While summer means day drips to the beach and holidays down by the Great Ocean Road, getaways in Winter are a little more difficult. In Victoria we are always slaves to the weather and when it comes to the middle of the year, we like to plan indoor activities, usually around good food and even better wine. The Yarra Valley just over an hour out of the city fits that bill perfectly offering up some of the best wineries in the state and more good food than you’d ever need in a weekend. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite places to eat, drink, and stay.
The Portets are a French family with ten consecutive generations of winemaking behind them. It’s a recipe for winemaking success. Starting in Bordeaux in the 18th century, today, the Portet name belongs in the Yarra Valley where father and son Dominique and Ben Portet, run the family winery. The cellar door is the epitome of a Mediterranean atmosphere. Simple lunches, wine tastings, barrel tastings, and vintage tours run daily.
870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, Victoria
Coombe Farm Wines
A stunning stop along your trip around the Valley. You can experience the friendly Farm Wines Cellar Door as well as The Melba Estate’s stunning grounds. Here you can head to the second cellar door, grab a glass of wine, and wander the grounds taking in the surroundings and the on-site Gallery. Coombe Farm Wines create boutique wines only selling to a small number of restaurants and fine wine retailers. It’s a treat to be able to try them all. You can then head to their restaurant to make a day of it.
673-675 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, Victoria
Chateau Yering and Eleonore’s Restaurant
Chateau Yering is a stunning historic homestead style hotel that was given new life in 1997 to make it a five-star hotel. It’s something from another world, with period fittings, incredible service, and little toy cats used as ‘do not disturb signs’. It makes the hallways look equally adorable and hilarious at the same time. When dinner time comes around, you’ll feel even more special as you take a seat at Eleonore’s, one of the region’s finest. Go for the tasting menu and the matched wines. When in the Yarra Valley, right?
42 Melba Hwy, Yering, Victoria
Sometimes you want a good old fashioned pub meal in a grand old country pub. And that is exactly what the Healesville Hotel offers. Think oysters, a charcuterie board, beer battered fish with mushie peas, chips, and salad, or a 300g grass fed O’connor’s porterhouse served with house cut frites, spinach, and mustard. It’s won enough awards to prove it’s worth the trip alone.
256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville 3777
Napoleone Cider House and Meletos Cafe
Sometimes you have had a little too much wine for one day. That’s where Napoleone Cider House comes in handy. Napoleone Ciders are handcrafted by the winemakers at Punt Road Wines, resulting in a beautiful crisp taste with just a little bit of sweetness. You can head to their homeland in the Yarra Valley to sample a whole paddle, a pot, or a pint and grab a bite to eat at Meletoes Café. Think Yarra Yalley goats curd with grilled bread and truffle honey, and wood fired pizzas.
12 St Huberts Road, Coldstream, Victoria
Yarra Valley Dairy
While this cheese lover’s haven hardly needs an introduction, we will tell you they started delivering cheeses to local wineries back in 1999 and today have their cheese delivered nationally. The cheese shop, located inside a 100 year old milking shed is the perfect place to try their range, or take some with you for the road. Or both. The Ashed Pyramid of soft goats cheese is a favourite of ours, as is the Yering, a decadent soft cows milk cheese with strong Camembert tones.
70-80 McMeikans Road, Yering
Balgownie Estate offers an all round experience of the Yarra Valley with a restaurant on site (Rae’s Restaurant), Balgownie wines to taste at the cellar door, and a range of cozy modern accommodation options making it the perfect venue to call home for a weekend away. There is also a day spa on site meaning relaxation is literally a stones throw away. The views from the hotel rooms and the beautiful bottles of Balgownie Estate wine in the mini bar don’t hurt either.
1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, Victoria, 3777
The lovely people at Mandala wines believe in good wine, good food, and good company. When they started with just 10 acres of Pinot Noir grapes, who would have thought they’d be getting a 95 scoring from the likes of James Haliday many moons later. Lucky for us the cellar door is open daily. They also have a restaurant, making the good food part a lot easier. Open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday and dinner on Saturdays you can enjoy a beautifully European influenced menu along side your choice of wines.
1568 Melba Highway Dixons Creek Yarra Valley Victoria
Yering Station and Matt’s Bar
Yering Station is one of the most picturesque wineries on the tour. With floor to ceiling windows in the elegant modern restaurant you can see for miles as you sip a glass of bubbles. The seasonal menu is on the fancier side of things with mains like the barramundi, Morton bay bug, celeriac, fregola, goat’s cheese, and almond gazpacho and desserts like the bitter chocolate mousse, roasted white chocolate, bay leaf ice cream, and blood orange. You can also head to the much more casual cellar door for tastings where you can buy a few pantry items at the same time. Matt’s Bar, above the cellar door offers a more relaxed lunch options with some of the same views.
38 Melba Hwy Yarra Glen 3775, Victoria
Healesville Glass Blowing
While we like to try, you can’t spend an entire weekend eating and drinking. Which is why places like the Healesville Glass Blowing studio are perfect inedible adventures. The studio is home to award winning artists Tim Bassett and Tali Dalton, where you can get your hands on glass art – from sculpture, chandeliers and custom lighting to functional blown glass and glass jewellery. You can even watch it all taking place in the mezzanine viewing area.
416-420 Maroondah Hwy Healesville Victoria