, lazy, wine-filled lunch and then go back to the cottage for more wine, snacks, spa, and board games. That’s my kind of night!!
To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about Toms Cap except for what our friends had told us. Mostly I just knew that Jarrod Woodgate – from The Bachelorette with Sophie Monk – family owns and operates Toms Cap.
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How we got there:
From where we are, it’s only about an hour drive, 10-15 minutes of that is on a gravel road however it’s worth the trip as the vineyard and location is very stunning. A piece of paradise in the middle of nowhere as I find tends to be the case with wineries in Gippsland!
From Melbourne, it’s around a 2.5-hour drive. It’s an extremely popular spot with the restaurant being mostly full on the day we were there and booked out the next day! I understand why now…
The Cellar Door & Wines
When we arrived, we went straight to the cellar door. Our plan-of-attack was to try through the range so we knew what to order with our lunch and for cottage drinks later on.
The cellar door is full of quirky wine-related art (as is the restaurant next door). The cellar door was unmanned when we arrived, therefore we headed next door to the restaurant to ask about a tasting. The lovely staff at the restaurant explained that we could go through a tasting at our table in the restaurant, which was lovely.
We decided to sit outside on the patio, overlooking the vines as we tasted through the range. Bottle prices range from $34-36 and there was a range of sparklings, white, rose and red.
The rose bubbles immediately intrigued me as it was listed as a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling which is rather unique.
Right from the word go, the customer service was impeccable. Super friendly, professional and they have their timing for bringing out food and drinks down to a tee.
Once we had made our way through the list we decided to order the Riesling to go with our lunch – it went down superbly on the 37-degree day!
The Restaurant – Woody’s
I have to admit, I had a hard choice deciding what to order off the Toms Cap menu, it all sounded so good! Plus it was after 2pm so I was famished.
We had ordered while we were still working our way through the cellar door tasting list, so we were both hoping the food wouldn’t come out till we were finished. Which is why we commend them very highly on all their service timings. Shortly after we got our bottle of Riesling, the entree came and then there was the perfect amount of time between mains and dessert too.
We decided to share an entree of:
- Baked Provolone cheese, sliced and baked with tangy sweet tomatoes, thyme, garlic, green salad, crusty bread for $18
It went down extremely well, especially with the crispness of the Riesling that really cut through that creamy baked cheese.
Next, up for mains, we went for:
- Local rock flathead, light tempura batter, fries and fresh garden greens aka “Fish and Chips” for $37
- Lamb backstrap, coated in housemate dukkah, pan seared, oven finished served with a warm salad of pearl couscous, almonds, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate, baby spinach and goats cheese with a sticky beetroot drizzle for $39
The fish was absolutely delightful and that lamb backstrap was perfection. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the pearl couscous salad so scrumptious. It’s one killer dish! By this stage, we were both rather full but knew that the quality of the food was second to none so we just HAD to get a dessert.
We decided to go for the dessert platter for 2 for $28. Up in the top left of the plate is a champagne jelly – which was a delight and I also loved the chocolate mousse and creme brulee which had that lovely ‘crack’ to it. Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed them all!
Plus how cute was this little surprise!! Not to mention it was insanely delicious.
There’s no doubt we’ll head back to Toms Cap for another meal, between the service and quality of food – it’s a must-do while in Gippsland.
Once we had finished our meal and were ready to ‘roll’ to our cottage, we headed up to the counter to sort our bill. Again we were extremely impressed that they already had linked our lunch booking to our cottage stay and put everything on the ‘tab’. So we grabbed a couple of chilled bottles, our cottage keys and headed up the drive to our little vineyard retreat.
The property is 100 acres with 7 acres under vine. It feels like you’re literally in the middle of no-where. Country serenity at its best! The views are breathtaking with the forests of the Strezlecki Ranges surrounding you and Tarra Bulga national park. It’s a 100% chill out and relax zone.
There are two 2-bedroom cottages, a one bedroom cottage, and the Beaumont Lodge.
We opted to stay in the ‘The Nest’, which is the one-bedroom cottage with an outdoor spa pool. It was lovely! The cottages are fully self-contained. You have everything from a BBQ to an oven to cook with. Plus there are board games, and a TV and sound system for entertainment. It’s the perfect little spot for a getaway for 2.
When it cooled down a bit, we hopped in the spa, but it was still a bit hot. I’d love to head back in winter to have a nice hot spa and get the log fire going properly.
Instead, we opted for some snacks and a few rounds of Scrabble in the aircon.
One of my favourite spaces in the cottage was the little patio area pictured below. We had sunset drinks out there as well as breakfast the next morning.
With the cottage, you have a later checkout (12pm) which is fantastic. Plus also included in the room price ($280) is a ‘breakfast basket’. This included fresh bread, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, homemade jam, butter and fresh berries – sooo good! We got the Weber BBQ up and running in the morning to cook our brekkie. There was also fresh juice and coffee & tea to accompany it.
All up we had a fabulous stay, I think between lunch, wine and accommodation it was around the $500 mark. I also had a voucher to use at Toms Cap for my birthday which came in handy. Thank you Mum & Dad xx. We’ll definitely be going back!