Review: Yarra Valley food and wine tours from Melbourne offer a top combination
Victoria's renowned Yarra Valley wine region is home to a huge number of cellar doors, and plenty of gourmet food experiences to tempt you along the way. You'll experience many of the top options on this deluxe Yarra Valley food and wine tour from Melbourne. Review: Louise Reynolds
Yarra Valley food and wine tours from Melbourne with Vinetrekker
These fabulous full day Yarra Valley food and wine tours from Melbourne will show you the very best of the valley, pairing gourmet treats with great wines in a stunning setting. Enjoy the relaxed pace and expert knowledge of your guide, as you visit Coldstream Hills, Medhurst, Domaine Chandon, Yering Station and De Bortoli. Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
Whether you’re a wine expert, an enthusiast — or you lie somewhere in between — Victoria’s Yarra Valley is a must-visit destination.
The valley’s crisp winter temperatures make it an ideal place to grow cool climate wines. It’s famous for Pinot noir and Chardonnay, while Cabernet, Sauvignon and Shiraz varieties are also produced. Located just over an hour from the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, the valley is home to around 90 wineries — with dozens of cellar doors open to the public. With so much choice, even the savviest of wine buffs needs help negotiating the options. Enter Vinetrekker.
Today I’m joining ten guests and a very knowledgeable guide named Stephen (who has been leading wine tours for some 15 years) on one of Vinetrekker’s Yarra Valley food and wine tours from Melbourne. These tours showcase the wide variety of Yarra Valley wines and how to pair them with food. The tour takes in five wineries, from small to large and old to new.
We soon reach our first stop at Coldstream Hills. This winery was established by renowned wine critic and commentator James Halliday in the 1980s. It’s now in the hands of chief winemaker Andrew Fleming.
‘Don’t feel obliged to try everything…’, says our host Keith, lining up wine glasses on the counter. ‘…and it’s okay to pour it out’. While it seems positively sinful to waste good wine, I soon see what he means. We’re invited to taste around a dozen wines, beginning with an award-winning sparkling and ending with a new Pinot noir. With four more wineries to visit, a sensible tasting strategy is going to be needed.
I decide on a ‘sip and tip’ technique. No glass will be drained, no matter how amazing its contents. Well, perhaps I’ll put the plan into practice at our next stop.
We arrive at boutique winery Medhurst in perfect time for morning tea. We’re served some delicious homemade bread and dips to accompany the wine tasting. This small family run winery was first planted in 2000, making it one of the valley’s youngest. Just 15 hectares of the property are under vine, with Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz fruit. The emphasis here is on quality, with wines deliberately produced in small quantities.
Next up is Domaine Chandon. Billed as Australia’s only winery with true French heritage, it was founded in 1986 as the Australian arm of French giant Möet & Chandon. Stephen helps us navigate the winery’s self-guided tour to see how its famous sparkling wines are made. We’re invited to enjoy a flute of our choice from four options as a pre-lunch aperitif. The crisp Chandon Rosé is a perfect palate cleanser. So much for that ‘no glass shall be drained’ rule. Just this once.
Lunch at Yering Station’s restaurant is a highlight of the day. Yering is the valley’s most historic winery. The first vineyard was planted here in 1838. I enjoy barramundi with zucchini roulade, washed down with a glass of sweet Riesling (OK, so just twice I’ll break the ‘no glass shall be drained’ rule).
I could happily sit here all day taking in the panoramic views of the vineyard and valley, but there’s more wine to taste. We’re treated to some of Yering’s top-of-the-range reserves, and a cold-pressed Riesling.
Shiraz grapes can be seen ripening on the vine as we approach our last stop — De Bortoli — a true powerhouse of Australian wine-making. The De Bortoli family has been producing wine in Australia for three generations. All up, De Bortoli produces a staggering four million dozen bottles a year, including 1.2 million bottles in the Yarra Valley. This is by far the region’s largest wine operation.
Our final tasting here is the famous Noble One, a bottle of which former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented to the Pope. A wine fit for the papal palate is indeed a fitting end to our amazing day.
With lunch and wine at Yering Station, sparkling at Chandon and all other tasting fees included, these Yarra Valley food and wine tours from Melbourne offer good value for money. Pleasant company, friendly and attentive service, and a great cross-section of Yarra Valley wineries make this tour a must-do.
Louise Reynolds made up her mind at the age of about four that she would one day travel the world, and has so far visited more than 30 countries across five continents and the Pacific. A hopeless Francophile, she has a particular love of visiting France. Louise’s favourite way to see the world is on foot and she has walked famous trails in Europe, South America and New Zealand. Louise also has a passion for exploring her home state of Victoria.