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.
We depart from London Heathrow and travel to Melbourne, stopping via Hong Kong.
Today, we are treated to a delicious welcome lunch and tasting. Afterwards, we check in to our hotel and have free time to settle in. In the evening, our Wine Guide introduces us to the region and showcases alternative varietals that Australia uses in its fantastic wine-making.
We begin at the forward-thinking Quealy Wines, known for making Methode Ancestrale sparkling and amphorafermented wines. On to the quirky winery 10 Minutes by Tractor, one of the best known Mornington Peninsula producers. Its reds are made in small, open-topped fermenters with wild yeasts and 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 handson 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 ngredients. Tonight, we sit down to a special dinner at one of the most awarded wineries in Australia – Paringa Estate, where rich Chardonnays and elegant Pinots await.
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. Later, there will be some free time to explore the area and then we can return back to our hotel.
At the Mac Forbes winery, we indulge in wines that embody clarity and beauty, before visiting Giant Steps to sample its single vineyard Pinot Noirs over lunch. In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Healesville Sanctuary to see animals native to this magnificent country and then we sit down to a meal at the De Bortoli estate.
The iconic Yeringberg is our first stop today and then we visit Jamsheed. The brainchild of Gary Mills, it is an internationally lauded winery that produces creative, interesting representations of the southeast Australian terroir. In the evening, dinner will be at Château Yering’s elegant restaurant, where award-winning chefs make incredible use of regional ingredients.
To 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.
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. Afterwards, we take a ferry out to the Moorilla Winery, which is known for its excellent boutique wines. Before our tour ends and free time begins, there’s an optional visit to Sullivan’s Cove whiskey distillery. This is a drink that Tasmania has a growing reputation for and this excursion will show us why!
Today we return to the airport to catch our return flight back home to London.
A former lawyer, Sarah made the career switch after being inspired by a wine-tasting course. She also publishes The Wine Detective website. 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.
*For UK bookings only
This tour includes several nights at a stunning lodge, which is situated among beautiful hills and valleys at the gateway to the unrivalled Yarra Valley wine region. This hotel boasts its own restaurant and bar, both of which are known for showcasing local flavour. Expect comfort, modern facilities and genuine charm.
The epicurean city of Melbourne is known for its thriving gastronomic scene. We will sample some terrific cuisine both on and off the barbecue while in Australia and the restaurants we eat at will range from properties that boast biodynamic, organic gardens to a multiple award-winning Victorian mansion-turned-hotel.
The wonderful Yarra Valley is said to have put New World Chardonnay on the map and here we will enjoy many comparisons of this terrific varietal. Other wines we will taste include elegant Pinot Noirs, zippy Rieslings and the quirky alternative grapes that are being pioneered by these innovative, local-area winemakers.