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Wine

A guide to the best Yarra Valley wineries and cellar doors

Plan the perfect escape to the Yarra Valley wineries with our carefully curated guide, list, and map to this premier cool climate wine region. 

There is a stunning array of Yarra Valley Wineries and Cellars doors within an hours drive of Melbourne's CBD. To help plan your trip to this spectacular cool climate region we’ve selected a collection of wineries that provide the best cellar door experience plus we’ve included a handy interactive Yarra Valley map down below

While the region is famous for it’s Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir, there’s also a stunning selection of Sparkling wines and innovative savoury Rosés on offer. You can find out more about the wines on offer in our Yarra Valley region guide here .

Yarra Valley Wineries to Visit

Oakridge

Opened in 2013, the striking, architect designed Oakridge cellar door is a sight to behold with its sleek industrial lines in bold contrast to the surrounding vines that creep right to the cellar door windows. The exceptional restaurant headed by executive chef Matt Stone formerly of Melbourne’s Silo and sous chef Jo Barrett from Tivoli Road, serves a local and sustainable menu showcasing the best of Yarra Valley produce. Yet, the true star at Oakridge are the wines, and they are among the region's best. 

864 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the Oakridge Website 

Coombe Farm

The enchanting Coombe Farm cellar door is set within the grounds of the historic Melba House, constructed in 1912 by famed opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. The exquisite gardens, restaurant, providore, Melba Gallery and High Tea that’s held at 2:30pm every Wednesday, all combine for a terrific addition to any visit to the Yarra Valley. Furthermore, the estate grown, limited production wines are elegantly varietal and regionally expressive. Tasting Panelist and wine show judge, Trent Mannell  says, “Coombe Farm is  a remarkable winery and destination with a real sense of history.”

673 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open 9:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday,  9am to 5pm Saturday to Sunday

Visit the Coombe Farm website

Punt Road Wines

The Punt Road Wines cellar door is the perfect place to sample a fine selection of single vineyard, estate grown wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Chardonnay, in particular, are all exceptional. Relax outdoors on the back garden lawn with a Gundowring ice cream or unwind with a quick game of bocce. Tasting Panelist, Adam Walls is rather fond of the Punt Road cellar door  – ‘It has a warm and welcoming feel and the quality of both the cider and wine on offer is very high!”

10 St Huberts Road, Coldstream - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the Punt Road Website

Domaine Chandon

When leading champagne house Moet & Chandon established Domaine Chandon, it gave an overwhelming stamp of approval to the Yarra Valley as a leading location for the cool climate Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. 

Designed by architectural firm Allen, Jack + Cottier, the cellar door and winery melds traditional Champagne architecture with modern Australian design. The cavernous 72,000 bottle climate-controlled riddling hall, stunning colonnade wall joining the original homestead and the gorgeous cellar door and restaurant overlooking their Green Point vineyard are all world class. Yet, what makes Domaine Chandon a must visit during any trip to the Yarra Valley is their terrific self-guided tour of the winery. The informative trail allows visitors to examine up close the full winemaking process from the expansive winery, barrel and riddling halls, all with informative interactive guides.

727 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10:30am to 4:30pm

Visit the Domaine Chandon Website 

Giant Steps

Located in the township of Healesville, the Giant Steps complex is truly spectacular and is a must visit. It’s a remarkable venue featuring a restaurant, cafe and cellar door built directly within their working winery separated by floor to ceiling glass. Giant Steps allows visitors to be surrounded by the winemaking process. Tastings are held in the newly refurbished barrel hall tasting room allowing you further insight into the happenings of vintage. 

Address - 336 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville VIC 3777 - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open 11am to late Monday to Friday. 9am to late Saturday to Sunday

Visit the Giant Steps Website

Dominique Portet

Embrace a slower pace during your visit to the Yarra Valley at the delightful Dominique Portet Winery. The charming cellar door and Mediterranean inspired terrace cafe overlook rolling vineyards and are the perfect place to relax while sampling their exceptional Rose, Sparkling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon on offer. 

870 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am-5pm

Visit the Domonique Portet Website

Rob Dolan Wines

Rob Dolan, a Yarra Valley winemaking stalwart of 25 years, launched his own label in 2010 and won the James Halliday Best New Winery Award in 2014. Rob’s new cellar door combines The Farm (an events space), Stone & Crow Cheese and the Rob Dolan Winery. Located in Warrandyte, just 30 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, this charming cellar door makes for the perfect start or conclusion to any visit to the Yarra Valley.

