Having lived in Perth for a few years, wine tours became quite the popular past time for Ms. D, Ms. G and I. I recently had a friend visiting me in Melbourne and as she wasn’t going to make it over to Perth, I thought, we have to go on a wine tour! I was keen to compare the Western Australian and South Australian tours to Victoria’s Yarra Valley wine tour.
I booked our trip for a Friday all day tour (including lunch) for $65. We were to meet on the corner of Flinders and Spencer Street at 9.15am for pick up. We had a great variety of people on our tour from young to old and a friendly driver, this was a good start. We had picked up a coffee for the journey to the Yarra Valley which would take about one hour. Our driver was lovely and pointed out a few houses owned by the rich and famous and the drive itself was pleasant as we got to see much of the countryside.
Our first stop was at Yering Farm. We tasted quite a few wines but the unique thing about this visit was tasting the ‘Pink Lady Apple ‘Syder’ ($6bottle). This ‘syder’ is like nothing I have tasted before and definitely up there with the best I have ever tasted. It is bottled on the farm and sold at the cellar door. I think there may be a few stockists in Melbourne but it is not something you will find easily.
It was nearly 12pm when we arrived at Balgownie Estate. This is where we were having lunch, but first, we tasted some wine! This wine tasting was rather rushed, therefore a little less enjoyable as the next wine was ready to be poured before you had finished the previous wine. As it wrapped up, we were directed to a beautifully set table where we were having lunch. Lunch was preordered from the menu while on the bus. I ordered the Lamb Shank and Ms. P ordered the Chicken Risotto. We had warm bread rolls served as well as a choice of a red or white wine. Red wine would have been delicious with my Lamb Shank but I really enjoyed a white wine that we had tasted and went with that option.
Dinner was served and was terrific. My meat fell off the bone and I couldn’t get enough of that flavoursome sauce, I could have eaten it twice over out of greed. Ms. P also enjoyed her Chicken Risotto. The chicken was tasty and the risotto served as a perfect creamy portion. I definitely picked the Lamb Shank as the winner. We had some time to spare at this venue so we decided to buy a bottle of the white wine we loved and enjoy it outside looking over the vineyard.
At 1.15pm, we were off to Punt Road. If you live in Melbourne, this winery will be an easy one to remember. The tastings were quite limited at this winery and my favourite part was this sign on the wall outside the toilet.
At. 2.10pm, we arrived at Chandon Estate. We passed this little cottage on the way in and of course I had to take a picture. We were taken on a tour inside and given a little bit of insight into the history of the winery and how it stands today. We were led into a room where we could taste the bubbles, my favourite being a red and Ms. P’s favourite a pink. We were able to select a glass of our choice to enjoy. Ms. P and I were peckish so we ordered ourselves a Cheese Board ($38).
Just after 3pm, we were on our way back to the city. The Yarra Valley was beautiful but I think my favourite wine tours have been in Western Australia. We only visited 4 places and there were no cheese or chocolate tastings included. When comparing it with Swan Valley Tours, it is quite a trek but you cannot help where a winery is placed.