Drinking our way through the Yarra Valley

Hi everyone! How are you all on this fine Wednesday? I’ve been daydreaming back to the weekend – we had so much fun on our mini break to Melbourne, particularly around the Yarra Valley. While I’ve visited once before, it was only a quick day trip to Healesville and not really a good enough opportunity to really appreciate what this wine valley has to offer. So this time we decided to spend the night and have a full day of winery hopping.

We stayed at a gorgeous little B&B called Sanctuary Lodge in Healesville and were treated to a lovely room at the front of the property, overlooking the stunning gardens. We’d had a late lunch when we arrived, so for dinner we stopped in at the supermarket and picked up a whole heap of cold meats, cheeses and crackers as well as a bottle of champagne to enjoy for dinner on our balcony. It was the perfect way to start the holiday!

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The next morning we set off at 10am (the wineries don’t open earlier than this, so you can have a guilt-free sleep in!) and started at the Badger Creek Blueberry Farm & Winery with our intentions of working our way back down the highway to Melbourne. The family owned and operated Badger Creek Blueberry Farm opened its doors in May 2007. It suffered greatly in the big bush fires of 2009 and lost a lot of their crop. They rebuilt a smaller farm and produce boutique wines, only available at their Cellar Door. While we were there, we were treated to a tasting of their range including a Blueberry still wine, fortified wine and a unique blueberry sparkling wine. They were amazing! It’s so similar yet so different to wine. Blueberries are the perfect berry to use as they aren’t too sweet and deliver a perfect taste. Needless to say we were sold and picked up a bottle of the fortified wine and sparkling wine to take with us. On to our next stop!

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We continued on to Rochford Wines who were actually setting up to host A Day on the Green the next day (great timing on our part!). We basically had the winery to ourselves and decided to sample a few of their white and sparkling wines (I’m not a huge red wine fan). Again there was a wine combination that was unique to this winery, called a Cerberus. It’s a combination wine, 93% Riesling, 5% Pinot Gris and 2% Gewurztraminer. It was delicious, and so we picked up a bottle of this to take with us! 2 for 2 at this stage!

We continued on our way to a winery called Dominique Portet, which was recommended to us by the owner of the B&B and we were told we MUST try their Rose. Very French inspired, this winery looked tiny, but had fields and fields of grapes growing and produced a fair amount of wine on site. We tried one of all of their whites and even a few of their reds. But the crowning glory was the Rose. Let me give you an idea of how awesome and popular this Rose is. It comes in a 1.5L magnum!!! And they sell heaps of them!!! It’s an ideal wine for a hot summer afternoon and a bottle of this size would easily please a small group. The normal size bottle of Rose is available in bottle shops, so we decided to skip a purchase here, but instead tried a slice of their caramel tart from their onsite patisserie.

Dominique Porteta

Continuing on we stopped in at Domaine Chandon. This is the big tourist stop on the trip and doesn’t have the same feel as the smaller wineries, but obviously is the most well known. You can do a tasting here, however it is a $5 charge (all the other wineries are free). I coughed up my money and got my tasting sheet and sampled 6 different wines. We got our obligatory picture and continued on, keen to get back to the smaller wineries.

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Our next stop was for A, visiting the Napoleone Brewery and Cider house. After all this wine, he was keen for a beer! We had a beautiful lunch at their Cellar Door and then got ourselves a tasting paddle to try. You pay $12 and get to choose 4 different beers or ciders to try. Write it down on your coaster and the bar staff will deliver your paddle to you. This was a really relaxing stop and the beers and ciders were lovely!

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Nearing the end of the day, we made one final stop before heading back to Melbourne. The Yarra Valley Dairy is at the end of the stretch of wineries and sells a range of cheeses and even has some icecream! We were greeted by a very large plastic cow at the entrance and made our way to the cheese counter for a tasting. We tried 6 different cheeses and then came the hard part, settling on what to take home! We picked up some Chevre with Dill and another cheese we can’t remember the name of, but is like a parmesan (but so much tastier!).

With our bellies full of wine, beer and cheese we were so pleased we had spent the day checking out a little of what the Yarra Valley had to offer. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a weekend getaway – it’s only an hour’s drive from the airport and there is so much to see and do. We only saw a tiny bit of the many wineries that are there – basically every driveway you pass is the entrance to another winery! You can pick up driving maps of the Yarra Valley at any winery, shop or cafe once you reach Healesville and it’s super easy to follow along.

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Hope you enjoyed hearing about our trip and that you’re inspired to have your own mini getaway!

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