- Jul, 23 2017
Private Tour Phillip Island Penguins
Epicurean Day Tours have been operating the Private Penguins, Food and Wine Tour for just over a year and we still marvel at the cuteness of the “little penguin” The Phillip Island Nature Park is the only place in the world where you can see the Little Penguins in their natural environment.
Private Penguins Tour 2 + guests
The famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade is 90 minutes out of Melbourne,Victoria. You may be wondering why this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Victoria. Also what is it about these penguins that makes them and the experience so unique. Phillip Island Nature Park established in 1996 is a conservation Park with several locations around the Phillip Island region. The nature park is owned by the Victoria Government and is a self funded commercial attraction.
It is also the only place in the world where you can see the Little Penguins in their natural environment. And they are little…the smallest of all the penguins. Weighing around 1 kg with a height of approximately 23cm they are the smallest of all the penguin species. They are also the only penguin species with blue and white feathers instead of black and white feathers. The colour blue offers a camouflage from predators as the dark blue black blends in with the water. The Little Penguin only moves around on land at sunset when their predators are sleeping. Phillip Island is home for around 32,000 breeding adults.
The Little penguins return to their nesting burrows at the Phillip Island Nature Park to breed, raise chicks, moult and to take a break after days spent at sea. They spend 80% of their life at sea. The Private Penguins, Food and Wine Tour offers Penguins Plus seating so you have a vantage point to see these beautiful penguins rolling and tumbling from the waves and waddling up to their burrows for a well earned rest.
To join us in meeting the Little Penguin in your premium seating that includes a ranger presentation to hear more contact us to book. You will also enjoy a visit to a local winery in the region, meet Australian wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and dingoes at Moonlit Sanctuary as well as a 2 course dinner with a glass of wine.
We tour daily as a private tour with a pick up time (depending on the season) at between 1.30-230pm with a 10pm-midnight return to the Melbourne City Centre
- Jul, 22 2017
Are you looking to visit the Yarra Valley but are unsure of where to go and what to do. Well, tasting wine of course but there are some many amazing choices. A private Yarra Valley Wine Tour means that you can create your own day and make important decisions like how long should we spend for lunch, 2 courses or 3 and should we include a sparkling wine tasting at Domaine Chandon or a Gin Distillery such as Four Pillars?
The Yarra Valley is a scenic drive just over an hour from Melbourne City Centre. Your Private Yarra Valley Wine Tour also includes transfers to a Melbourne suburb so no-one has to worry about getting into the City and can sip away all day. You can also opt for a later or earlier start depending on how many wineries you’d like to get to. Epicurean have enjoyed over 18 years of private and small group touring excellence so you can be confident that they can suggest fabulous wineries and activities along the way. The wine tour is structured so that all guests can satisfy their wine preferences and if any sightseeing that you would like to do along the way.
So nest time you are looking at a Yarra Valley Wine Tour, consider a Private tour so you can get off the beaten track and the set plan and have flexibility in doing what you would like. We promise a fantastic day with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours.
Private Yarra Valley Wine Tour
Some options you can choice from include
- Cheese and Wine Pairing at De Bortoli Estate
- Lunch at chosen venue such as Tokar Estate, Soumah or Dominique Portet
- Gin Tasting at Four Pillars
- Visit to Healesville Sanctuary
- Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery
- Private Tasting of Premium Wines at Soumah
- Oyster and Sparkling Wine Match at Coombe Estate or Chateau Yering (date dependant)
- Jul, 17 2017
Join Epicurean for a Food and Wine Tour to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula Wine Region. Just over an hour out of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula not only offers stunning views but is also a region of great style that is a haven for foodies and wine lovers alike. Home to close to 50 wineries that are known for their cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sparkling Wines amongst others. The cellar doors in this region are full of warmth and character and the perfect place to learn about the great wine from this region.
On the Epicurean Food and Wine Tour to the Mornington Peninsula you will visit award winning cellar doors chosen from the wineries we love. Here you will hear the stories of this region and learn about the wine often from the winemakers themselves. We include a leisurely lunch stop comprising of 2 delicious courses at Rare Hare which is part of the very chic Jackalope Hotel. Rare Hare is a special place that looks like it has always meant to be part of the beautiful backdrop of WillowCreek.
There are many places to visit and wines to taste on your Food and Wine Tour to the Mornington Peninsula, below is a proposed itinerary. We work with you to match your food, wine and sightseeing preferences.
