History of the Yarra Valley for Wine Lovers
- 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.