For food and wine lovers, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley region is a fantastic winter destination.
If you are visiting in Melbourne in winter and want a day out of the cold – a winery tour of the Yarra Valley could be just the right option!
Our tour visits two different wineries for wine tastings and a third for a gourmet lunch. But wine is not the only thing you’ll be tasting on our Gourmet Tour. You can also sample cheese, chocolate, fruits and fruit juices. Our tour has been designed to show off the best of the Yarra Valley’s produce and producers – with a whole lot of fun thrown in along the way.
You’ll start the day in Melbourne, being met by your tour guide and welcomed aboard our heated 24-seater bus. The small group size makes for a fun and easy day, with a chance to get to know each other on tour. Your guide will accompany you to all the stops, as well as give you plenty of information about the region.
Read on to learn about our excellent Yarra Valley tour and why it is a great place to visit in the colder months!
Why you should take a tour to the Yarra Valley in winter
No need to stand out in the cold on this tour. You’ll be welcomed inside at each of the stops, meaning you can stay cosy and warm as you taste the best local produce and wine.
Our tour visits Yarra Farm Fresh, where you’ll visit the produce store / farm shed – and taste a range of the local products they stock. Balgownie Estate is next, for a wine tasting with views to the vineyards.
The Yarra Valley Dairy has a delicious cheese range to taste, inside the century-old milking sheds. Your gourmet lunch at Rochford Winery is in the vineyard restaurant, with an open fireplace.
At Yering Station you’ll step inside the old winery building which now houses the cellar door and art exhibitions. To finish off the tour, you enter the Wonka-like Chololaterie, with walls of colourfully-packaged chocolate creations, and the smell of sugar in the air.
What’s a better way to spend a winter day than to sip, sniff and swirl your way through a wine tasting? It’s surely enough to beat the winter blues. Bring your friends along for a fun time touring and tasting your way around the Yarra Valley.
Our first wine tasting is at Balgownie Estate. One of the Yarra Valley’s most renowned wineries, it’s a great place to get familiar with the region’s best wines.The Yarra Valley is known for its cool climate wines, in particular the pinot noir and chardonnay. You’ll be able to try both at Balgownie Estate, as well as other great wines from their extensive range.
The second wine tasting of the day is after lunch, at Yering Station winery. This vineyard is where the first grapevines were planted in Victoria, back in 1838 on what was then a cattle station. In later years the property became home to a winery – and it is still operating today. A tasting of the Yering Station wine range is a great way to learn more about the region’s winemaking history and how they grow and produce wines today.
Gourmet lunch by an open fire
Balgownie Estate and Yering Station are not the only wineries you will visit on the Yarra Valley Gourmet Tour. Our lunch stop is at Rochford Wines, where you can dine by the open fireplace with views out to the vineyards.
Lunch is included in the tour and you’ll have four options to choose from. All lunch options use local, seasonal produce so the menu changes throughout the year. You’ll also be offered a glass of wine with your lunch, with a red or white wine option to choose from. After lunch tea and coffee are served.
Rochford Winery is well known to Melburnians as it hosts concerts throughout the year in their vineyards. It’s not uncommon to see the concert stage set up alongside the vines, when big name artists are touring Australia. There is a concert series called A Day On The Green, which visits Rochford Winery each year.
Hot chocolate at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
At our last tour stop you’ll participate in a chocolate tasting session at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. Try a range of tasty chocolates, with some unique and delicious flavours. You’ll also learn about their chocolate making techniques and the locally sourced ingredients that they use in their products.
If the tasting has just whet your appetite for more – you can taste their ice cream range as well! You’ll also have time to tour the shop and perhaps grab a few sweet treats for the bus ride home.
Gaze through the big glass windows into the kitchens where the trained chcolatiers will be hard at work creating a range of different goodies. Plus, for our winter tours, a hot chocolate from the Chocolaterie cafe is the ultimate way to finish off an epic day.
What our Yarra Valley Gourmet Tour includes
- Taste some of the valley’s freshest fruits, juices, and other local products at Yarra Farm Fresh
- Sample wine and cheese at the iconic Balgownie Estate – one of the great wineries of the Yarra Valley
- Taste the valley’s freshest cheeses at the Yarra Valley Dairy
- Enjoy a delicious lunch at Rochford Wines – choose from four different meal options and enjoy a glass of Rochford’s quality wine
- Sip away at a wine tasting in one of Australia’s great wineries, Yering Station
- Enjoy an exclusive chocolate tasting at the valley’s sweetest location, The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
What to pack for a winter visit to the Yarra Valley
- A jacket in case you want to venture outside to explore the vineyards
- A bag to carry all the local produce and goodies you might be tempted to buy
- Your wallet (see above!)
- Your phone / camera – there are some great photo opportunities throughout the day
- Your best mates – this is a fun group day out, bring your mates to enjoy it together
Other Melbourne tours to take in winter
If you need a day of indulgence during your visit to Melbourne – this tour is for you! The Peninsula Hot Springs are an ultimate winter destination for Melburninans. When you step out of the cold air and into the hot mineral pools – you’ll understand exactly why! You can spend the morning soaking in the hot springs, indulging in a Turkish steam bath and relaxing under the massage showers. Then spend the afternoon touring the Peninsula in the comfort of our small heated bus.
Great Ocean Road
Winter is the best time to avoid the crowds on the famous Great Ocean Road. Explore the all the highlights of this iconic coastal drive. View koalas in the wild, epic waves on the Surf Coast, incredible views at the 12 Apostles and much more. We visit all the regular stops in winter – minus the summer crowds. Plus you might even catch a spectacular sunset over the ocean at the end of the tour.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au