Contact us to create your very special day in this fabulous region.
Food and Wine Tour Mornington Peninsula
2 premium wine tasting at cellar doors and lunch: with an option for an extended drive around the region
10am pick up from Melbourne City Centre accommodation or selected Mornington Peninsula
11am Stonier Wines for a cheese platter and wine tasting
12.30pm Wine tasting at Willow Creek Winery (part of Jackalope Hotel/RareHare) followed by a 2 course lunch with a glass of wine at Rare Hare
1pm 2 Course Lunch at Merrick’s General Wine Store or Rare Hare
3pm Barrel Room Private Tasting at Quealy Winemakers
Also include a short drive to Flinders Beach, Merricks Beach or Port Leo with beautiful views of Westernport Bay -walk along the pier or wander along the main street (art galleries, ice-cream shops etc) or to Arthurs Seat Chairlift.
5-530pm Return to Melbourne City Centre
Please contact Tour Director, Nicci for more information on Food and Wine Tour Mornington Peninsula
03 9598 0943 or 0418 336 005
- Jan, 25 2017
Yarra Valley Itinerary with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours
The world class, cool climate wine region, the Yarra Valley is approximately 90 minutes from Melbourne, with a beautiful scenic drive through Kangaroo Ground for a siting of a mob of kangaroos in an outback paddock. Epicurean Food and Wine Tours visit wineries with compelling stories and generational history in the Valley. We give guests a real sense of this famous wine region that offers spectacular scenery and personalised cellar door experiences.
You will enjoy the varietals that the Valley is famous for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and the world famous late harvest wines of De Bortoli Estate. The Yarra Valley is also known for producing memorable sparkling wines from Domaine Chandon, Seville Hill and many other local growers.
We have chosen wineries that offer premium wine tastings in comfortable cellar door settings. The wineries we visit offer scenic views over the valley and beautiful gardens. Join a bus for a small group tour with a maximum of ten guests or a private tour in a Mercedes Valente with family or friends, maximum of 7 guests.
This Yarra Valley wine tour offers the opportunity to taste amazing wines, enjoy a 2 course lunch with a glass of wine that is expertly paired and visit Healesville Sanctuary where you can get up close to some of our favourite Australian wildlife.
Pick up from Melbourne City Centre at 915am
Cheese and Wine Pairing at 3rd generation Italian winemakers, De Bortoli Estate
Visit Healesville Sanctuary Entry and includes a Koala Encounter
Enjoy a 2 course lunch with a glass of wine and wine tasting Tokar Estate
Finish your day with wine Tasting at Helen and Joey Estate
Return to Melbourne City Centre at approx. 5 to 530pm
Epicurean Food and Wine Tours include Melbourne City Centre transfers, WiFi in all vehicles and professional and qualified guides.
Contact us at www.epicureantours.com.au/contact for more information on booking
- Dec, 06 2016
Yarra Valley Wine Tour
With 86 cellar doors and counting set within this picturesque landscape of big blue skies and gently rolling hills, where on earth do you start? Even for most of us wine loving women, 86 cellar doors equals a very big wine headache.
To help you with the decision making, and to ensure you make the most of your time in this gorgeous part of Australia, here are five of our favourite Yarra Valley cellar doors for the ultimate wine tasting experience!
Our number one tip? Don’t forget to tell them you’re a fabulous lady when you visit!
Our 5 Favourite Yarra Valley Cellar Doors To Visit
82 Wills Rd, DIXONS CREEK, Victoria 3775 Open: Six days a week (closed Tuesdays) 11.00 – 5.00pm www.fergussonwinery.com.au
This gorgeous Yarra Valley vineyard was first planted by the Fergusson Brothers, Peter and Michael in 1968.
But today, the estate is managed by the truly fabulous Louise Fergusson! And her sons oversee the growing and wine making processes from their 40+ year old vines.
Not only does Louise Fergusson run the wine business, but she’s also a graduate of the prestigious La Varrene in Paris and her outstanding cookery saw her take home a gold medal at Europe’s Culinary Olympics.
No wonder the Fergusson Restaurant is a destination in itself! Overlooking the picturesque vineyard the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day except Tuesdays.
With an emphasis on classic French varieties, Fergusson produce a good range from sparklings through to a muscat.
Starting with a glass of Miss Sapphire NV is a must – as it may be the only bubbly in Australia named after a blue staffy dog!