21-23 Delaneys Road, South Warrandyte - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open Daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the Rob Dolan Wines Cellar Door Website

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate

De Bortoli Wines is an Australian wine industry institution established in Griffith, NSW, in 1928. The Yarra Valley vineyard, established in 1987 and helmed by Leanne De Bortoli and husband Steve Webber, is set in a truly stunning position completely surrounded by vines in every direction. This vineyard has produced excellent wines with De Bortoli winning the coveted Jimmy Watson trophy in 1997. Apart from a wide range of wines, what makes De Bortoli a particularly nice winery to visit is the marriage of wine with cheese. The extensive selection of local and imported cheeses in this friendly cellar door is outstanding and perfectly complements De Bortoli’s excellent cool climate Yarra Valley wines and those from their other regions. The Locale Restaurant offers an authentic Italian dining experience with a menu designed to reflect the best local seasonal produce featuring veggies from their own garden, home made pasta and authentic Italian risotto. 

58 Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate website

Yering Station

No visit to the Yarra Valley is truly complete without a visit to Yering Station. This winery is a destination in and of itself with an exceptional architect designed restaurant and bar, historic cellar door, art space, underground barrel room, local produce store, monthly farmers market and stunning grounds. The first vineyard in Victoria was established on this site in 1838. That history is clear and enshrined in the old winery that now serves as the cellar door and gallery. 

The monthly farmers market held in Yering Station’s historic barn is the oldest farmers’ market in Victoria and is a must if you are fortunate to be in the area. Be sure to check the Yarra Valley Regional Food Group’s page for more details on the market.

38 Melba Hwy, Yarra Glen - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm

 Visit the Yering Station website

Seville Estate

This charming winery is situated further southwest towards Yellingbo. With a charming casual aesthetic overlooking a classic Australian bushland setting, the Seville Estate cellar door makes for the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. One of the oldest continually operating wineries in the Yarra Valley, Seville Estate’s famed Shiraz and Pinot Noir are excellent examples of the region’s terroir. Tasting Panelist, Trent Mannell agrees, “Seville Estate is a Yarra Valley icon, the higher elevation of the estate’s vines allow the grapes to ripen slowly to produce elegant cool climate wines perfect for Pinot Noir.” 

65 Linwood Rd, Seville - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm

Visit the Seville Estate Restaurant

Tarrawarra Estate

The spectacular TarraWarra Estate cellar door, built into the earth of the wineries’ rolling hillside is a truly stunning place to sample their high-quality wines. The renowned restaurant complete with vista further cements TarraWarra as an exceptional Yarra Valley winery experience. Tasting Panelist, Trent Mannell has this to say, “Situated on 400 hectares of prime land beside the Yarra river, TarraWarra’s wines are meticulously grown, hand picked, vinified and aged on the estate,” he says. “There are so many great cellar doors in the Yarra Valley, but TarraWarra must be on your short list.”

311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen - view on our Yarra Valley Map 

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm

Visit the TarraWarra website

Helen's Hill

Nestled at the bottom of its eponymous hill, this 100% family-owned and operated vineyard and cellar door is a must-visit for those interested in the inner workings of the winemaking process. With floor to ceiling views of the winery and barrel hall, this relaxed cellar door allows a unique experience and sense connection. The nearby Vines Restaurant is exceptional and the perfect match to the wineries premier wines.

16 Ingram Road, Lilydale - view on our Yarra Valley Map

Open daily 10am to 5pm 

Visit the Helen's Hill website 

Yarra Valley Wineries Map

Planning a trip to the Yarra Valley? Our interactive Yarra Valley winery map is the perfect way to plan your next trip. To save on your browser or device click here.

Explore The Best Yarra Valley Wineries Today

For more information on visiting the Yarra Valley be sure to visit the official Yarra Valley visitors website. Why not sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit  – explore our wide selection of Yarra Valley wines and find out more about the wineries listed in this guide in our Meet the Makers section . Here you’ll find further information on:

With our Wine Selectors Regional Releases you’ll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you’ll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our Regional Releases page to find out more!

