TarraWarra Estate is conveniently just an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD. The winery lives among the grassy hills of Healesville, in the Yarra Valley, and is home to some of the finest pinot noir and chardonnay around. As well as being a top-tier winery, it’s also home to a fantastic Museum of Art that’s seen some big names exhibit there over time. Visually awing, the building is by Melbourne-based architect Allan Powell, who gathers much attention for his bold designs. The most recent exhibition Patricia Piccinini & Joy Hester: Through love… showcases more than 50 works drawing upon human and non-human relationships. Start your day within TarraWarra Estate’s cellar door before moving through the contemporary art, and then finish with a dining experience at the sleek restaurant: the raw kangaroo, kimchi, and hemp dish is delightful.
Nearly 90 years ago, De Bortoli Wines brought their winemaking styles from Europe to the Yarra Valley. They produce top Italian varieties, and exceptional pinot noir and chardonnay (which are the varieties for which the Yarra Valley is best known). They’re also prominent names in the cheese world: a compatible friend to wine, some might say. The De Bortoli family believe that cheese is “equally as fascinating as wine” noting that behind every cheese “there’s a story”. Head to their Yarra Valley Cheese Room next visit, which showcases local and imported delicacies, paired wonderfully with the estate’s bottles. De Bortoli guests can also embark on exclusive Cellar Door experiences, where their wines and cheeses meet in a private, informative setting.
Gippsland’s beloved Brandy Creek Estate produces highly rated, cooler climate wines, which you can sample at their onsite restaurant and cellar door. Additionally, they offer bathing luxuries and premium beauty treatments at their Brandy Creek Day Spa. Glass windows and cathedral ceilings complement the experience, as do the expansive vineyard views to be enjoyed while your treatments unfurl. An escape for the mind, body and palate, the Brandy Creek Estate offers every kind of indulgence to guests.
Point Leo Estate is right by the sea in Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula. The striking cellar door and fantastic restaurant are key attractions, where shiraz, chardonnay and pinot noir are among the varieties you can try. Another welcome attraction, however, is the sculpture park. The park displays an array of mediums — like wood, ceramic and tile — from numerous artists. Discover the works on a stroll along the coast while breathing in the fresh, salty air. Choose from either a 30-minute walk, or a lengthier 60-minute walk, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not both?
Polperro Winery enjoys a coastal breeze, situated in the Mornington Peninsula's Red Hill. Specialising in pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris, the winery offers plenty to see and do: cellar door experiences, restaurant dining, and stylish villas to reside within. By day, they offer picnics along their bushy creeks — an ideal spot to spend a lazy afternoon lounging. Don’t fret about food, as Polperro staff will bring a hamper to your rug that's top-filled with produce from the estate. Yoga, too, is offered at Polperro.
Wondering what to taste once you've arrived? See James’ tasting notes below of highly-rated bottles from the wineries.
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.
Images credits: Tarrawarra Estate and Pt Leo Estate
WINES TO TRY
White | 2016
Reserve Yarra Valley ChardonnayTarraWarra Estate
Red | 2010
Gippsland Cabernet SauvignonBrandy Creek Wines
Red | 2015
Polperro Mill Hill Mornington Peninsula Pinot NoirPolperro | Even Keel
White | 2011
Point Break Mornington Peninsula Pinot GrisPt. Leo Estate
White | 2017
Vinoque Yarra Valley Vin SauvignonDe Bortoli (Victoria)