Then move onto their Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay (yum) before hitting the reds. The Louise Pinot Noir is a must try, and then don’t miss the Jeremy Shiraz and two different offering of Cabernet Sauvignons before a Muscat or Moscato for a sweet finish.
Lot 50 Oliver’s Rd, McLaren Vale Open: Mon – Sun : 10:30am–5:00pm.
Tokar Estate has one of the most sensational views of the Yarra Valley in the whole region, plus wines so delicious that they won the Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at the 2015 Yarra Valley wine show.
The best Pinot in the Yarra? That is NO easy feat for a region known for Pinophiles!
A gorgeous, mid-range onsite restaurant makes for the perfect lunch stop. But make sure you book early to request an outdoor table in the warmer months. You won’t be sorry!
It’s not all about glamorous location of course. The Tokar family are seriously fabulous people. Rita and Leon Tokar and son Daniel put their heart and soul into the wines and the property.
They cellar door is open every day from 10am to 5pm.
The restaurant is open everyday for lunch and also on Saturday evenings for dinner.
Joie de Vivre is a delicious place to start! It’s a dry, sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grown on the estate.
Of course, their Pinot Noir is not to be missed, but if you like your reds a little richer, then they also have one of the best Cab Savs in the area and a lovely Shiraz too.
1568 Melba Highway Dixons Creek Yarra Valley Victoria 3775 Open: Mon – Fri : 10:00am – 4:00pm Sat – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm www.mandalawines.com.au
Mandala make great wines that are truly Yarra Valley. And if you’re a Pinotphile, you’re really gonna love them.
Established by the Smedley family in 1999, Mandala has two separate sites under vine, both producing varietals that excel in the region. The Dixons Creek vineyard produces sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, while the second site at Yarra Junction was selected for its exceptional pinot noir growing conditions.
You’ll find their snazzy cellar door and glass house restaurant at the Dixons Creek site. The restaurant has expansive views of the surrounding vineyards and beyond.
They focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce to create an ever-evolving menu.
It’s the Yarra Valley, so it’s probably no surprise to hear that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are a must do at Mandala.
Particularly the Pinot Noir, where they have a gorgeous range of high-end and single vineyard Pinots. But really, everything is worth discovering here. Their Sav Blanc is a real surprise packet.
All current release wines are available to taste in the cellar door every day, and the special single site wines – including ‘The Compass’ Chardonnay, ‘The Prophet’ and ‘The Matriarch’ Pinot Noirs, ‘The Butterfly’ Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘The Rock’ Shiraz – join the list on selected weekends. Back vintages and cellar door only releases are also available throughout the year.
58 Pinnacle Ln, Dixons Creek VIC 3775 Open: Mon – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm www.debortoli.com.au
They’re one of Australia’s first families of wine, and they’re still going from strength to strength! Leanne De Bortoli (and for the record, you pronounce it ‘deh-bort-ali’) and winemaker husband Steve Webber set up the De Bortoli Yarra Valley operation in 1987, which has now grown to 240 acres of vineyards.
We love them for their large range (there really is a De Bortoli wine for every taste, budget and every occasion), their commitment to family and tradition, and their continued striving to produce good quality wines at every price point. The Yarra Valley is not known for producing the best value wine in Australia, but somehow De Bortoli manage to keep their Yarra wines very affordable indeed.
Their cellar door is a must visit when you’re in the region. Not least of which is because in addition to the wine they also have a CHEESE ROOM and offer you the opportunity to do cheese and wine flights.
The De Bortoli Yarra Valley range is extensive, but they also offer tastings of wines from other regions in which they operate.
If you’re planning lunch, then not to be missed is the heart and soul of their Yarra Valley Estate, the Italian inspired restaurant Locale.
Locale is family matriarch Emeri De Bortoli’s vision of a northern Italian-inspired trattoria with skilfully cooked, authentically Italian dishes made with fresh local produce continues to define what they do. It’s all about the De Bortoli family philosophy of sharing good food and wine with family and friends.
870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream VIC, 3770 Open: Mon – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm
French style wine from a 10th generation winemaker right here in Victoria’s Yarra Valley? What’s not to love?!
Dominique and his son Ben (the 10th winemaker in the Portet lineage. Yes TENTH!) produce stunning, elegant and flavourful wines drawing on their family’s long winemaking history.
Chances are one or both of them will be floating around the quaint and welcoming cellar door when you pop in, ready to charm you with their wines as well as their smile.
