As you drive through the sweeping vineyards and rolling hills of the Yarra Valley, you can not help but feel a sense of growing curiosity. Then you find yourself driving towards a cellar door or vineyard that you have never visited, but instinct tells you it was well worth the diversion from your usual wine-tour route. It is here you discover for yourself the hidden secrets and pure delight of the smaller wineries of the Yarra Valley region.
Family-owned and run, these unassuming wineries offer a very different experience and it’s not uncommon for the smile who greets you at the door to be that of the winemaker or vigneron whose creation you are about to savour. Only at these smaller wineries can casual visitors get such a personal insight into the vintage - its challenges, nuances and accomplishments.
Over the years, the reputation and popularity of the Yarra Valley has grown deservedly. Determined not to be overshadowed, a group of smaller wineries banded together a number of years ago to create the Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries Association – a group whose combined range extends to a number of different styles, from the handcrafted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and Shiraz for which the Yarra Valley is celebrated, to other styles such as Sparkling, Rose and Fortified wines.
All the wineries in the group are open on weekends and public holidays with some open 7 days. They are host to or support various events throughout the year including the group’s ‘Shortest Lunch’ held in June over the year’s shortest weekend.
So get in your car with the spirit of discovery, grab a map and explore some of the quieter yet highly rewarding wineries in the Yarra Valley – you’re in for a pleasant surprise.