Yarra Valley wine region sits at the doorstep of Yarra River in Victoria Australia, southeast of Melbourne. It’s only fifty minutes away from the city into the area, making it an easy day trip or weekend escape.
Viticulture in Australia’s Yarra Valley dates back to 1838 with the original vines planted by the Ryrie brothers on their property known today as Chateau Yering. The industry spread rapidly through the 1860s and 1870s; however, increased demand for fortified wine saw Yarra Valley wine production cease from 1921 until replanting began in the late 1960s. Today, the area is highly regarded with over 50 wineries.
Yarra Valley has crystal clean water and a cool-climate, perfect for producing wine varietals suited to the production of high quality chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and sparkling wines.
There is a lot of agriculture in the region was well with cattle, sheep, hay and mixed farming everywhere, creating an ideal environment for not only creative and innovative wines, but also a bright culinary scene bringing imaginative chefs from around the globe.
WINERIES TO VISIT
The Oakridge Winery is an award-winning winery, restaurant and cellar that was established in 1978. David Bicknell, the Chief Winemaker, is internationally recognized, producing outstanding single-vineyard wines.
The Oakridge Kitchen is one of Australia’s hottest winery restaurants run by chef couple Matt Stone and Jo Barrett. Their seasonal menu utilizes the thriving ingredients in the Oakridge Kitchen garden, as well as wild produce foraged from around the region. Drink and dine on one of the best lunches in the region with one of the best views of the Yarra Valley to match.
Yarra Yering is a 50-year old winery that relocated to the Yarra Valley in 2014. It is run by wine maker Sarah Crowe whose background began in the Hunter Valley wine region where she studied horticulture.
Crowe brings a modern progressive winemaking style to her wines by reducing oak maturation in Cabernet blends from 100% to 49% and has won awards because of it.
There are two must-try wines here. The light dry red is a Shiraz and Pinot blend showcasing spice and red fruits. Their exceptional cabernet sauvignon is a complex and exquisite Bordeaux-style blend, known simply as Dry Red Wine No. 1, and a consistent award winner.
Re-created from an abandoned collection of century-old farm buildings nestled amongst 200 acres of vineyards, apple orchards and a vegetable garden is Meletos, a family-owned regional café and pizzeria. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, the eatery is a foodie’s delight, featuring locally sourced meats and seasonally fresh produce including homemade breads. The menu features a large selection of wines including Yeringberg Cabernet which can be found in the states. Locally sourced and seasonally fresh, the produce simply speaks for itself.
Healesville Sanctuary is an Australian wildlife environment that focuses on local conservation and indigenous culture. The Sanctuary creates natural settings for many of Australia’s fascinating fauna, allowing kids of all ages and adults to experience close encounters with many animals. The Sanctuary plays a critical role in saving some of the world’s most endangered animals, especially the koala rescue program.
Yering Gorge Cottages are on the grounds of a expansive golf course. Each accommodation is a self-contained cottage. The spacious and well-appointed cottages come with an assortment of goodies included in the stay such as cereals, chips and chocolate, teas and coffee. At dusk and through the morning, hundreds of kangaroos venture down from the hill and can be seen from the cottages.