If you’re a wine lover who is visiting Melbourne, there’s one trip that you absolutely have to make. That’s a visit to the Yarra Valley wine region, the birthplace of Victoria’s booming wine industry. The Yarra Valley is less than an hour’s drive east from the city centre and it’s home to many of Australia’s most famous and well-regarded wineries.
The region is divided into two subregions, the Valley Floor and the Upper Yarra. Across these two subregions, there are a staggering one hundred and sixty wineries to visit! That’s a lot of wine to try and of course, it’s impossible to see even a fraction of them in a single trip.
Fortunate to live just an hour’s drive away, we’ve made a few wine tasting pilgrimages to the valley during our twelve years in Melbourne. In that time we’ve visited quite a few wineries. Some we’ve quite enjoyed, others not so much and some of them are our absolute favourites.
If you’re planning a trip to the Yarra Valley in the future, here are six wineries that we really love. The best part is that they are all quite close to each other and you can visit them all in one day. Just make sure that you have a designated driver!
No visit to the Yarra Valley is complete without first visiting the place where it all began. Yering Station was the first vineyard to open in the Yarra Valley. Its original vines were planted in 1838 by the Scottish-born Ryrie brothers. Yering Station’s wines are world class and many are award-winning.
Make sure you visit their cellar door, still housed in the original winery building (circa 1859), to taste their full range. Why not take home a few bottles for later!
Address: 38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
In the last few years, TarraWarra Estate has become one of the must-visit wineries in the Yarra Valley. Built on the top of a hill, the estate overlooks acres of vineyards and a small lake. The view is to die for and of course, the wines are pretty fabulous too. TarraWarra Estate is well known for its exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The estate’s architecturally designed cellar door is interesting in itself. It is built into the hillside, making it feel a bit like a rabbit (or hobbit?) hole. The restaurant is a great place to stop for a nice lunch, especially because the kitchen mainly uses produce from their own garden and from local farms.
Before you leave the estate, be sure to make a quick stop at the TarraWarra Museum of Art to check out art pieces from popular contemporary Australian artists.
Address: 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
Not your usual winery, Innocent Bystander is set in a former brewery, giving it more of a beer hall vibe than the usual cellar door experience. The wine is served out of temperature-controlled draught taps and you can order carafes or wine flights which arrive in beakers. It’s such a quirky idea and it makes you feel like you are back in science class!
The on-site restaurant serves yummy wood-fired pizzas and other shared dishes to nibble on while you sample their wines. The best part is that the wines at Innocent Bystanders are excellent and very moderately priced. The food is also a lot cheaper than other wineries in the area.
On a summers day, be sure to try a glass of their popular Moscato, especially if you enjoy a sweeter wine.
Address: 316-334 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
Dominique Porter, a Ninth-generation winemaker from the Bordeaux region in France, founded this estate in 2000. Now his son, Ben, heads up the winemaking team. With so many generations of winemakers, these guys know exactly what they are doing and they produce some pretty top-notch vino! They specialise in sparkling wine, sauvignon blanc, rosé, cabernet sauvignon and our favourite, their Shiraz.
Their wines are truly worth the visit but another great part of visiting the Dominique Porter cellar door is that it feels like visiting a winery in the South of France. It has a French provincial feel to it and if you are hungry, the terrace café offers some simple but delicious French style dishes to go perfectly with your wine.
Address: 870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Oakridge Estate stretches across ten hectares and is surrounded by the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. It’s another family-owned estate that not only produces outstanding wines but also serves fantastic food in their on-site restaurant.
The Oakridge dining room uses the freshest local produce to create a modern and innovative cuisine. Visitors to Oakridge can combine great wines, breathtaking views and a truly memorable food experience.
When we visited in Autumn, we found this winery to be a real delight with beautiful autumn colours spread throughout the vines and the surrounding trees.
Address: 864 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Even if Domaine Chandon is probably one of the most touristy wineries in the Yarra Valley, it’s still a must-visit destination, if only for its spectacular views. Of course, the best way to admire those views is to pair them with a lovely drop of bubbles. Domaine Chandon does sparkling wine at its best. How could they not? After all, their traditional methods come to us straight from the grand French Champagne house Moët and Chandon!
Address: 727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, Victoria
A Map of the Valley
Here’s the all important map of where to find these six amazing wineries:
Alternative Ways to Enjoy the Yarra Valley
With so much amazing wine available to taste in the valley, it can be tough being the designated driver! An excellent alternative to driving yourself is to take a guided tour. That way everyone can enjoy the day safely. For a tailored, private group tour of Yarra Valley wineries, check out Wine Compass.
If you’d like to spend more than just the day in the Yarra Valley, there are plenty of good accommodation options available. Use the search box below to find yourself a great deal: