A hop, skip and jump down the road from Melbourne, you find yourself in the green rolling hills of the Yarra Valley.
This friendly wine region has a lot to offer with some prime examples of cool climate chardonnay and pinot noir.
With time up your sleeve and a healthy thirst, your next port of call is to narrow down your selection of cellar doors to visit.
But with 86 cellar doors and counting set within this picturesque landscape of big blue skies and gently rolling hills, where on earth do you start? Even for most of us wine loving women, 86 cellar doors equals a very big wine headache.
To help you with the decision making, and to ensure you make the most of your time in this gorgeous part of Australia, here are five of our favourite Yarra Valley cellar doors for the ultimate wine tasting experience!
Our number one tip? Don’t forget to tell them you’re a fabulous lady when you visit!
Our 5 Favourite Yarra Valley Cellar Doors To Visit
82 Wills Rd, DIXONS CREEK, Victoria 3775 Open: Six days a week (closed Tuesdays) 11.00 – 5.00pm www.fergussonwinery.com.au
This gorgeous Yarra Valley vineyard was first planted by the Fergusson Brothers, Peter and Michael in 1968.
But today, the estate is managed by the truly fabulous Louise Fergusson! And her sons oversee the growing and wine making processes from their 40+ year old vines.
Not only does Louise Fergusson run the wine business, but she’s also a graduate of the prestigious La Varrene in Paris and her outstanding cookery saw her take home a gold medal at Europe’s Culinary Olympics.
No wonder the Fergusson Restaurant is a destination in itself! Overlooking the picturesque vineyard the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day except Tuesdays.
With an emphasis on classic French varieties, Fergusson produce a good range from sparklings through to a muscat.
Starting with a glass of Miss Sapphire NV is a must – as it may be the only bubbly in Australia named after a blue staffy dog!
Then move onto their Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay (yum) before hitting the reds. The Louise Pinot Noir is a must try, and then don’t miss the Jeremy Shiraz and two different offering of Cabernet Sauvignons before a Muscat or Moscato for a sweet finish.
Lot 50 Oliver’s Rd, McLaren Vale Open: Mon – Sun : 10:30am–5:00pm. www.tokarestate.com.au
Tokar Estate has one of the most sensational views of the Yarra Valley in the whole region, plus wines so delicious that they won the Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at the 2015 Yarra Valley wine show.
The best Pinot in the Yarra? That is NO easy feat for a region known for Pinophiles!
A gorgeous, mid-range onsite restaurant makes for the perfect lunch stop. But make sure you book early to request an outdoor table in the warmer months. You won’t be sorry!
It’s not all about glamorous location of course. The Tokar family are seriously fabulous people. Rita and Leon Tokar and son Daniel put their heart and soul into the wines and the property.
They cellar door is open every day from 10am to 5pm.
The restaurant is open everyday for lunch and also on Saturday evenings for dinner.
Joie de Vivre is a delicious place to start! It’s a dry, sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grown on the estate.
Of course, their Pinot Noir is not to be missed, but if you like your reds a little richer, then they also have one of the best Cab Savs in the area and a lovely Shiraz too.
1568 Melba Highway Dixons Creek Yarra Valley Victoria 3775 Open: Mon – Fri : 10:00am – 4:00pm Sat – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm www.mandalawines.com.au
Mandala make great wines that are truly Yarra Valley. And if you’re a Pinotphile, you’re really gonna love them.
Established by the Smedley family in 1999, Mandala has two separate sites under vine, both producing varietals that excel in the region. The Dixons Creek vineyard produces sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, while the second site at Yarra Junction was selected for its exceptional pinot noir growing conditions.
You’ll find their snazzy cellar door and glass house restaurant at the Dixons Creek site. The restaurant has expansive views of the surrounding vineyards and beyond.
They focus on locally sourced, seasonal produce to create an ever-evolving menu.
It’s the Yarra Valley, so it’s probably no surprise to hear that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are a must do at Mandala.
Particularly the Pinot Noir, where they have a gorgeous range of high-end and single vineyard Pinots. But really, everything is worth discovering here. Their Sav Blanc is a real surprise packet.
