Most Melbournians would agree that the Melbourne Cup Day holiday isn’t the most convenient day off. The break falls on a Tuesday, leaving a workday on Monday, and deciding how to fit the frame can prove limiting. Luckily, there’s a plethora of highly rated wineries just an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD. It’s the perfect distance for a day trip sipping on pinot noir and chardonnay blends. We've curated a selection of top-tier wineries to plan your trip.
The Yarra Valley Region
The Yarra Valley region is no stranger to Melbournians and wine enthusiasts. It’s 45kms east of Melbourne’s CBD and vastly diverse in its offerings. Stunning scenery elicits calm upon to those who visit, which is exactly what one seeks on a day out tasting wines. Plus, with its growing site so variable, exciting varieties are constantly being produced, like world-class chardonnay and pinot noir.
Innocent Bystander should always be top-of-list. Not only do the producers make classic wines of respect to their region, but also varieties from elsewhere around Victoria. Think vintage moscato with grapes from the King valley, and single varietal wines from the Yarra Valley. For something more casual, head to their restaurant and enjoy wood-fired pizzas and cheese from the region.
Not much pairs more eloquently together than wine and contemporary art. At TarraWarra Estate, as well as a top-tier winery, they’re also a museum of art. Their current exhibition, TarraWarra Biennial 2018: From Will to Form, sees 23 artists present anarchic and persistent energies through a range of artistic mediums – like sculpture, painting, performance and film works. The building is designed by Melbourne architect Allan Powell who exempts boldness and intensity. The estate has recently planted shiraz and merlot, and their chardonnay is fresh and balanced, with delicate oak subtleties.
Seville Estate was once considered too cold to grow grapes, but founder Dr. Peter McMahon was determined to prove otherwise. That he did, which inspired his grandson Dylan McMahon to take over the estate. Chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, and shiraz fruit here on old and cherished vines. James Halliday awarded Seville Estate Winery of the Year for its quality of wine and practice.
Macedon Ranges Wine Region
Bitterly cool, and just 69km from the Melbourne CBD, the stimulating Macedon Ranges provides plenty to see and do. Sparkling wine is of prominence within chardonnay and pinot noir varieties, and the sacred indigenous landmark Hanging Rock is a special spot to enjoy silence within.
Sparkling wine is what Curly Flat do best. Their chardonnay and pinot noir varieties are most well known, and their pinot grigio is soft and aromatic. Offering a cellar door experience that’s informal yet informed, visitors feel completely at home.
Variety is of the essence at Hanging Rock Winery. Whether it’s their range of wines at varying price points, art exhibitions plotted throughout the year, or their Speckle Park of purebred cattle, this winery is layered in its offerings. Plus, with a stunning view of Hanging Rock itself, enjoying a glass has never been so beautiful. They are commended for their premium sparkling.
Mornington Peninsula Wine RegionJust a tad further, 76km from the Melbourne CBD, is the Mornington Peninsula – another close by region rich in wine, food and culture. The length of the region provides variety in growing conditions, producing complex wines noting citrus and stone fruits. Nutty and creamy flavours can also be recognised. A region that naturalises high acidity, it births elegant wines.
A well-maintained vineyard run by pioneers in large-scale hospitality, Main Ridge Estate is a comforting visit. Situation on the high points of Arthurs Seat, the climate is of maritime, with no fresh or excessive heat. Enjoy a bottle amongst the soft sounds of the bush.
Please drink responsibly upon your wine adventures. Organising a designated driver makes for a safe return home. There are also plenty of alternatives if you'd prefer private transport.
WINES TO TRY
White | 2016
Yarra Valley ChardonnayInnocent Bystander
White | 2016
Reserve Yarra Valley ChardonnayTarraWarra Estate
Red | 2016
Yarra Valley ShirazSeville Estate
Red | 2015
The Curly Pinot NoirCurly Flat
Sparkling | Non Vintage
Cuvee Ten Macedon Late DisgorgedHanging Rock Winery
White | 2016
Peninsula ChardonnayCrittenden Estate
Red | 2015
The Acre Mornington Peninsula Pinot NoirMain Ridge Estate