by Chris Burns, Hop To It Tours
Since mid 19th century the Yarra Valley has been famous as the location to visit when wanting culinary delights at just a short drive from Melbourne. Located an hour to the east of the Melbourne CBD, a visit to the Yarra Valley region will allow to to try great wine, cheese, chocolate and more.
The Yarra Valley is an area that is just that, a valley near the Yarra river, providing a cool climate that is perfect for most common variety red grapes such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot plus the white varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. With over 70 wineries to choose from, one day in the Yarra Valley will obviously not be enough but it will give you time to check out some of the better established wineries and get a taste for the region.
This article will give you a suggested itinerary for your day in the Yarra Valley, looking at not just the wineries to visit but also the other cool options such as breweries, distilleries or chocolateries.
Located in Coldstream, Domaine Chandon is the prefect start to our day in the Yarra Valley as they are one of the first wineries in the region and open their tasting room at 10.30am. Specialising in the sparkling wines that made the French Champagne house Moet & Chandon famous, Domaine Chandon has still added its own style taking in the Yarra Valley climate. Tastings here cost $12 (with $6 refundable upon purchase) and they also invite patrons to take part in a self guided tour of the premises which is free of charge.
Just 5 minutes further up the Maroondah Highway is Oakridge Wines. Sitting on a beautiful backdrop of their 10 hectares of vines, Oakridge is a great place for a tasting or an early lunch with Jo Barrett and Matt Stone (their executive chefs) being regulars on Masterchef Australia. The Chardonnay here is especially delicious and what’s better is tastings are free for the basic range.
Another 5 minutes up the road is Rochford, famous for its ‘Day on the Green’ concerts, bringing in some of the most famous artists in the world. As another fun option they also provide segway tours at the back of their property. All the wines here are excellent and the restaurant here is famous for its woodier pizzas meaning it is another excellent stop for lunch, especially if looking for a midrange cost but yummy food!
Known as the centre of the Yarra Valley Healesville is a great place to stop for lunch if you want options. A good size town, Healesville still gives you that quaint country feel you’re looking for when wanting to find nice, homely food. Whether it is a bakery, cafe, restaurant or anything in between, the town of Healesville will provide you with that option.
Located in the heart of Healesville if you’re looking for a lunch spot at a winery and haven’t eaten already then this stop is for you. Having a menu that is designed for sharing, Innocent Bystander is a great place if you have a group of you and want a great, casual dining experience. What’s even better – their wines are pretty awesome too!
Winner of numerous local and international awards, Four Pillars Gin Distillery is the ultimate craft distillery option. Experimenting with wine varieties such as shiraz, Four Pillars offer both tasting paddles to try and also a masterclass if you’d like to dabble your hand at gin making.
By now you’re probably needing a break from drinking so why don’t we start the journey back to Melbourne by hooking past Yarra Glen and the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. The chocolate and ice cream here has become so famous that they’ve opened up in the Mornington Peninsula and Great Ocean Road too and have a plethora of chocolate and ice cream to try nd buy including using a lot of local flavours.
Now that we’ve had a break from drinking why not try one last winery! Yering station is on the way home from the chocolaterie and a beautiful winery to do one final tasting. With a Scarlett Pinot Noir winning 99 points on the james Halliday scale and also two 96 point wines in Chardonnay and Rose, this is a winery that isn’t to be missed.
There are stacks more options you could do to modify your one day Yarra Valley wine tour. Coldstream has some excellent breweries, Yarra Valley Dairy offers excellent cheese and of course there are many, many wineries that we have left out. So why not look at getting a group together and book your own Yarra Valley private wine tour. We, at Hop To It Tours, offer just that, you can see more by clicking our link above.
Hope to take you around the Yarra Valley one day – happy drinking!