One hour’s drive outside of Melbourne, you’ll find a picturesque valley filled with vineyards best known for their Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Yarra Valley is home to approximately 160 wineries and many more vineyards which thrive in the cooler climate, set back from the coast along which Melbourne is located. Wine tasting tours offer wine lovers the chance to glimpse what goes on behind the scenes before tasting the local varietals at their best, right at the source of creation.
It may be tempting to organise your own winery tours in Yarra Valley, given the ease at which you can access the region’s main town Healesville. But letting somebody else organise the specifics, and the driving in particular, allows you the freedom to taste, to sip, and to quaff at will. Yarra’s popularity means there are many options to choose from, ranging from the cheap wine tour of a single winery to private wine tours that incorporate producers that make wines specific to your taste. Here are five of the best wine tours in Yarra Valley from Melbourne.
FROM A$135/per person
Well balanced, full bodied and not too many tannins. That quite aptly describes the itinerary for this excellent food and wine tour from Melbourne. Well, perhaps not the tannins bit. But there’s an excellent mix of food and wine tastings, the latter taking place at two boutique Yarra Valley wineries. Also included is a visit to a chocolaterie and ice creamery (yes please), an Italian lunch at the Killara Estate Winery, and a visit to a microbrewery, where you can defy all conventional wisdom and mix grain in with those grapes.
From A$140/ per person
If you’re looking for a tour that really digs deep into the heart of Victoria state’s wine country, then this tour might be the one. Visiting no fewer than four wineries, you’ll get to see the whole gamut of Yarra Valley’s winemaking process as well as the beauty of the vineyards. There will also be plenty of time dedicated to the cellar door (aka the tasting room) at each spot. Of the estates visited, you’ll try regional wines at Steels Gate Winery and sparkling wine at Domaine Chandon, an affiliate of French Champagne giants Moët & Chandon.
From A$145/ per person
Food, wine, food, wine and food, wine, food. That pretty much sums up the itinerary of this excellent full-day gourmet tour from Melbourne. As though trying to prove that you can have both quality and quantity, during this eight-hour tour you’ll try fruit at an orchard, wines at wineries like De Bartoli and Yering Station, then also sample gourmet chocolate and dairy products such as cheeses at a local farm. There’s also a lunch stop at Rochford Wines, with a meal and a glass of wine. Transport is by bus, which has onboard wifi, with pickup available from a number of hotels in central Melbourne.
From A$135/ per person
As the title suggests, indulgence is yet again a core principle of a Yarra Valley tour that has consistently received good feedback from travellers. This tour starts out with a sharing platter of local produce from the Gateway Estate to line the stomach for a microbrewery tasting. There will then follow two winery tasting tours, with the first one including lunch as well. To round off the indulgence, this tour stops at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, which produces 200 different chocolates. You’ll get the chance to try at least a handful of them. Please note that this tour does not run on Tuesday and Wednesday.
From A$700/ per group
If you know your wines well already and you want to cruise past the vineyards in style, this private Yarra Valley wine tour is ideal. With a price fixed regardless of whether you travel alone or with another person, you’ll get to sit back and watch the picturesque country whizz by from a classic 1956 Chevrolet. Tell your driver and guide along the way what you’re looking for so that the tasting sessions are tailored to your preferences, grab lunch in Healesville and then head back to Melbourne in the afternoon. This tour lasts approximately 4.5 hours and departs in the morning only.