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Wine
The Granite Belt: Beautiful One Day, Perfect Wine The Next
Words by Paul Diamond on 8 May 2017
Cool climate wines from Queensland – if that sounds strange, head to the  Granite Belt wine region  and you’ll find plenty! It’s well established that the first ‘official’ Australian wine region was Farm Cove NSW, planted by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. But what about the second? If you assumed it was in South Australia, Victoria or even Tasmania, you would be wrong.  It is, in fact, Queensland’s Granite Belt, planted in 1820, preceding Victorian and South Australian regions by 15-plus years. Given most of Queensland is hot and tropical, we usually associate it with beaches and reefs rather than grape vines. However, the Sunshine State has a rich and varied agricultural history and people are now starting to favour the Granite Belt’s cool climate, Euro-style wines. Three hours south west of Brisbane on the southern Darling Downs, the Granite Belt is situated around Queensland’s apple capital, Stanthorpe. This is heralded on your arrival by a massive apple on a pole, a bold indicator of local pride in the tradition of Coffs Harbour’s big banana, Ballina’s prawn and Goulburn’s Merino. Originally known as ‘Quart Pot Creek’, Stanthorpe was settled when tin was discovered in the late 1800s. Fruit production followed as the altitude and climate started to attract Italian immigrants who’d come to Australia to cut cane and then moved south to take up pastoral leases.  Cool Climb Wines As you travel south west from Ipswich along the Cunningham Highway, you start the gradual climb through the Great Dividing Range. By the town of Aratula, a popular resting spot, the temperature drops considerably and you realise how cool it gets at 110 metres above sea level.  The Granite Belt has some of Australia’s highest altitude vineyards and it is the associated cool climate that is the perfect setting for the region’s fine boned wines. So don’t visit this region expecting big, ripe wine styles that are popular in warmer areas. The cool climate dictates that the Granite Belt’s wine styles are closer to those of Europe. Think medium bodied, savoury reds with fine tannins and pronounced acidity. In the whites, expect lighter, citrus driven styles with elegant layers and fine acid lines. Adding to the Granite Belt’s wine identity is the fact it excels in alternative styles. While you’ll certainly find mainstream varieties like  Shiraz ,  Cabernet   and  Chardonnay , real excitement comes from discoveries like  Fiano ,  Vermentino , Chenin Blanc, Savagnin, Barbera, Graciano, Durif, Nebbiolo and Tannat. Granite Belt producers have long recognised that these varieties are the future and with their unique alternative identity, have dubbed themselves the ‘Strange Birds’ of the Australian wine scene. In fact, visitors can explore this fascinating region by following one of the Strange Bird Wine Trails. BOIREANN WINERY Established in the early 1980s by Peter and Therese Stark, Boireann has been a Granite Belt standout for decades. While quality and consistency are high, production is low, with reds the specialty and only a very small amount of  Viognier  grown to co-ferment with Shiraz. Standouts are their Shiraz Viognier, Barbera, Nebbiolo and the ‘Rosso’, a Nebbiolo Barbera blend. www.boireannwinery.com.au/ GOLDEN GROVE Third generation winemaker Ray Costanzo has made wine all over the world, but is passionate about the Granite Belt. Golden Grove is one of the oldest wineries in the region, making a wide range of wines including Sparkling Vermentino, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and  Tempranillo , but it is Ray’s  Vermentino  that has developed a solid following.  www.goldengroveestate.com.au JESTER HILL Established in 1993, Jester Hill is now a family affair, having been bought by ex-health professionals Michael and Ann Burke in 2010. With the new focus that Michael is bringing to the wines, the estate is building momentum and picking up accolades along the way. Standouts include their Roussanne, Chardonnay, Shiraz and  Petit Verdot .  www.jesterhillwines.com.au/ BALLANDEAN With an extraordinary history of winemaking that stretches back to the 1930s, the Puglisi family have been operating their cellar door and passionately flying the Granite Belt flag since 1970. Fourth generation Puglisis Leeane and Robyn are warm, generous, regional advocates, who have a large cellar door from which they love sharing their passion for both the wines and the people of the Granite Belt. Tasting highlights include their  Viognier , Opera Block Shiraz and Saperavi, a full-bodied red that originally hails from Georgia.   