The Yarra Valley is a perfect weekend getaway or day trip from Melbourne due to its proximity to the city. Grapes like chardonnay and pinot noir do particularly well in this climate, and they also happen to be great for making sparkling wine. Some of the rarer varieties, such as Nebbiolo, Savagnin, and Chenin blanc, can be found if you know where to look.
The area is home to more than one hundred and fifty different wineries, ranging in size from single-family run establishments to multinational conglomerates with international ownership. How do you even begin to tackle this problem? These are some of the best wineries in the Yarra Valley at the moment, in our opinion.
If you are looking for more ideas for where to go on a short vacation in Victoria, check out our guide to the best getaways in the area. Another option is to remain in the city proper and explore the various wine bars that Melbourne has to offer.
Domaine Chandon is the granddaddy of sparkling wine producers in Victoria. The company has been producing high-quality sparkling wine since long before sparkling wine from Victoria could be called Champagne. Moet & Chandon, the largest champagne producer in the world, is owned by LVMH, an acronym for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. This historic winery pays homage to French winemaking practises while also taking cues from the terroir of the Yarra Valley's mild climate.
The tastings, which cost $12 for a set of six, come in still or sparkling varieties. There is a bar on site, so after you have sampled everything, you can relax with a full glass of something (the sparkling pinot shiraz is a personal favourite of ours) and take in the stunning vistas over the vineyard. A breathtaking panorama of vineyard rows awaits guests at this venue, situated in the grounds of one of the Yarra Valley's most prestigious wineries.
There is also the option of exploring the vineyard and winery on your own. Learn about everything from grape harvesting to fermentation to riddling and disgorging sparkling wines at the interactive displays Schmick designed for this tour. The massive tanks and presses used to create the wine are on display for visitors to see as well.
Coombe Yarra Valley
At the crossroads of the Maroondah and Melba highways is where you'll find Coombe Estate. While technically located in Maroondah, the neighbourhood to which it most closely relates is Melba.
The former residence of Australia's first artistic export is now a top-notch restaurant and cellar door specialising in wines from cool climates like the Yarra Valley's chardonnay and pinot noir. In exchange for $5, the experienced staff will lead you through a tasting that is tailored to your specific tastes.
You prefer lighter reds like pinot noir to bolder ones like chardonnay. Instead of focusing on full-bodied chardonnays, your tasting will feature lighter styles (though you might be surprised at how zesty and light the Estate Range Chardy is). If you tell your server that merlot is your favourite, they will bring out a wider variety of full-bodied reds for you to try. In addition, if you buy a bottle, the tasting fee is on the house.
Beginning your weekend in the Yarra Valley with a high tea-style breakfast at Coombe is a great idea. Miniature quiches, croissants, muffins, waffles, French toasts, and brownie bites are available in a tiered display for $35.
A glass of sparkling blanc de blanc wine and your choice of tea or espresso coffee are included. It's a great way to start the day before a full schedule of wine tastings and other events. High tea is served on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and lunch is served Tuesday through Sunday.
To be fair though, Melba. A museum filled with paintings and other memorabilia related to Dame Nellie can be found on the premises, and throughout the house plays music composed and performed by the woman herself. The gardens and the house can be explored during the warmer months, and tours of both are available.
The Giant Steps cellar door and restaurant in Healesville, Australia, got its name from the same-titled album by saxophonist John Coltrane, which was released in 1960. Phil Sexton, the winery's owner, is a huge jazz fan, so he decided to name his Yarra Valley wines after the musician as a way to show his appreciation.
After extensive renovations at the start of 2017, the winery now features a front area with a wine bar, dining area, and a small counter selling locally baked goods as well as a back area with an open kitchen and barrel hall.
Bergman and Co., the same interior design firm behind Chin Chin, Kong, and Mr. Miyagi, oversaw the renovation of Giant Steps, giving the restaurant a moody new look and feel with lots of dark wood, brass accents, and comfortable leather booths in the dining area.
The tastings are held in the barrel hall, a large, high-ceilinged warehouse crammed to the rafters with oak wine barrels. Metal brackets attached to sleek leather slings hold the bottles in place rather than shelves.
There, you can try some of the best Yarra Valley chardonnays and other single-vineyard wines in the world from renowned winemaker Steve Flamsteed at Giant Steps.
Lunchtime wine flights pair well with the likes of wood-fired pizzas, a charcuterie and cheese board, or a classic Angus porterhouse steak. Even on the weekends, you can get a hearty breakfast.
The tasting room and cellar door are both open every day, but you should time your visit to coincide with the restaurant's service hours for the best experience.
While former chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone have stepped down from their positions, new executive chef Aaron Brodie is carrying on their commitment to using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and fostering strong relationships with nearby farmers and growers.
Due to the acquisition of vineyards in Gladysdale and Woori Yallock, Oakridge is now able to produce Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.
