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The rolling hills of the Yarra Valley are a must-see for anyone visiting Melbourne. Located less than an hour from the CBD the Yarra Valley is bursting with award-winning wineries. From a crisp Brut to a plush Malbec, the Yarra Valley boasts a wide range of varieties. The most notable are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both of which thrive in the coolish climate.
With 80 or so cellar doors to choose from your only worry will be which wineries to visit. Since worrying is bad for your health, we'll make it easy for you. Here are our picks for the 5 best wineries in the Yarra Valley.
You may be wondering if Chandon is connected to the Champagne stalwart that is Moët & Chandon. It's no coincidence in fact... Decades ago the founder of Chandon ventured beyond the ancient vines of France to conquer the world. He struck gold in the loamy soil of the Yarra Valley.
It should come as no surprise that Chandon specialise in sparkling wine. And that they uphold their French heritage in their wine making. Méthode traditionnelle all the way. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier blends. Bottle age for at least 18 months. Truly brilliant.
A tasting is a good way to kick off your visit to Chandon and there are a couple of options:
A splash sample of a range of Chandon's still and sparkling wines. The cost is $12 person with $6 refundable on bottle purchase.
A taste of 4 premium Chandon sparkling wines followed by a full flute of your favourite. The cost is $20 per person with $6 refundable on bottle purchase.
The grounds at Chandon are stunning. Sweeping vistas of the vines stretching out into the rolling hills of the valley. Casual outdoor tables are dotted around the patio (perfect to park on with a cheese board and bottle of your preferred bubbly tipple).
Chandon can get very busy. If you're planning to visit at lunchtime on a weekend then it'd be a good idea to call ahead.
727 Maroondah Highway,
Coldstream, VIC 3770
+61 3 9738 9200
Open daily, 10.30am - 4.30pm
When the winemaker and owner has named the winery after a jazz album you know the wines are going to be good. If there was ever a music genre that lends itself to making great wine, it'd have to be jazz.
Phil Sexton is a fantastic winemaker. After selling his renowned Margret River winery, Devil's Lair he relocated to the Yarra Valley to do it all again. The winery has 5 picturesque estate vineyards all located in the Yarra Valley. The hand-picked grapes from these vines produce Giant Steps' Yarra Valley Range. These wines are produced with wild ferments and gravity-flow winemaking techniques. They also use minimal fining and filtration.
The result of all this hard work is a highly acclaimed and awarded range. Since 2003 the wines have been awarded over 50 gold medals at international and domestic wine shows.
You can taste the range for $10, refundable on a bottle purchase at the cellar door.
336 Maroondah Highway,
Healesville, VIC 3777
+61 3 5962 6111
Mon - Wed, 11am - 6pm
Thu - Sun, 11am - late
It would be a little biased for Australian wine judge, James Halliday to score the wines of Coldstream Hills. Why? Well, he founded the winery in 1985! Although retired from winemaking, he is still active in the business.
One of Australia's leading small wineries, Coldstream Hills is boutique at heart. They maintain traditional techniques that bring out the best in their fruit. With a particular focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the winery is revered for its Reserve Range. These wines are produced from the pick-of-the-bunch grapes on the estate.
Perched on a hillside the cellar door offers stunning views out to the Great Dividing Range. The view is all the more enjoyable accompanied by a tasting. The guided tasting at Coldstream Hills cost $5 and is refundable on bottle purchase.
29 Maddens Lane,
Coldstream, VIC 3770
+61 3 5960 7000
Open 7 days, 10am - 5pm
Another hillside beauty, Yarra Yering is one of the oldest wineries in the Valley. Planted in 1969, the 70 acres of unirrigated vines bask in the all-day sun at the foot of the Warramate Hills.
It's home to one of the best tastings you'll experience anywhere. The wines at Yarra Yering a top-notch. Current winemaker Sarah Crowe won James Halliday's winemaker of the year in 2017 and it's easy to see why. The list is extensive, from Chardonnay to Cabernet Malbec, there's something here for you if you enjoy wine.
The tasting is available in 3 flights:
This flight showcases the wineries current vintage and currently houses 10 wines.
If you fancy a bit of history then Flight Two is for you. Taste the current vintage as well as 3 museum wines.
Named in honour of the wineries founder, Dr Bailey Carrodus, this flight gives you a glimpse of some special wine. Only 40-50 cases of the Carrodus Range are produced each vintage.
Tasting fees are refundable upon purchase for the individual purchasing.
4 Briarty Road,
Gruyere, VIC 3770
+61 3 5964 9267
Open 7 days, 10am - 5pm
Experiencing the cellar door at Tarrawarra Estate is quite unique. Unlike its hillside neighbours, Tarrawarra is subterranean. The majestic cave-like entrance leads you into an enchanted room of silky delights. If you have the legs for another tasting then you'll be left wanting here. A $5 tasting fee applies, refundable on bottle purchase.
The winery produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, a handful of single-block varieties and a few blends. All of which are handpicked and aged on the estate. Tarrawarra Estate has adopted sustainable practices including using organic fertilisers.
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road,
Yarra Glen, VIC 3775
+61 3 5957 3511
Tues - Sun, 11am - 5pm
It's not only about wine in the Yarra Valley. They also do gin! Four Pillars is a gin distillery in Healesville that has gained international acclaim. Founded by 3 locals with a deep history in the wine industry, the distillery makes some very unique gins.
If the idea of sipping gin isn't something you'd consider, this might change your mind. Barrel aged in French oak anyone? This ongoing experiment created a complex and deliciously sippable gin. And how about this genius? Yarra Valley shiraz grapes steeped in gin for 8 weeks. The result is their Bloody Shiraz Gin. Just like wine, each vintage is different and something to savour.
Tastings are available at the distillery. Be careful if you have perused a few wine tastings prior!
Four Pillars Distillery
2a Lilydale Road,
Healesville, VIC 3777
+61 3 5962 2791
Sun - Thurs, 10.30am - 5.30pm
Fri - Sat, 10.30am - 9pm
What good is a wine region without a specialist dairy? Well, the Yarra Valley need not answer this question because of Yarra Valley Dairy. The cheese factory makes their cheeses from milk produced in neighbouring farms. The range is predominantly Italian and French in style with a nice splash of mature cheeses.
Seriously, is there a better marriage than wine and cheese? Sample the range at the cheese shop, take a wheel home to enjoy with the one of the bottles you picked up during all those tastings!
Yarra Valley Dairy
70 – 80 McMeikans Road,
Yering, VIC 3770
+61 3 9739 0023
Open daily, 10.30am - 5pm
There it is. The 5 best wineries in the Yarra Valley. A wine region worthy of its international acclaim. It really is a must visit during a Melbourne visit and is doable for a day trip.
If one wine region isn't enough to satisfy your palette, then make sure you check out our article on the 5 best wineries on the Mornington Peninsula.