www.ballandeanestate.com/ JUST RED Another family-owned winery, Just Red is run by Tony and Julie Hassall with their son Michael and daughter Nikki. Just Red’s organic wines are styled on the great wines of the Rhône and are winning awards in the show system. Their star wines include Tannat,  Shiraz Viognier , Cabernet Merlot. www.justred.com.au/ RIDGEMILL ESTATE WINERY Starting its life as Emerald Hill in 1998, Ridgemill boasts a modern but unpretentious cellar door looking out on dramatic mountain surroundings. The broad range of wines is crafted by winemaker Peter McGlashan and includes Chardonnay, Shiraz,  Shiraz Viognier , Mourvèdre and Saparavi. With its self-contained studio cabins, Ridgemill is a great place to base yourself. www.ridgemillestate.com/ SYMPHONY HILL Symphony Hill’s winemaker Mike Hayes is quite possibly the Australian king of alternative wine varieties. Mike won the Churchill Fellowship and travelled around the world studying alternative styles. His wines are highly awarded, vibrant and interesting. A trip to the Granite Belt is not complete without a tasting with Mike, including his standout expressions of  Fiano , Lagrien, Gewürztraminer,  Petit Verdot and Reserve Shiraz. www.symphonyhill.com.au/ TOBIN WINE Adrian Tobin’s wines are a strong philosophical statement, reinforcing the notion that wine is made in the vineyard.  Since establishing Tobin Wine in 1999, Adrian has been deeply connected to his vines and produces a small amount of high quality Sauv Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet. All of Adrian’s wines are named after his grandchildren and are collectables.  www.tobinwines.com.au/ GIRRAWEEN ESTATE Steve Messiter and his wife Lisa started Girraween Estate in 2009. Small and picturesque, it is home to one of the region’s earliest vine plantings. They produce modest amounts of Sparkling wines, including Pinot Chardonnay along with Shiraz, Rosé and Sauv Blanc. Their table wines include Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet.  www.girraweenestate.com.au FEELING HUNGRY There is no shortage of good food in the Granite Belt, but a trip to  Sutton’s Farm  is essential. An apple orchard, it’s owned by David and Roslyn Sutton, who specialise in all things apple, including juice, cider and brandy. Their shed café also pays homage to the humble apple with the signature dish being home made apple pie served with Sutton’s spiced apple cider ice cream and whipped cream. For breakfast, try  Zest Café  located in town, where the coffee is fantastic and their baking game is strong. Their breakfast will definitely see you going back for seconds.  A delicious choice for lunch or dinner is the  Barrelroom and Larder , lovingly run by Travis Crane and Arabella Chambers.  Attached to Ballandean winery, the Barrelroom is casual in style and fine in output. Everything that Travis and Arabella cook comes from within a three hour radius and if it doesn’t exist in that area, they don’t cook it. A fantastic way to spend an afternoon is with Ben and Louise Lanyon at their  McGregor Terrace Food Project . Based in a Stanthorpe, this neighborhood bistro with a gorgeous whimsical garden offers cooking from the heart with the surrounds to match. Whether your choice is a Granite Belt alternative ‘Strange Bird’ or a more traditional varietal, take it along to Ben and Lou’s Food Project, sit out the back and you’ll feel like you’re in the south of France. You will, in fact, be in Queensland, thinking that it is a pretty cool place to be; literally and figuratively.     
Wine
Six of the Best Clare Valley Wineries and Cellar Doors
Discover the best Clare Valley wineries and cellar doors to taste and experience the region’s delights with our guide and interactive map . Less than a two-hour drive from Adelaide, the Clare Valley is home to some of the world’s best Riesling and offers fantastic food and wine experiences that are just waiting to be enjoyed. The region is blessed with a climate ideal for premium grape growing and the combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period produces grapes of exceptional flavours and balance delivering exceptional regional Riesling , Cabernet Sauvignon , Shiraz and more. With more than 30 cellar doors to choose from, visitors to the Clare Valley are spoilt for choice, and with many of the wineries family owned and operated, you’re bound to meet the people whose wines you’re tasting. Here are of our Top 6 Clare Valley Wineries to Visit. Claymore Wines
With all their wines named after popular song titles , Claymore Wines offers a fun, memorable and delicious tasting experience at their Leasingham cellar door. Meander your way through a mixed tape of top tunes – Purple Rain Sauvignon Blanc, Joshua Tree Riesling, Skinny Love Summer White Viognier Whole Lotta Love Rosé, Dark Side of the Moon Shiraz, Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet Sauvignon and more. Take a seat outside and enjoy the sunshine with a platter of South Australian cheeses and local produce with a glass of wine or prop yourself up on a stool at the bar and lose yourself in the wine tasting experience. You can also treat yourself to some local produce including olives and oil from Evilo Estate, sauces from Patly Hill, soaps from The Sugar Shack Soap Co., Chickpeas from Pangkarra and Hot Wine packs from Kooky Drop Co. 7145 Horrocks Highway, Leasingham Open daily 10am to 5pm Visit Claymore website Eldredge
