Victoria boasts over 850 wineries, of which 650 have cellar doors, in 21 distinct wine regions. A surprising number of those are situated a stone’s throw from the city limits of Melbourne, and warrant at least a day trip or two, if not more, to experience some of the countries finest wines at their source.
Enjoy cellar door tastings and dine on local produce at winery restaurants. From the cool-climate varieties of the Yarra Valley to the sparkling’s of the Macedon region, you can create your own Victorian wine experience.
Wine Regions around Melbourne
The wine region that started it all, of course, is the Yarra Valley. Sample the grapes and marvel at the harmony of diverse soils, temperate weather, and the dedication of generations of vignerons in the pioneering region that kick-started Victoria’s wine industry in 1838. The region boasts a broad range of fine wines within the hallowed walls of historic Victorian viticultural institutions, or discover secret winery gems that sommeliers would love to keep to themselves.
In the Mornington Peninsula you’ll taste different styles as you cruise the compact region. Climate, topography, land and soil structure create distinct micro-climates around the hinterland villages of Red Hill, Main Ridge and Moorooduc, and Merricks, Balnarring and Dromana on the coast. Chat with other wine buffs over your tasting journey, or relax and take advantage of award-winning winery restaurants, casual eateries, accommodation and broad sundecks.
A trip to the Macedon region promises some of Australia’s best sparkling wine, and the ranges’ high altitude and cool climate provide perfect conditions for elegant chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Most of the local wineries boast their own label of ‘Macedon’, a term once used for their sparkling wines, but there is also award-winning riesling and cabernet sauvignon, all produced in small-scale, family-owned wineries.
Explore the Geelong wine region’s diverse sub-regions from surf coast to volcanic plains making its food, wine and landscape resist any ‘cool climate’ label. Taste varieties with a subtle European style such as Chardonnay and Shiraz. Geelong was the largest grape-growing region in Victoria in the 1800s, and it has undergone a renaissance in the last couple of decades as winemakers rediscover rich soils and a climate that is halfway between France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy.
You’ve barely left Melbourne behind when you find yourself in the Sunbury wine region, exploring vineyards that were winning awards in the 1850s and still producing long-lasting red wines. Taste shiraz and chardonnay in the 1860s bluestone cellar door at Craiglee in Sunbury and cross the road for more history at Goona Warra. You’ll find sumptuous wines and bites to eat among the orchards in Bacchus Marsh, overlooking dams in Glenlyon and in the paddocks around Gisborne.
All of this lies within an hour and half’s drive of the city of Melbourne. Whether you’re a Melbournian local or are just popping in for a visit, it’s well worth your time to venture just beyond the city limits and embrace a slower pace, a fresher produce and a finer drop.
Information courtesy of: http://www.visitvictoria.com