Let’s just say! The moment I started drinking, probably at a tender age of 16! Oops! I had started with wine and being young and curious, I would always wonder how wines are made, how did this beverage that won the hearts of people worldwide came from? Then I began researching about how they are made, the fermentation process, from the vines to the bottle of wine. After much drinking and perhaps a little of drama and seeing the gorgeous pictures of vineyards and the lobs and lobs of grapes, going to a winery and seeing the vines for myself has always been on my mind! I even had a wild moment of thinking of being a sommelier or even a wine maker, although a vacation job seems more likely! It has always said that a journey is always the best way to learn! This virgin winery visiting of mine is definitely gonna be a new elevation in my knowledge and appreciation of the notes and taste of the wine in the future. Let me share on the amazing, fruitful, picturesque and educational journey of mine in Yarra Valley, the go to places for wines in Melbourne.
In the previous episode, I mentioned that I was at Brighton, from there it is roughly about an hour of drive to Maroondah Highway in Yarra Valley where you would find winery after winery! Absolutely a man heaven! You just gotta choose which is the one you would like to go! Renowned brands such as Chandon, Oakridge, Dominique Portet, scenic restaurant and also other worthy places like chocolaterie and also farms are all available at Yarra Valley. Given the short distance from Melbourne, it is popular for day trip especially over the weekends and on holiday. This also explains the slight delay I had while travelling over, even though it is a Monday, it is actually the Queen Birthday holiday in Australia. i would share a little more on the driving experience I had in another post. i actually had a lot of places in mind at Yarra, however given the consideration of the short daylight and also the fact that I was running late I actually cut down and only visit a couple places.
I reach at about 1030 in the morning at my very first destination, Oakridge Winery. prior to the trip, I had read up and definitely Oakridge is the one winery you had to visit if you are there. Furthermore, I had previously contacted Oakridge and Matt, the Cellar Door Manager would like to give me a tour of the grounds and also take me thru the wine tasting. How Could Seeing The World In Steps give up this great opportunity and also the chance to know so much more from a person who work with the grapes day in day out! IF MATT, YOU ARE READING THIS! I hope to express my sincere gratitude and also my much appreciation to taking the time and effort to show me around. I really learned a lot and you have made my trip so much more memorable! Even before I had even entered the building, the grounds of the winery and vineyard already left me speechless. Given that we were there at the Autumn winter time, despite being the withering period, the grounds had trees with golden and red leaves on them.The scene of them on either sides of the waving route and the vines in the background describe such an lovely scene. It illustrate such an romantic scene like in a Korean drama, I would love to hold my loved ones hand and walk into the winery together! Located on a mean slope, with the vines on them, the main Oakridge building is right inside, parking are available. Upon meeting up with Matt at the Cellar Door, he first brought me around the grounds, explaining to me about the process and also their wines. I even had the chance to look at their production and also the current batch of wines that are being aged in the oak barrels.
Wine tasting are provided at the Cellar Door and bottles of wine could be bought straight here too. Matt brought me through a in depth tasting of their Chardonnay which they are famed for. I especially love the 2015 vintage from Barkala Ridge Vineyard and gotten a couple back. The winery actually had vines located in other region of Yarra Valley in addition to those on their grounds. This place has an absolute great view of the vineyard too! You could’t do yourself justice if you didn’t had a glass of wine to go along with that view! There is also a restaurant located onside and it looks packed, fine dining with the perfect weather and such a view, how better could it get?
The grounds are so enchanting, you could just bust your camera battery here. The tasting room was the perfect spot, having an overview of the whole area! Take a stroll, take a seat, enjoy the breeze and the sun. It is also possible to go near to the vines, however it is important not to steep into the vines as in the Yarra Valley to prevent the spreading of a bacteria in the area that would destroy the vines by our shoes.
