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.
Soon after our arrival into Australia, we will be treated to a delicious welcome lunch and tasting session before checking in and enjoying a little free time to settle in. In the evening, our Wine Guide introduces us to the region and showcases alternative varietals that Australia uses in wine-making.
Our day begins at Yarra Yering, founded in 1969 and known for its concentrated blends. Shiraz, Merlot and elegant single variety Chardonnay are fantastic here. We move on to the state-of-the-art Oak Ridge Winery where we sample its wines. After free time to explore the area, we return to our hotel.
At the Mac Forbes winery, we indulge in wines that embody clarity and beauty, before visiting Giant Steps to sample single vineyard Pinot Noirs over lunch. We visit Healesville Sanctuary, before a meal at the renowned De Bortoli estate.
The iconic Yeringberg is our first stop today and from here we pay a visit to Jamsheed. The brainchild of Gary Mills, it is an internationally lauded winery that produces creative, interesting representations of the southeast Australian terroir. We will have dinner at Chateau Yering’s elegant restaurant.
We begin at the forward-thinking Quealy Wines, which is known for making Methode Ancestrale sparkling and amphora-fermented wines. On to the quirky 10 Minutes By Tractor winery, one of the best known Mornington Peninsula producers. Its reds are made in small, open-topped fermenters with wild yeasts and then matured for 11-15 months in French oak. Ocean Eight is our final tour stop for the day and this family-run winery is not only award-winning, but fantastic.
Today we visit the small but mighty Eldridge Estate of Red Hill. Its wines epitomise an elegant Burgundian style of Pinot Noir and we will be lucky enough to enjoy a tasting session here. Our next visit is to Yabby Lake, where we also sit down to lunch with views over the property’s stunning vines. Later, there will be free time to take in our surroundings at leisure before a special dinner at one of the most awarded wineries in Australia – Paringa Estate. Rich Chardonnays and elegant Pinots await.
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, we enjoy time to unwind and then we will be treated to dinner in Hobart. A special guest – a prominent local wine producer – will join us for the meal.
Beginning our day at the Derwent Estate, we discover that the grapes here are bought by well-respected names, such as Penfolds for their Yattarna wine. Next, we have lunch at Stefano Lubiana Wines’ Osteria before a tutored sparkling wine tasting hosted by our esteemed Wine Guide.
We start at the Glaetzer-Dixon winery, where Nick Glaetzer was named Young Winemaker of the Year in 2011. Afterwards, we take a ferry to the Moorilla Winery, which is known for its excellent boutique wines. Before our touring ends and free time begins, there’s an optional visit to Sullivan’s Cove whiskey distillery – a drink that Tasmania has a growing reputation for!
Before we catch our return flight, we stop by the Pooley Estate for a tasting and also make time to visit Frogmore Creek, an organic winery where its owners ‘let fruit do the talking’.
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.