We asked the specialists at Wine Compass to shine a spotlight on two wine regions in Victoria, south east corner Australia – the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. These cool climate regions produce something very different to what a lot of people expect from Australian wine, and are also amazing places to visit.
The Mornington Peninsula is actually quite a bit colder than the Yarra Valley, which means it produces quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris (the home of Pinot Gris in Australia).But of course it produces dozens of other varieties too, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Friulano, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as sparkling and rose style wines. winecompass.com.au/mornington
Combine beach with wine and food
It may not be so well known internationally as the Yarra Valley, but locally it is renowned for its beautiful location with beaches on both sides affording spectacular views, giving the opportunity to combine time at the beach with wine tastings and lunch. The food on offer here is first class with many amazing lunch venues, dairies, farm gates and chocolateries. It’s a mecca of food and wine for Melbournians and Peninsula locals alike.
There are a number of smaller, boutique wineries like Kerri Greens that are well worth a visit. This lesser known gem is run by two couples both in their 30’s. They have a different take on wine making with their minimal intervention and a modern approach to classic styles.
The winery has a small, friendly family feel, and the wines are simply stunning. They are happy for visitors to bring picnics and enjoy them along with wines on the lawn overlooking the vines.
Another spot with a breath taking view is Tucks – also a favourite lunch destination. The wines here are good quality and showcase the traditional best varieties of the Peninsula.
It’s a great place to follow a tasting with a share-plate-feast of modern Australian casual fare whilst looking down the valley towards the vines: great wines, great view and great value food.
For Melbournians, the Yarra Valley has something of a reputation of offering larger winery big bus tours. However, there are plenty of smaller more intimate cellar doors, where you get the best experiences offering a more personal touch. winecompass.com.au/yarra-valley
Largest wine region in Victoria
The Yarra Valley is the largest wine region in Victoria and is also classified as a cool climate which means it is perfect for growing some more delicate varieties, but it also produces more restrained versions of wines like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s famous for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Rose. However, there are also dozens of other varieties to be enjoyed including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Merlot, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.
Smaller boutique wineries in abundance
As well as producing world class wines, the Yarra Valley is a great place to visit. There are indeed the larger more touristy wineries to visit, but there are also smaller, more boutique wineries in abundance.
Combine top wines, with quality cellar doors, an amazing landscape and the Yarra Valley is a wine destination that should be up near the top of travellers’ lists.
Killara really has the wow-factor as far as settings go.
Following a tasting, visitors in the know head for the restaurant and deck and sit looking out over a large grassy area and the vines.
The service is relaxed but attentive, and they serve top wines and great Italian food. Served with a glass or two of wine the pizzas, cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven, come highly recommended.
Payten & Jones
Payten & Jones up at Healesville offer a cool and different style cellar door- definitely not one to be missed. They are producing and serving excellent wines with minimal intervention against a background of way-out funky street art murals.
It’s perfect for a wine tasting followed up by a glass of wine, beer or cocktail made with local spirits. Fun, friendly, great wines and super cool.
A different perspective on Australian wines
As far as the world is concerned Australian wines are often synonymous with the big Shiraz of the warm-climate Barossa Valley or the bargain wines produced in the even warmer Riverland region.
But Australia has so much more to offer from a wine perspective, it’s no secret to locals, but is sometimes lost on international visitors; so make time and head off to the Mornington Peninsular and the Yarra Valley.
Wine Compass offer a wide range of private and public wine tour days to the Mornington Peninsula or theYarra Valley of South East Australia with pick-ups from Melbourne and local accommodation. winecompass.com.au