Take a drive along the Spring Gully scenic drive route and you’ll discover the picturesque Eldredge Vineyards. Located directly west of Sevenhill, Eldredge is on the boundary of the Clare Valley and overlooks the Blyth Plains, with the vineyard rising to 530 metres. Their Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Malbec and Riesling are all produced using 100% Clare Valley fruit with the focus on creating premium quality, yet affordable wines that reflect the region’s unique character. A 98 year-old stone cottage houses their cellar door and restaurant, which was opened in 1994 after many months spent carefully renovating the lovely old building. Settle in for a relaxed tasting, enjoy a shared platter or a light lunch featuring a range of local products. Spring Gully Rd, Spring Gully Open daily 11am to 5pm Visit Eldredge Vineyards website Koonowla
Located just east of Auburn, Koonowla is one of the district’s most iconic properties with its historic stone buildings and rolling broad acre hills. The property was first planted in the 1890s by John Tothill, who also built a winery to produce wine for the thriving export trade to England. The business continued to prosper and expand until a disastrous fire in 1926 destroyed the winery and wine stocks, and the property was converted to grain and wool production. In 1985, eight acres of Cabernet Sauvignon were planted, relaunching Koonowla wines. Current owners, Andrew and Booie Michael, purchased the property in 1991 restoring the old homestead and boosting the vineyard plantings to almost 50ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Shiraz, Merlot and Semillon. Today visitors to the cellar door are welcomed to taste the fruits of their labour – Koonowla Cabernet, Shiraz, and Riesling, along with Merlot and Semillon. 18 Koonowla Road, Auburn Weekends and public holidays 10am to 5pm. Monday to Friday by appointment Visit Koonowla Wines website Mitchell Wines
Andrew and Jane Mitchell established their winery in 1975 and have created a fantastic tasting experience, showcasing a true Australian family-owned and run winery. On arriving at the cellar door, Jane welcomes you like you’re one of the family and you can tell her and Andrew are proud of their wines and vineyards. Mitchells Wines have four vineyards that are located in and around the Watervale, Auburn and Sevenhill sub-regions with vine age ranging from five to more than 55 years-old. Within their quaint cellar door, they present stunning single vineyard Rieslings, as well as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Semillon. “There is always something special about wines where the same family develops and cares for the vines, makes and bottles the wine and then sells that wine,” says Andrew “An old fashioned ideal perhaps, but our reputation is at stake with each bottle of wine we sell.” 246 Hughes Park Road, Sevenhill Open daily 10am to 4pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Visit Mitchell Wines website Paulett Wines
Located in the Polish Hill sub-region of the Clare Valley, Paulette Wines is owned and operated by winemaker Neil Paulett and his wife Alison. The couple established the cellar door 35 years ago and with fantastic wines and absolutely stunning views, it’s a ‘must visit’. "Thirty years ago, visiting a cellar door was not that common, so we felt we had to offer that extra inducement to bring people to the Valley,” says Neil. “Our cellar door, our premium wines and the spectacular views all enhance the sense of well-being that wine lovers have come to expect from Paulett's Winery." In addition to the staples of Shiraz and Riesling, you can expect to taste a Late Harvest Riesling, Sparkling Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec blend and Cabernet Merlot. To top off a fabulous experience you can dine at the winery’s Bush Devine Café which is inspired and partly sourced from the adjacent Bush Food Garden that boasts over 80 different species and 1000 plants. Sevenhill-Mintaro Road, Polish Hill River Open daily 10am to 5pm – cellar door Open daily 11am to 4pm – café, bookings essential. Visit Paulett Wines website Stone Bridge Wines