All current release wines are available to taste in the cellar door every day, and the special single site wines – including ‘The Compass’ Chardonnay, ‘The Prophet’ and ‘The Matriarch’ Pinot Noirs, ‘The Butterfly’ Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘The Rock’ Shiraz – join the list on selected weekends. Back vintages and cellar door only releases are also available throughout the year.
58 Pinnacle Ln, Dixons Creek VIC 3775 Open: Mon – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm www.debortoli.com.au
They’re one of Australia’s first families of wine, and they’re still going from strength to strength! Leanne De Bortoli (and for the record, you pronounce it ‘deh-bort-ali’) and winemaker husband Steve Webber set up the De Bortoli Yarra Valley operation in 1987, which has now grown to 240 acres of vineyards.
We love them for their large range (there really is a De Bortoli wine for every taste, budget and every occasion), their commitment to family and tradition, and their continued striving to produce good quality wines at every price point. The Yarra Valley is not known for producing the best value wine in Australia, but somehow De Bortoli manage to keep their Yarra wines very affordable indeed.
Their cellar door is a must visit when you’re in the region. Not least of which is because in addition to the wine they also have a CHEESE ROOM and offer you the opportunity to do cheese and wine flights.
The De Bortoli Yarra Valley range is extensive, but they also offer tastings of wines from other regions in which they operate.
If you’re planning lunch, then not to be missed is the heart and soul of their Yarra Valley Estate, the Italian inspired restaurant Locale.
Locale is family matriarch Emeri De Bortoli’s vision of a northern Italian-inspired trattoria with skilfully cooked, authentically Italian dishes made with fresh local produce continues to define what they do. It’s all about the De Bortoli family philosophy of sharing good food and wine with family and friends.
870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream VIC, 3770 Open: Mon – Sun : 10:00am – 5:00pm http://dominiqueportet.com/
French style wine from a 10th generation winemaker right here in Victoria’s Yarra Valley? What’s not to love?!
Dominique and his son Ben (the 10th winemaker in the Portet lineage. Yes TENTH!) produce stunning, elegant and flavourful wines drawing on their family’s long winemaking history.
Chances are one or both of them will be floating around the quaint and welcoming cellar door when you pop in, ready to charm you with their wines as well as their smile.
They ain’t famous for their Sparkling Rosé for nothing! Start with that before moving onto their delicious Sancerre style Sauvignon Blanc, and Provincial style, dry Rosé. Those two wines have seen a LOT of fabulous ladies (and lads!) return to a love of Savvy B and pink wine! And they remain two of our absolute favourites here at Fabulous HQ.
Then leave room for their amazing Shiraz, Cab, Merlot blend – which is one of the best value reds in the whole Yarra Valley.
Finally, you can up the ante with the incredible, soft Shiraz sourced from their Heathcote vineyards (nearby) or some of their other premium offerings from their Origine label.
Online Sales Only http://www.journeywines.com.au/
Now that you have tasted your way around the Yarra, how about something a little bit exclusive to remind you how wonderful Pinot country is?
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. – Ernest Hemmingway
We love a bit of Hemingway. And we love a bit of Journey Wines. It’s the gorgeous, boutique, Yarra Valley wine brand of super fabulous winemaker Damian North. We love a bit of Damian too. He’s a lovely guy, making some seriously fabulous wines – using only those varieties that the Yarra Valley does best.
His ‘journey’ as a winemaker has taken him around the world, as he’s followed his passion for making premium Pinot Noir and clean, elegant Chardonnay. He’s now settled in the Yarra Valley, where he sources the fruit for Journey Wines from a number of exceptional vineyard sites in both the Yarra Valley and Heathcote, and makes his wines at the Medhurst winery in the Yarra.
The artwork on the Journey Wines labels tell the story of Damian’s journey in wine. Linocut artist Shana James was commissioned to create a series of unique works that convey the story of the journey in beautiful imagery.
Did somebody say Pinot? Yes, Pinotphiles, you will not be disappointed! Damian spent three whole years making nothing but Pinot during his time in Oregon in the USA. Let’s just say the two of them are now very well acquainted. And at only $34 a bottle, it’s exceptional value for money.
Journey Wines also produces a slinky Chardonnay and a super smart Shiraz. Order online and get them all into you.
Got a favourite Yarra Valley cellar door we haven’t mentioned here? Give ’em a shout out by leaving a comment below!