By Elisha Donkin
September 20, 2020 | 5 minute read
The Yarra Valley is one of Victoria’s great wine regions, with over 160 wineries ranging from small boutique family affairs to popular world-renowned brands. Most famous for its chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, it can be hard to know where to start if you're planning a visit (if you can) or looking to buy something delicious online. Here are seven wineries not to miss.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Boat O’Craigo is a small family-owned winery based in Healesville and Kangaroo Ground. They have over 50 acres of vines across the two properties, with the cellar door being based at the Healesville vineyard. The winery started from humble beginnings by Margaret and Steve Graham in the 90s and is still family-owned and run with the help of expert regional winemakers.
It’s not a winery that you’ll find on the popular Yarra Valley tour routes, making it the perfect spot for a quiet lazy weekend tasting. It has a wonderful view of the foothills of the Black Spur Road, and you might even be lucky to spot some kangaroos bouncing between the vines. There’s also an onsite kitchen with charcuterie boards and wood fired pizzas available from Friday to Sunday.
Location: 458 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
The founders of Pimpernel, Mark and Fiona Horrigan, are real artisan winemakers who have a passion for old viticultural practices, inspired by the great wine regions of France.
They are one of the few dry-grown or non-irrigated vineyards in the region with each vine being monitored and tendered by hand. They produce some of the best pinot in the Yarra Valley, with a concentration on low yields but intense flavours.
Their cellar door is open for tastings from Thursday to Sunday with staff guiding visitors through their latest wines. It may be a small winery surrounded by more well-known brands, but for a personal and intimate experience this is a top choice.
Location: 6 Hill Road, Coldstream
Not far from Pimpernel, you’ll find this hidden gem of a winery that is starting to make a name for itself. Soumah is a small-scale vineyard in the Warramate foothills of Gruyere. It specialises in wine varieties that are typical of Northern Italy and South Eastern France, with chardonnay and pinot noir being their most celebrated.
The cellar door is also home to their Italian restaurant, Trattoria d’Soumah, which is open for lunch 7 days a week. Here you can enjoy a tasting followed by a delicious lunch overlooking the surrounding Warramate hills.
Location: 18 Hexham Road, Gruyere
For another boutique winery experience, Medhurst is a family-owned vineyard near the Warramate Nature Reserve in Gruyere. It was founded with the long-term vision and passion of Ross and Robyn Wilson, who began planting on the property 20 years ago. With just 15 hectares, they produce an outstanding range of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
The cellar door is perched on the edge of a hill with a glass front enabling you to gaze out over the vines as your taste their latest varieties. On weekends, you can also stay for lunch with a set 2 course menu designed to complement their range of wine.
Location: 24 – 26 Medhurst Road, Gruyere
If you want a more intimate winery experience, Yileena Park is a great choice. It’s a family owned vineyard and cellar door located on the slopes of Yarra Glen. The winery was established in 1998 and comprises of 13 acres dedicated to pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
A visit here is a real foodie delight with their own smoke house onsite using old French Oak Barrels to cold smoke a range of products such as cheese, meats, olive oil and salt. The vineyard is open daily for perfectly paired smoked plates and wine tastings.
Location: 271 Steels Creek Rd, Yarra Glen
Located along the Maroondah Highway in Coldstream, Oakridge sits amongst some of the biggest names in Victoria’s wine industry. It’s a family owned winery and restaurant established in 1978, with an outstanding reputation for quality wine and excellent dining experiences.
You’ll find big names at Oakridge. World-renowned artisan winemaker, David Bicknell, guides the traditional winemaking techniques of minimal intervention. While at the winery’s award winning restaurant, you have head chefs, Matt Stone and Jo Barrett. They design the seasonal menu which offers some of the valley’s most exquisite food experiences. You can never really go wrong with a stop at Oakridge.
Location: 864 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Yering Station Winery
If you want the classic Yarra Valley experience, then Yering Station is the ultimate winery stop on any road trip. It’s one of the oldest wineries in Victoria, having been founded in 1838 by the Ryrie brothers.
The cellar door and restaurant complex housed inside the original winery building offers an unforgettable experience. Wine tastings at Yering are like taking a journey through the history of the valley, while the restaurant is a high-class experience with locally sourced produce.
Location: 38 Melba Hwy, Yarra Glen
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