Family-owned and operated, Stone Bridge Wines started out as a hobby but has turned into a successful business for Craig and Lisa Thomson, and their daughters Lauren and Sarah. Their boutique winery currently produces Shiraz from their own vineyard, plus Riesling, Pinot G, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec using select parcels from local growers in the Sevenhill, Watervale and Armagh areas. Drop into their earth-rammed cellar door to taste their award-winning wines, stroll around the picturesque grounds, and if you’re visiting on a Sunday in September to May, you can also enjoy a gourmet pizza cooked in their wood-fired oven. Gillentown Road, Sevenhill Open Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm Visit Stone Bridge Wines website Clare Valley Winery Map Planning a trip to Clare? Download our interactive Clare Valley winery map. To save on your browser or device,  click here And, if you’re the energetic type or into pedal power, a day spent cruising the Riesling Trail on a bike is a must do. Wine Selectors Membership Consultant, Elliot Watt, shares all his tips for touring through this spectacular wine region on the Clare Valley Riesling Trail .
Life
Go West
Words by Jeni Port on 4 Jul 2017
Henty, the Grampians, Pyrenees and Ballarat – there are plenty of tasting treasures to be unearthed in the wine regions of Western Victoria. We need Western Victoria and its wine. We need its different taste and the perspective it brings: a balanced, middle-weighted, pepper-infused, mint-garnished, spicy, smooth, sometimes savoury, sometimes rustic kind of alternative taste. Vineyards are vast and isolated here, attached by dirt roads to country towns and sometimes just the smallest of hamlets. Wines are made by men and women of the land, people like John Thomson at Crawford River in the Henty region, who talks of his “peasant genes,” and who has four generations behind him who have farmed sheep and cattle on the land. He and his wife Catherine branched into wine in 1975. “I didn’t set out to grow grapes,” he says. “I set out to make wine.” There was, he adds, more money in the latter. It’s a common enough story around these parts. Western Victoria is a collective term for four independent wine regions:  Henty , the  Grampians ,  Pyrenees  and Ballarat. This is home to  Shiraz  (plenty of it) and  Cabernet Sauvignon  (less of it) along with  Chardonnay  and a little  Sauvignon Blanc ,  Riesling  and  Pinot Noir  with a gaggle of Italian varieties bringing up the rear. The Back Story
It’s the flagpoles out front issuing a kind of multi-national wave of welcome that stump first time visitors to  Taltarn i . There’s the Aussie flag to the forefront shouldered on either side by the American stars and stripes and the French tricolour. What does it all mean?   Like a few wineries in Western Victoria, it’s all about history and foreign influences.  Taltarni’s  story involves a wealthy Californian owner who set up the operation in 1972, and his long-time French winemaker who laid the foundations for its enduring, elegant wine style. The French were among the first to see the potential that lay in the Pyrenees, with Cognac-based Rémy Martin arriving at Avoca in 1960, ostensibly to make brandy, but wine quickly followed. They called their enterprise Chateau Rémy. We know it today as  Blue Pyrenees Estate . But the biggest influence on the region was gold. Discovered in the 1850s, it made towns like Ballarat and Great Western magnets for prospectors from around the world. After the gold, people like Joseph and Henry Best stayed and moved into wine. Joseph built a substantial winery and used unemployed gold diggers to carve out underground cellars. It was the beginning of what came to be Seppelt, one of the biggest Sparkling wine producers in the country. Henry Best planted vines fronting Concongella Creek at Great Western. But it was the purchase of the site by Frederick Thomson in 1920 that really saw the Best’s Wines story take off. The Grampians
Western Victoria is a land of wide plains running smack up against some pretty spectacular hills and ranges, none more impressive than the rugged National Park that gives the  Grampians   its name. Mountain walkers, climbers and cyclists really love this part of the world. With a range of B&Bs, hotels and camping sites to choose from, most make Halls Gap their HQ. Wineries like Mount Langi Ghiran and The Gap are just down the road. Mount Langi Ghiran is best known as the producer of archetypal  cool climate, peppery Shiraz , which first drew the industry’s attention to a budding new style in the 1980s. How pepper gets into the wines of Western Victoria to such a degree that it might be called a phenomenon has only slowly been revealed by scientists at Melbourne University working with the winemakers at Mount Langi Ghiran (it’s got to do with a cool climate and wet seasons). On paper, the region (19 vineyards, eight cellar doors) looks small, but its history and influence belie its size. The Great Western sub-region was the commercial cradle of Sparkling wine production in Australia at Seppelt and is synonymous with a great Aussie icon, Sparkling