Australia is home to some of the world's most visually arresting wineries, with styles ranging from the rustic chic of Margaret River's Vasse Felix to the futuristic glass geometry of McClaren Vale's d'Arenberg Cube. These are merely a few examples among many.
The Mitchelton tower, which has a peak and is 55 metres in height, was completed in 1973 and is still a remarkable structure of its type. The estate's riesling, chardonnay, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon vineyards obscure some of its view from the road, but as you approach the estate's main entrance, the castle appears. Every year, a large number of weddings take place there.
Even though the tower and adjacent cellar were both designed by the late, great architect Robin Boyd, he did not live to see their construction through. To continue his work, architect Ted Ashton took charge of erecting the rest of the main building and opening the restaurant that would later become Muse.
Muse's minimalist menu reflects the restaurant's minimalist vibe. High-quality proteins, such as Cone Bay barramundi and Sevens Creek Wagyu, will be expertly prepared with a lot of imagination and care. Early in the day, the restaurant welcomes walk-ins in addition to hotel guests from the adjacent Mitchelton.
The winery primarily focuses on the cheaper end of the market. Retail prices for most bottles are under $20, making them a great long-term investment. Blackwood Park riesling, to give one example, can hold its own against wines costing twice as much. You can sample the wine at the cellar door and then head over to the independently run chocolate shop, Ministry of Chocolate.
Although the Dominique Portet winery didn't open until the year 2000, the winemaker of the same name comes from Bordeaux and is the ninth generation of his family to work in the wine industry. Ben Portet, son of Dominique Portet, is the current head of the winemaking team.
The rolling hills of Yarra Valley provide a picturesque backdrop for the vineyards at the Dominique Portet winery. The restaurant at the winery is open every day and serves country-style lunches that pair well with a day of wine tasting (think snack platters, cheese, and charcuterie).
Dominique Portet's Fontaine Rosé, a $22 steal for a berry-driven summery blend of merlot, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon, is routinely lauded by wine critics and aficionados.
If you're looking for one of the Yarra Valley's oldest wineries, look no further than Yering Station. The winery, owned and operated by the same family since 1838, has become a popular tourist attraction.
Enter the cellar door, which is housed in the winery's original structure. Wine tastings are on the house for groups of ten or fewer. A reservation is required for parties of 10 or more. Yering Station's Reserve Shiraz Viognier is renowned as one of the finest examples of this variety in Australia. A $40 bottle of Yering Station Shiraz Viognier is also available if you'd rather not spend as much on a higher-end option.
The Wine Bar restaurant, with its stunning vistas of the Yarra Ranges, is the perfect spot for a leisurely winery lunch. Lunch is served daily at 12 p.m. The restaurant's head chef, Maxime Croiset, focuses on French cuisine, which pairs well with the available Yering Station wines.
There is another winery in the Healesville area called Giant Steps, so the location of Innocent Bystander couldn't be better. Before their amicable split in early 2017, White Rabbit Brewery and Innocent Bystander Winery shared a building. Since then, Innocent Bystander Winery has come into its own, thriving to the point where it has outgrown its original location and moved into the adjacent space occupied by White Rabbit Brewery.
Everything from Prosecco to Syrah is available from temperature-controlled draught taps at Innocent Bystander's standalone location, which has the vibe of a beer hall. There was a previous location here, and this is a tribute to it. In this friendly establishment, wine flights and carafes are served in measuring beakers that could have been plucked from a high school chemistry lab.
Pizzas cooked in wood-burning ovens take centre stage on the menu, along with small plates meant to be shared and nibbled on while enjoying the reasonably priced wines.
During the warmer months, Innocent Bystander's Moscato is a popular choice. The candyfloss-sweet pink sparkling wine is meant to be enjoyed in the summer with a wide range of sweet treats.
To visit the cellar door of the 80-acre vineyard that is Balgownie Estate, you need only drive a short distance from Bendigo to get there.
A local pharmacist named Stuart Anderson was responsible for the initial 1969 planting of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grapes in this area. This makes the Balgownie Estate the region's oldest winery.
These two red varieties are still the vineyard's hallmarks, and they're available for tasting at the cellar door alongside pinot noir, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc, and viognier in smaller quantities.
While perusing the wine list, you can peruse the wall of black-and-white photographs and historical information. Then, grab a glass of your favourite vintage and relax at one of the picnic tables outside, all while gazing out over the vineyard.
Balgownie Estate was able to purchase additional Yarra Valley real estate in 2003. Over the course of 16 acres, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes have been planted. The two locations are convenient because there are places to stay for the night.
Dal Zotto Trattoria
Prosecco's reputed birthplace, the Italian town of Valdobbiadene, is where Otto Dal Zotto spent his formative years. It's fitting that he was an early advocate for growing prosecco grapes Down Under.
In Adelaide, Otto tracked down an Italian man who had (legally) brought over two cuttings. Interestingly, the man's former residence was only five kilometres up the road from Otto's old stomping grounds. Using those stem cuttings as a foundation, Otto created the first Australian prosecco in 2004.