They ain’t famous for their Sparkling Rosé for nothing! Start with that before moving onto their delicious Sancerre style Sauvignon Blanc, and Provincial style, dry Rosé. Those two wines have seen a LOT of fabulous ladies (and lads!) return to a love of Savvy B and pink wine! And they remain two of our absolute favourites here at Fabulous HQ.
Then leave room for their amazing Shiraz, Cab, Merlot blend – which is one of the best value reds in the whole Yarra Valley.
Finally, you can up the ante with the incredible, soft Shiraz sourced from their Heathcote vineyards (nearby) or some of their other premium offerings from their Origine label.
Online Sales Only http://www.journeywines.com.au/
Now that you have tasted your way around the Yarra, how about something a little bit exclusive to remind you how wonderful Pinot country is?
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. – Ernest Hemmingway
We love a bit of Hemingway. And we love a bit of Journey Wines. It’s the gorgeous, boutique, Yarra Valley wine brand of super fabulous winemaker Damian North. We love a bit of Damian too. He’s a lovely guy, making some seriously fabulous wines – using only those varieties that the Yarra Valley does best.
His ‘journey’ as a winemaker has taken him around the world, as he’s followed his passion for making premium Pinot Noir and clean, elegant Chardonnay. He’s now settled in the Yarra Valley, where he sources the fruit for Journey Wines from a number of exceptional vineyard sites in both the Yarra Valley and Heathcote, and makes his wines at the Medhurst winery in the Yarra.
Did somebody say Pinot? Yes, Pinotphiles, you will not be disappointed! Damian spent three whole years making nothing but Pinot during his time in Oregon in the USA. Let’s just say the two of them are now very well acquainted. And at only $34 a bottle, it’s exceptional value for money.
Journey Wines also produces a slinky Chardonnay and a super smart Shiraz. Order online and get them all into you.
Got a favourite Yarra Valley cellar door we haven’t mentioned here? Give ’em a shout out by leaving a comment below!
- Nov, 28 2016
This is a fabulous tour for just two guests celebrating a birthday that we hosted to the Yarra Valley. Yarra Valley, just an hour out of Melbourne is a world class, cool climate wine region that is home to both boutique family owned wineries in addition to some well known estates such as Yering Station, Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli. This Yarra tour is well paced and relaxed offering unique and interesting cellar door experiences at each winery visited. The itinerary below is based on what our guests have chosen when they considered their wine preferences and what they wanted to see in the Yarra Valley.
Guests will enjoy informed commentary of the Yarra Valley wine region and wineries visited as they travel in a luxury Mercedes Valente complete with WiFi.
Your first experience is a Cheese and Wine pairing at 3rd generation Italian winemakers at Debortoli’s. Taste outstanding Estate wines. Your memorable De Bortoli experience will end with a Noble One tasting, one of the most awarded dessert wines in the world.
Yering Station with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours
You will be welcomed at Yering Station cellar door for a tasting including reserve wines and take a walk through the gardens at Victoria’s oldest vineyard.
A 2 course lunch is served at the beautiful Tokar Estate, in fine weather, overlooking the lush green vines. Tokar is one of the local’s favourites in the Yarra Valley where you can enjoy local and seasonal cuisine and a cellar door tasting to match a glass of wine with your lunch.
Yarra Valley is home to the Australian based Domaine Chandon. Here you can relax while you enjoy a tasting of 6 sparkling and still wines.
Coombe Estate with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours
Enjoy a tasting before a dessert in the restaurant at the very chic wine Coombe Estate with gorgeous garden backdrops, the former Australian home of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
Travel in luxury Mercedes Valente. WiFi enabled, commentary, transfers, lunch, afternoon tea and all tastings included.
Approx timing 930am with a 5pm return. email@example.com
- Nov, 21 2016
Yarra Valley Birthday Food and Wine Tour
Every day Epicurean Food and Wine Tours speak with guests and discuss’s the very best food and wine tour for them. Here is a sample itinerary that includes a visit to 5 of the best wineries in the Yarra Valley. As part of any tour we include lots of tasty seasonal local produce to pair with some great Yarra Valley Wine. Tour in a Mercedes Valente or mini wine bus (depending on numbers both WiFi enabled with bottled water). Let us look after all the bookings and the driving for the day. You can sit back and listen to the commentary on what makes the Yarra Valley a world class wine region. Speak with us today on 03 9598 0943 and create your very own private tour to the Yarra Valley! All timings below are approximate and depend on pick up locations and time you would like to spend at each venue.