The second place that I head to was Chandon! Located a short 5 mins drive away. Being a fan of Champagne, how could I miss out on visiting the sparking wine winery opened by Moet & Chandon. The reason that they call themselves Chandon and sparkling wine is due to the law protecting Champagne produced with grapes from the region in France. It is worth visiting a couple winery in Yarra, all of them have slightly different landscape and scenery. While I would say that the Oakridge one looks a little like a golf course to me while this actually looks more modern, like a family park. It is located down a slope, full of vines, trees and also people! Significantly, after all it is famous brand! Which means that the winery is actually more commercialise, packed with tour groups and many many china tourists. Together with the other crowd, honestly I find it a little less fun and enjoyable. Personally I tend to socialise winery or chateau to something rare and laid back. However what I love about Chandon were the views over the vines towards the hills and horizon, there were just that seductive. The building of the winery and cellar door itself were also gorgeous, looking more like a historical one, with the usage of bricks and wood.
Of course! After all the views and greens that I have been talking about, you guys must be thinking of the booze part. The cellar door of Chandon was stunning and captivating, unlike the previous bright and glassy look, Chandon goes for heritage, making you feel homely and welcomed, together with the gorgeous view of the picturesque valley. Like a crowded greenhouse like building, the activity is around the horseshoe like bar with many crews serving out wine tasting and describing the wine to the tasters. It is worth taking note that tasting are chargeable in Chandon, where it would be 10AUD per person and it takes you along the main 6 produce of the winery. A 5AUD credit may then be applied to the purchase off the cellar door. From the main vintage brut, vintage brut rose to their rose and pinot noir variants. Furthermore you even get to try their red wines, which is really such an surprise for a Sparking wine and Champagne company. I really love their rose Sparkling Pinot Noir Shiraz NV and gotten myself a bottle of it. Spicy yet slighty sweet together with scent of berries. It is a good one. The grounds are great but being such a commercialised winery, I didn’t really like it in compared to the previous one.
The last winery that I visited was Dominique Portet! This is a more of a smaller scale, family run kind of brand. Definitely hands down to the couple staffs on site that plays multiple role. As such, the bottles that are produced are also significantly lesser and you might not have come across their wines in your country. It felt warm, inviting, much more personalised and engaging in compared to the other bigger names. If I had to choose, this winery represent the most gorgeous and I mean really really beautiful. The charm, the magical pull the grounds and the building has on my is just unimaginable! The vines and the scenery siting right in front of the french style chateau building.
It had been some time since the brunch I had at Hammer & Tong earlier, seeing that they had a small little cafe, we ordered a plate of their Croquette which was pretty delicious! Given that it is a small winery, the tasting at the cellar door are actually chargeable and they even had a special French Oak Barrel wine tasting which I had opt to go for! Costing 15AUD.
There at Dominique Portet, I met a local winery hand whom was giving me the tour, she has been working here, learning the ropes about wine making after finishing her studies in wine. She brought me thru their facilities, showing me the equipment and explaining to me in detail on the making their wine and how the bringing in of techniques from the French have helped the quality. Furthermore, she shared a little on the overturning of bottles in the sparkling wine making process. We ended the off the session with a tasting session. She even charge me a single rate, when I am the only one whom would like to taste the wines! I had the opportunity to taste a few, from the sweet and fruity ones to the spicy shiraz! With information on the wine notes and how the ageing in the oak barrels have change the wine flavour. I even tasted they trademark 2012 Andre Cabernet Sauvignon which cost 180 bucks each!
Above, I share how marvellous this venue was, on it they even had a little siting area with wooden armchairs with tables, which is perfect for having picnic or like many of the people, whom gotten a bottle of wine and do it right outside! I may even had a little life pondering for about 5 mins here, simply staring into the air! Some of the places that I missed out this time around would be the Innocent Bystanders Restaurant & Winery, Rayners Orchard, Yarra Valley Chocolatier & Ice Creamier and many more other winerys and farms. There is also a lavender farm which I would love to come int he future. A tip would be packing more bottles of water in your car and hydrate yourself excessive after hopping around the winery. It is frequent to see cops doing checks on the outskirts of Yarra Valley, specifically to deter drink driving.
Some of the other famed wine region that I hope to visit would be Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa Valley and also Hunter Valley. Seeing perhaps why some bottles are so famed and cost to upwards of hundred of thousands of dollars! This trip was really perfect, an eye opener and definitely a change of scenery of the usual scene that I am use to in my life. I am absolutely gonna visit other famed wine region in the world next time.