Review: Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne with Vinetrekker inner banner

Review: Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne with Vinetrekker

Victoria's gorgeous Yarra Valley harbours a huge number of winery cellar doors and gourmet food experiences. This deluxe food and wine tour will see you sipping and supping in style, while someone else does the driving.
Review: Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne
Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne
Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne: De Bortoli. Image: Visit Victoria

Top Oz Tours offers a great range of Melbourne tours and experiences. You can book this tour here.

Whether you’re a wine expert, an enthusiast, or you lie somewhere in between, the Yarra Valley is a name you’ll be familiar with.

Located just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne in southern Victoria, this cool-climate wine region is famous for its pinot noirs and chardonnays, along with characterful cabernets and shiraz. It’s home to around 90 wineries — with dozens of cellar doors open to the public. With so much choice, even the savviest of wine buffs would need help deciding which ones to visit. Enter Vinetrekker.

Today I’m joining ten guests and a very knowledgeable guide named Stephen (who has been leading wine tours for some 15 years) on Vinetrekker’s popular Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne. This tour showcases the wide variety of Yarra Valley wines on offer, and provides tips for how to pair them with food. The tour takes in five wineries, from small to large and old to new.

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We soon reach our first stop — Coldstream Hills. This winery was established by renowned wine critic and commentator James Halliday in the 1980s. It’s now in the hands of chief winemaker Andrew Fleming. ‘Don’t feel obliged to try everything’, says our host Keith, lining up wine glasses on the counter, ‘and it’s okay to tip it out’. While it seems positively sinful to waste good wine, I soon see what he means. We’re invited to taste around a dozen vintages, beginning with an award-winning sparkling and ending with a new pinot noir. With four more wineries to visit, a sensible tasting strategy is called for. I decide on a ‘sip and tip’ technique — where no glass shall be drained, no matter how amazing its contents. Well, perhaps I’ll put that into practice at our next stop.

Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne
Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne. Image: Medhurst Wines

From there, it’s a drive of all of three minutes to boutique Medhurst Wines, where some delicious-looking homemade bread and dips are laid out to accompany our wine tasting. This small family-run winery was first planted in 2000, making it one of the valley’s youngest vineyards. Just 15 hectares of the property are under vine, with plantings of chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and shiraz. The emphasis here is on quality small batch wines, and it shows.

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Next on our itinerary is Domaine Chandon. Billed as Australia’s only winery with true French heritage, it was founded in 1986 as the Australian arm of French giant Moet and Chandon. Stephen helps us navigate the winery’s self-guided tour to see how its famous sparkling wines are made. We’re invited to enjoy a flute of our choice from four options as a pre-lunch aperitif. The crisp Chandon Rose is a perfect palate cleanser. So much for that ‘no glass shall be drained’ rule. Just this once.

Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne
Domaine Chandon. Image: Visit Victoria

We move on to Yering Station, which is our much-anticipated lunch stop — and it doesn’t disappoint. I decide on the barramundi with zucchini roulade, washed down with a glass of sweet riesling (OK, so just twice I’ll break the ‘no glass shall be drained’ rule!). One could happily sit here all day taking in the panoramic views of the vineyard and valley, but there’s more wine to taste. With plantings dating all the way back to 1838, Yering is among the Valley’s most venerable wineries. We’re treated to a taste of some of their top-of-the-range reserves, along with a cold-pressed riesling.

Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne
Yarra Valley Food and Wine Tour from Melbourne: Yering Station. Image: Visit Victoria

Shiraz grapes can be seen ripening on the vine as we approach our final stop for the day — De Bortoli. This powerhouse of Australian wine-making produces millions of bottles a year across several regions (including 1.2 million bottles here in the Yarra Valley alone). Our tasting is rounded off with the winery’s flagship Noble One dessert semillon, which former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd famously judged to be fit for the papal palate. We also get to sample a selection of zesty local cheeses.

With lunch and a glass of wine at Yering Station, a glass of sparkling at Chandon, and all other tasting fees included in the price, this tour is good value for money and a lovely way to taste-test the best of the Yarra Valley.

The writer travelled as a guest of Vinetrekker. You can book this tour here.

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Additional images: Bigstock

Louise Reynolds

About the writer

Louise Reynolds made up her mind at the age of about four that she would one day travel the world — and has so far visited around 30 countries across five continents and the Pacific. A hopeless Francophile, she has a particular love for France, its language, and pretty much all things French. Louise’s favourite way to see the world is on foot and her boots have taken her walking on famous trails in Europe, South America, and New Zealand. She also has a passion for her home state of Victoria and loves exploring its diverse regions.

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