If you are looking for a more intimate day out in the Yarra Valley then look at our very special Tours for Two Yarra Valley Tour
Transfers from Melbourne City Centre or inner city suburbs at 9am for 6 guests
10am De Bortoli Cheese and Wine Pairing
11.15am Yering Station Cellar Door Tasting
1.30pm Domaine Chandon Cellar Door Tasting
2.30pm Coombe Estate Dessert
- Oct, 03 2016
Yarra Valley Wine Tour
Amie Hu has kindly let us share her experience of the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region when she visited in April.
You can read below for where Amie visited in the Yarra Valley, her favourite wine and food experiences across the world. Read more about Amie Hu’s travels at http://www.amiehu.com/p/melbourne-maps.html
It’s time for Yarra Valley that weekend in April, catching onto the tail of summer in Melbourne… the fields were blooming in a luxurious shade of yellow. Oh, and it’s never too early to indulge in a drink or two, as Yarra teaches. In fact, wine tasting is a deliriously happy affair.
“Trust me you can dance,” ~ Wine
I was gloriously fattened up during that period of time, from an abundance of awesome food. I regret nothing! Yarra is generally flat, with gentle slopes of greenlands that stretch into the horizon forever and ever. I felt as if I was transported into a scene straight out of Heidi, okay, I know that is set in Switzerland but it sure feels like it.
Yarra Valley Wine Tour Yering Station
38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
Apparently they are extremely generous with their wine tasting servings – not that I am complaining! 😉 But it is pretty safe to say my ability to remember details just deteriorated from there, so the most striking memory I could recall is that I remembered nodding in approval to Yering’s wines, or were at least, pleasantly intrigued by what they offered. In particular, they had really fancy wines infused with a huge variety of fruity zests – sniff out pear, shortbread, green apple, almond, macadamia and treacle aroma in the Cuvee, and remember to taste lemon, honey, cloudy apple, orange sherbet, and grapefruit while you’re at it. They had about six of those for us to try. Tastings are not charged here.
Yarra Valley Wine Tour Tarrawarra Estate
311 Healesville, Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
2014 Pinot Noir Rosé (AUD22/bottle) from Tarrawarra Estate is the best of their collection. Tarrawarra Estate has a couple of others such as the 2013 Roussanne Marsanne Viognier (AUD30/bottle), 2013 Estate Chardonnay (AUD28/bottle), 2013 Reserve Chardonnay (AUD50/bottle), 2013 Estate Pinot Noir (AUD28/bottle), 2011 Hunter’s Red Shiraz/Merlot (AUD22/bottle), 2012 J-Block Shiraz (AUD35/bottle) and 2009 K Block Merlot (AUD40/bottle). Tastings are at AUD5/pax.
336 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
There aren’t many restaurants in the region, but the most popular one evidently has got to be the Innocent Bystander given the long queues. Time passes quite quickly if you’d put your name on the waiting list and hop to the next bar to have a drink first. They have a hall of fame with guest recommendations, newspaper/magazine features that flaunt how much of a stamp of approval they have from their fanbase. Their confidence shines through their wines as well, which they describe to be ‘reliable, over-performing and eminently affordable, varietal wines’. For starters, we had the Pork belly, chicken liver terrine with zucchini pickles and baguette (AUD13) and the Ora king salmon cured in pastrami spices with horseradish cream (AUD13) which hardly made a dent in our growling stomachs. The pork belly was one of the better ones I’ve tried, nearly achieving the instant melty effect that I love. The Ora king salmon was expectedly really tasty, so fresh and smooth, but I only wished it was a larger serving. Although it was quite a wait before our pizzas came, their Murray River salted frites (AUD7) kept us entertained for a while.
Innocent Bystander has an open-kitchen concept for guests to watch their chefs in action – particularly the Italian pizza chefs doing hand-stretched pizzas. Their pizzas are indeed overperformers, with fluffy and sinful pillows of buffalo mozarella cheese and savoury fresh slices of spicy pork sausage, San Marzano tomato and chilli on their pizzas (AUD24). Switching up with the San Daniele prosciutto, San Marzano tomato, cravero parmesan and rocket (AUD26), both pizzas that we tried were really delicious regardless.
Yarra Valley Wine Tour Dominique Portet
870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Dominique Portet is a 10th Generation winery in the Yarra Valley. Its architecture is telling of its historical roots from France, especially its large arched windows that allows sunlight to stream in. One of those we tried include the 2014 Fontaine Rosé which is distinctively bright salmon in color, with a celebratory blend of merlot (50%), shiraz (30%) and carbenet (20%). It is refreshing yet creamy, wonderful to enjoy during lunch just before a siesta, isn’t it?
Yarra Valley Wine Tour Domaine Chandon
727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
I have given up on drinking by now because it was quite an overkill after so many stops.. so I’ve retreated to photo-taking outside Domaine Chandon (the rest who continued their wine tasting adventures did mention they enjoy this stop the most). Right outside Domaine Chandon is a sizable amount of grape vineyards, you can simply find a lounge chair and watch the planes go by. Most people would also make a stop halfway to the
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
35 Old Healesville Rd, Yarra Glen
so that’s something you can consider if you’re planning for a trip to the Yarra Valley.
- Aug, 27 2016
During the week Epicurean Food and Wine Tours offer small group tours of the Yarra Valley with a maximum of 6 guests. Visiting 5 wineries with a 2 course lunch and a glass of wine. Sit back and relax in a luxurious air conditioned Mercedes Valente while travelling to the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region. Our experienced and qualified guide has extensive knowledge on the Yarra Valley and will fill you in on a little bit of the history while discovering some hidden gems. We offer Melbourne City centre transfers departing daily.
Experience the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula in style
Epicurean Food and Wine Tours have a passion for visiting family owned wineries that convey a real sense of the journey for generations of winemakers.
Your day in the Yarra Valley begins at third generation family owned winery De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. Here you will enjoy an informative cheese and wine pairing to discover which international and local cheeses best match the specially chosen De Bortoli wines.
Experience a slice of Mediterranean life in the heart of the Yarra Valley. Relax with a 2 course lunch and a glass of wine served at Tokar Estate, Rochford or Tramonto Kitchen and Bar
Dominique Portet, 9th and 10th generation french winemakers offer beautifully crafted wines including their signature Fontayne Rose.
Last stop is Helen and Joeys Estate where you will taste delicious wine and soak up the views of the Yarra Valley
Book here to experience beautiful food and wine on this small group wine tour or contact us on 03 9598 0943 with any enquiries.
- Aug, 20 2016
Yarra Valley Wineries – The History
Yarra Valley is a beautiful cool climate wine region. Guests that come into the region for the first time will often enquire about how it came to now be home for over 80 wineries and the production of world class chardonnay, pinot noirs and sparkling wines. It is the history of the region that offers great stories of families hard work, dedication and passion for wine that you will hear that make Yarra Valley Wine Tours very popular today.
The Yarra Valley has a long history that includes a ’60’s re-resurgence to see it become the world class wine region that it is today.
The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s first wine growing district with vines planted just a few hundred metres from the Yarra River by the Scottish Ryrie Brothers who came down from NSW in 1838. Vines were planted at the property named Chateau Yering.
By 1890 Victoria produced almost 60% of all Australian wine, more than all other states put together. The de Castella’s and de Pury families were notable early settlers in the region who exported wine into European and British markets and won many international awards. However, the love of wine is not what it is today and palates were more in tune with stronger fortified wines than table wines. By 1921 the Yarra Valley had stopped wine production altogether and replaced vines with more profitable farming pursuits, mainly dairying.
Replanting began in the 1960’s with Wantirna Estate being the first of the new generation then followed by Yarra Yering, Warramate, Seville Estate, Mount Mary, Yarra Burn, St Huberts, Yeringberg, Fergussons and Chateau Yarrinya. In 1978 Chateau Yarrinya under the flagship of Graeme Miller, now owner and winemaker at Dixon’s Creek Estate won Yarra Valleys first Jimmy Watson trophy. This is now home to De Bortoli Estate. Other notable developments included the Besen Family founded TarraWarra in 1982 and James Halliday also making the journey down from NSW to start Coldstream Hills. In 1986 Moet et Chandon set up their only Australian winery Domaine Chandon, buying an old dairy farm “GreenPoint”.1989 saw vines re-planted at Yering Station. Punt Road, Rochford and Sticks were established between 1990 and 2000. Dominique Portet founded in 2000 is a 9th generation winemaker who with son Ben will continue this great tradition of winemaking in the Yarra Valley. In 2006 Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander is built in Healesville becoming the first operational Yarra Valley winery to open in a town centre.