Australia may be known for its jammy reds, but further south there are spectacular wines that run the full gamut of refinement. The epicentre of natural wine and alternative varietals, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley sees us visit vineyards both grand and boutique. Sample single-vineyard Pinots, award-winning Chardonnays and rich Bordeaux blends. On the Mornington Peninsula, the Burgandian-style Pinot Noir comes into its own alongside fresh, apple-peel whites. Tasmania welcomes us to its capital, Hobart, the perfect base from which to explore the emerging regions of the island. The stunning amphora-aged reds, crisp sparkling wines and sultry, suave whites produced here are sure to leave you with a favourite new wine region that stays with you long after this tour ends.
A multi-cultural society, Melbourne is a hub of museums, the arts and attention-grabbing eateries. Home to exciting performing arts centres and fantastic cafés alike, spend time getting to know this city in creative and delicious ways. Tasmania boasts similar offerings.
The epicurean city of Melbourne is known for its thriving gastronomic scene. We sample terrific cuisine both on and off the barbecue while in Australia, and the restaurants we eat at range from properties with biodynamic, organic gardens to a Victorian mansion-turned hotel.
The Yarra Valley is said to have put New World Chardonnay on the map and here we can enjoy comparisons of this varietal. Other wines include elegant Pinot Noirs, zippy Rieslings and alternative grapes that are being pioneered by innovative, local-area wine-makers.
We depart from London Heathrow and travel to Melbourne arriving on the morning of the second day. We enjoy a group dinner together this evening.
We check out after breakfast and depart Melbourne for the Yarra Valley. Our first visit is to Giant Steps owned by Phil Sexton who originally owned Devils Lair in Margaret River. Lunch is at Mac Forbes and this afternoon there is an optional visit to the Healesville Sanctuary, a bushland haven for native Australian wildlife with a strong conservation approach. This evening is at your leisure.
Our day begins at Yarra Yering, founded in 1969 and known for its concentrated blends. We move onto the state-of-the-art Oak Ridge Winery, where we sample its produce over lunch. Later, there will be some free time to explore the area and then we can return to our hotel.
This morning we visit winemaker Sandra du Puy who is responsible for the iconic Yeringberg wines known for their great ageing potential. Our visit here is often a highlight. We move on to Jamsheed, an internationally lauded winery, the brainchild of Gary Mills. Dinner tonight is included in a winery restaurant
We begin at the forward-thinking Quealy Wines, known for making Methode Ancestrale sparkling and amphora-fermented wines. Next, it’s on to lunch at the quirky winery named Ten Minutes by Tractor, one of the best known Mornington Peninsula producers. Its reds are made in small, open-topped fermenters with wild yeasts and are matured for 11-15 months in French oak. Our final stop is at the award-winning, family-run Ocean Eight winery.
Today, we visit the small but mighty Eldridge Estate of Red Hill. Its wines epitomise an elegant Burgundian style of Pinot Noir and we are lucky enough to enjoy a tasting session during our time here. Next, we head to Crittenden Estate, meeting the very hands-on family themselves and gaining an insight into the region’s evolution. We have an optional visit to Pt Leo Sculpture Park, where Phil Wood’s food highlights the flavours of locally sourced ingredients. Tonight, we sit down to a special dinner.
We fly to Hobart, Tasmania. We visit Home Hill Estate and begin our Tasmanian wine education with some of the island’s most award-winning Pinot Noirs. Later, there is time to unwind and then we are treated to dinner in Hobart. A special guest in the form of a prominent local wine producer will join us for our meal tonight.
Beginning our day at the Derwent Estate, we discover that the grapes here are bought by well-respected names, such as Penfolds for use in their Yattarna wine. Next, we have lunch at Stefano Lubiana Wines’ osteria before indulging in a tutored tasting of sparkling wines, hosted by our guide. The remainder of our evening will be spent at leisure.
We start our penultimate day at the Glaetzer-Dixon winery, home to 2011’s Young Winemaker of the Year, Nick Glaetzer. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Hobart. Maybe take the 10-minute ferry ride up to Moorilla Winery where you can taste these wines independently and also explore the Museum of Old and New Art. We enjoy a group farewell dinner this evening.
We hope to fit in one more tasting before our flight home today. If you have chosen to take the group international flights, today you will fly from Hobart to London (via a connecting flight, landing in London on Tuesday 10th Dec). If you have booked your own international flights then we say goodbye to you in Hobart after the final winery visit. If you are leaving Hobart today, you are advised to book your flight from Hobart for after 13:30.
A former lawyer, Sarah made the career switch after being inspired by a wine-tasting course. She also published The Wine Detective website, where she confesses: “I love sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm about wine through tasting, wine writing and now wine tours.” She was recently named Honorary Australian Woman in Wine at the Australian Women in Wine Awards 2017 for making a significant contribution to Australian wine in the UK. After beginning her wine career at Oddbins in 2000, Sarah has since become an authority on the wines of Portugal and Australia, writing for Decanter and the World of Fine Wine – making her an idyllic guide for our Melbourne and Tasmania tour.
*For UK bookings only