Shiraz. Grampians Estate and Seppelt lead the pack, but for added gravitas, tour the Seppelt underground drives to feel the history and finish with a glass of spiced-up red bubbles. One of the state’s great restaurants, the  Royal Mail Hotel , can be found in a highway town called Dunkeld. Five and eight course degustation menus star local produce, alternatively there is an informal wine bar. Or there are the local Mount Gambier wines to try, including up-and-coming Pinots, at Tosca Browns in Hamilton. Henty is a developing wine region as far west as you can go before you bang into South Australia. Volcanic, gravelly soils over limestone are the key to some of the best Rieslings in Australia made here at Crawford River Wines. And what a treat to find a one hat quality restaurant such as The Pickled Pig in Warrnambool. The Pyrenees
Major Thomas Mitchell, the 19th Century explorer, was a bit of a romantic, clearly. He named this part of the Great Dividing Range,  the Pyrenees , as the dense, blue-hued hills reminded him of the mountains dividing France and Spain. Given the hills outside the towns of Avoca and Moonambel rise to 800 metres compared to some 3400 metres in Europe, that’s a bit of a stretch, but point taken. This is a pretty part of the world. It is here that the wine lover will confront the Pyrenean wine character known in academic circles as 1,8-cineole. The rest of us call it eucalyptus, aka, mint or menthol (the cineole is sourced from leaves and stems that find their way into fermentation), and it’s often found on either a red wine’s bouquet or flavour, or both. Its usual vehicle of choice is the Shiraz grape, which dominates plantings, but it can be found in any number of red wines. That eucalyptus in wine should be such a powerful influence is not so surprising. Gum trees are everywhere around these parts. For those who applaud its inclusion in wine, it’s part of the land, a question of terroir. The Pyrenean red winemaking style is understated, medium-bodied and earthy. Best in Bubbles
And strange as it may seem when so many producers today seek the super cool regions like Tasmania for sourcing grapes for sparkling wines, the Pyrenees does an excellent job with bubbles. Blue Pyrenees Estate 2010 Midnight Cuvee  beat some of the country’s top Sparklings to be named World Champion Australian sparkling at the inaugural Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in England in 2014. A 100 per cent Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs style, Midnight Cuvee’s success comes thanks to 10 years of refinement in the vineyard and winery by winemaker, Andrew Koerner. And, yes, the fruit is harvested at midnight at optimal coolness. Taltarni  is another leader in Sparkling wine, sourcing grapes grown on the estate in addition to Tasmania for its successful Clover Hill brand. The region’s great white, whether for still or Sparkling, is Chardonnay. It has undergone changes over the last decade or more, moving away from a rich heavyweight to a more fruit-powered, streamlined number. At Dalwhinnie, the importation of a Chardonnay clone from Champagne has served to highlight citrus and grapefruit qualities with sustained acidity and textural weight. It is a wine of great presence in the glass. While Mount Avoca’s early reputation was built on Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, I suspect that it is the Italians coming through – Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo,  Sangiovese , Lagrein – that now attract the drinker’s attention. The adjoining region of Ballarat is smaller again, but its focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay indicates that it is heading in a different direction to its neighbour. Eastern Peake Winery at Coghills Creek is a Pinot Noir maker par excellence, and is one of the few open for tastings seven days. Or, for a relaxed look at the wines of the west over a meal, head to Mitchell Harris Wine Bar in North Ballarat, part-owned by former Domaine Chandon Sparkling winemaker, John Harris. Events Out West Avoca Riverside Market   - Dundas & Cambridge Streets, Avoca, on the fourth Sunday of each month. Blue Pyrenees Estate Avoca Cup   - Avoca Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Avoca, each October. Grampians Grape Escape Food and Wine Festival   - Showcases regional wine and fare during a month-long festival in April, culminating in the Grampians Escape Weekend tastings, auction, grape stomping and live music in Halls Gap. Staying out West Pyrenees Eagles Nest at Dalwhinnie Vineyard, Moonambel  Redbank Chestnut Cottage Mount Avoca Vineyard Eco-Luxe Lodges, Avoca Warrenmang Vineyard & Resort, Moonambel Grampians/Henty Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld Boroka Downs, Halls Gap Aztec Escape, Halls Gap Links Retreat, Ararat   
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories