While you’re carried out with marvellous Melbourne, or just need to break up your stay, head an hour east of city for an ideal day of nature and adventure, artwork and tradition, markets, spas, eateries and wineries, in Victoria’s famously scrumptious Yarra Valley.
If you’re expecting one in every of Australia’s premier wine-growing areas to be all about wineries though, you’ll be gladly mistaken. Positive, the Yarra Valley counts more than 150 wineries in its prestigious fold, and they are the biggest draw, but even if the wine was the last thing you cared about, you’d hardly be brief on things to do here. But first, what most come for: the world-class wine!
The Wines of Yarra Valley
Dating back to 1838, Yarra Valley was Victoria’s first planted wine region, producing two varietals. For a range of reasons, the area was solely transformed to dairy farming within the mid-Thirties, till vines had been re-established in the 1960s. In 1986, French Champagne house Moet & Chandon opened an area base at Domaine Chandon producing exquisite sparkling wine, additional elevating Yarra Valley’s world reputation.
Right now, approximately 300 vineyards develop a number of the world’s greatest Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, drawing over 3 million visitors annually.
The area is divided into two sub-areas, the Valley flooring and Upper Yarra, each with distinct characteristics like altitude, soil, climate and rainfall levels that decide what’s grown. So far as wine growing goes, the entire valley is considered a ‘cool climate’ region, though summer temperatures common virtually 27C, and winter lows hardly ever dip into the single digits (averaging just over 14C).
The Valley flooring, together with the cities of Healesville, Lilydale and Yarra Glen, is usually warmer, sheltered from the typically biting fall and winter winds just a little higher up. The cooler Upper Yarra holds the region’s most esteemed real estate, producing its most prized varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
When deciding on a wine tour, consider visiting vineyards in each sub-regions to taste the difference. For fans of Australian Chardonnays (and even in the event you’re not), check out renowned Oakridge Wines, which in 2012 received three prestigious awards, together with ‘Vineyard of the Year’, ‘Chardonnay of the Year’, and ‘Wine of the Year’.
Who wants a beer? A cider? Kombucha?
If wine isn’t your thing or you’d like to combine things up a bit, Yarra Valley additionally has some notable microbreweries and cider mills producing stunning beers and flavourful ciders. Beer making here goes as far back as winemaking, traced to the early 1800s when hops have been farmed throughout. Cider, too, is a staple in the Yarra area – the birthplace of Australian Champagne Cider.
Tour the Cider & Ale Trail to pattern dozens of beer styles (principally lager and ale varieties) as well as special one-off seasonal brews, alongsideside historic cider houses serving up recent candy and dry ciders. Different local delicacies embody strawberry and blueberry wines, candy ports, refreshing sparkling wines, Calvados (apple brandy), craft gin, and even kombucha!
Breweries worthy of a cease embrace Coldstream Brewery, Watts River Brewing, Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co., and Buckley’s Beer (Yarra Valley’s oldest).
Yarra Valley Wine Tours
Right here is the place things get fun. Yarra Valley wineries current options; some practical, some outlandish.
The commonest are small-group escorted excursions in a mini-van, however firms may also set you up with knowledgeable designated driver and information, using their car or yours. Renting a bike locally and doing all of it your self can also be a popular alternative, as are organized biking tours.
Seeking to keep it social? Hop on Cafe Bus, a personalized 18-seat bus that doubles as a coffee house, serving up tasty free java between wine sampling and cider stops. Celebrating something particular? Book a private tour in an extravagant chauffeured stretch limousine, or a vintage convertible Chevy (Prime Down Tours). Apart from the damaging-sounding Segway excursions of Rochford Winery, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable with any of the aforementioned options.
Full day tours, including central Melbourne pick-up and drop-off, start between $150-$165AUD, per person, and usually cover visits to four-6 wineries ranging in styles, generous tasting periods at every, and a gourmet lunch with more drinks. Professional guides explain the area’s history, wines and reply any questions you might have alongside the way.
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