Five different types of prosecco are currently being produced by the Dal Zotto family. These include vintage and non-vintage varieties as well as an unfiltered, fruit-forward traditional style known as col Fondo, which translates to "with sediment."
Numerous Italian grape varieties, including Arneis, Garganega, barbera, and Sangiovese, are represented among the many wines produced in cool climates and at high altitudes. The savoury Italian dishes served at the trattoria pair wonderfully with these wines.
Menu items are influenced by nonna Elena's market garden, which is located on the property. Everything she doesn't grow herself is sourced from within a 250-mile radius of the eatery. Both the Tolpuddle goats curd and the stracchino cheese used in the restaurant's antipasti and desserts are made in-house.
Winery guests can take a leisurely stroll through the vineyard, relax with a picnic on the grass, and, of course, taste wines from the winery's extensive selection. In addition, Dal Zotto hosts numerous events all year long, including a salami-making day.
There are over 150 wineries located in the Yarra Valley. From our experience, these are some of the finest wineries in the region. Visit Moet & Chandon and Domaine Chandon to take in the breathtaking views of their vineyards. Cool climate wines, such as those produced in the Yarra Valley, are the focus at Coombe Estate, a top-notch restaurant and cellar door. For only $5, you can have a professional guide you through a tasting that is designed specifically for your preferences.
The tastings take place in the barrel hall, which is a large warehouse stacked floor to ceiling with oak wine barrels. The late, great architect Robin Boyd was responsible for the design of both the Mitchelton tower and the adjacent cellar. The menu at Muse is as spare as the restaurant's decor. Expert preparation will be given to high-quality proteins like Cone Bay barramundi and Sevens Creek Wagyu. Yering Station is a historic winery in the Yarra Valley.
White Rabbit Brewery's adjacent space is now home to Innocent Bystander Winery. The wine glasses used to serve flights and carafes are reminiscent of those found in a chemistry lab. The oldest winery in the area is the Balgownie Estate vineyard. Australian prosecco was pioneered in 2004 by Otto Dal Zotto. Nonna Elena's market garden on the property inspires some of the dishes served. Except for what she grows herself, everything in the restaurant is sourced from within a 250-mile radius.
- Being so close to Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is ideal for a day trip or weekend excursion.
- Visit our guide to the top weekend trips in the Victoria region for more ideas on where to go during your time off.
- In terms of sparkling wine production in Victoria, Domaine Chandon is the granddaddy.
- Independent visits to the vineyard and winery are possible as well.
- Coombe Estate is conveniently located at the intersection of the Maroondah and Melba highways.
- Once the home of Australia's first artistic export, it is now a top-notch restaurant and cellar door specialising in wines from cool climates like the Yarra Valley's chardonnay and pinot noir.
- A high tea-style breakfast at Coombe is a wonderful way to kick off your Yarra Valley weekend.
- The 1960 album by saxophonist John Coltrane of the same name inspired the naming of the Giant Steps cellar door and restaurant in Healesville, Australia.
- Giant Steps is home to some of the world's finest single-vineyard wines, including Steve Flamsteed's award-winning Yarra Valley chardonnays.
- Vineyards at the Dominique Portet winery look out over the picturesque Yarra Valley landscape.
- Yering Station is among the oldest wineries in the Yarra Valley and definitely worth a visit.
- The same family has been running the winery since 1838; it is now a popular tourist destination.
- White Rabbit Brewery and Innocent Bystander Winery used to share space in the same building before amicably parting ways at the beginning of 2017.
- Since then, Innocent Bystander Winery has come into its own, expanding into the space formerly occupied by White Rabbit Brewery due to its success.
- From Bendigo, it's not too far to travel to Balgownie Estate, where you can tour the vineyard and stop by the cellar door. The estate covers 80 acres.
- The Balgownie Estate is the pioneering winery of the area.
- By 2003, Balgownie Estate had acquired more land in the Yarra Valley.
- Otto found an Italian man in Adelaide who had (legally) brought over two cuttings.
- As a result of Otto's work with those stem cuttings, the first Australian prosecco was born in 2004.
- Presently, the Dal Zotto family produces five distinct varieties of prosecco.
- These wines are a perfect complement to the authentic Italian fare served at the trattoria.
- Nonna Elena's market garden on the property inspires some of the dishes served.
- Not only that, but Dal Zotto has events happening all year long, such as a salami-making day.
FAQs About Wineries
It is famous for its fresh, fruity red and white table wines that manage to be extremely consistent in quality. The country has about 2,000 wineries, many of which are small, family-owned companies.
Australia has a whopping number of more than 60 wine regions which are known to produce some of the world's most popular wines. Divided into seven regions, these wine regions of the country are the proud landmarks which have given the world wine connoisseurs their preferred brands of class wines.