Wine regions - Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley Tasting Note
A crisp balanced sparkling wine by traditional Methode Champenoise from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A refined style with biscuit and faint citrus aromas reflected in the palate with fine persistent beads. Enjoy as an aperitif or with a wide range of food.
Yarra Valley Victoria
The Yarra Valley is a picture-book region - a landscape of great beauty - a terrior that makes great wines.
The Yarra Valley is famous for the Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as they are particularly suited to the cool climate. The Valley also has extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot - and produce excellent examples of cool climate Shiraz. In the whites the region has a strong focus on Gewurztraminer, Semillon, Marsanne and Riesling producing elegant styles.
Coldstream Hills, shrouded in mist
Winemakers are increasingly capturing the imagination of wine lovers with blended wines using Pinot Gris, Viognier and the Italian varieties Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.
The Yarra Valley has an exceptional wine and food culture, which has been fostered by the local wine industry and influenced by the region’s close proximity to Melbourne, producing a cultural synergy between the city and the Valley.
The Yarra Valley is only a one hour drive from Melbourne. The wine region is officially in the Port Phillip Zone. It borders - on the towns of Emerald and Cockatoo to the south. The Plenty River marks the western boundary and the Yarra River which begins in the region's east, flows through its centre on the its way to Melbourne. Most wineries and vineyards are centred round the towns of Coldstream, Healesville and Yarra Glen and the historic Lilydale. The valley is surrounded by the Great Dividing Range east, Plenty Ranges west and Dandenongs south. Altitude range: 50 - 400m.
The Yarra Valley has forged a wine industry and developed a culture of hospitality through difficult times, dealing with heartbreaking natural events and the fickle winds of economic downturns.
The wine industry began its journey in 1837 when three brothers, William, James and Donald Ryrie established a cattle property Yering Station. They planted vines; an act recorded as the first vineyard planting in Victoria. A few years’ later immigrants from Switzerland and Germany settled in the area. They planted commercial quantities of wine grape and established wineries. Among them St Huberts, Yering and Yerinberg produced wines to international acclaim and anchored the Yarra Valley's reputation in the 1800s.
Then came the economic depression of the 1890s. It was a major factor in the region's decline along with other factors such as the consumer shift to fortifieds. By the 1920s the last winery ceased operations.
The industry was resuscitated by medical doctors in the 1960s who caught the markets' return to table wines. Mount Mary vineyard established by Dr John Middleton was a pioneer of the second wave.
The third wave came in the 1980s with the arrival of James Halliday, de Bortoli and the prestigious Moet & Chandon's Domaine Chandon.
The Valley has been rocked in recent times by fires of unprecedented ferocity, which burnt around 5% of the vineyards. The 2009 harvest is however going strong and true to its history the Valley is reviving.
Big and boutique
The end of the 20th century was marked by phenomenal growth. Hundreds of hectares came under the vine and millions were invested in wineries and tourist facilities.
The Yarra Valley is home to some of the largest wine companies in Australia, as well as a significant number of boutique wineries. This gives the Valley's wine industry diversity and balance.
The climate is cool. Frost is a problem as are strong cold winds. The region gets a lot of rain, but not sufficient just prior to harvest in March. The region has, in recent years experienced drought and intermittant hot summer days. The extended drought and pre-harvest hot dry periods has led to greater uptake of irrigation by the region's vignerons.
The soils are acidic. The grey-brown coloured loams occur mainly in the south and rich red volcanic soils in the north and west of the region
Staying and enjoying
The Yarra Valley is one of the finest culinery region's in Australia. The wine industry has contributed greatly to this reputation with the establishment of first class dining rooms, offering creative menus and fanatastic views. There are also many fine restaurants and cafe in towns throughout the region.
The Valley is only an hour's drive from Melbourne making the region a perfect day trip. For those who wish to leave city life behind for longer the region offers a range of accommodation facilities from luxury to self contained.
The region's accommodation is marked by its stylish elegance.
And there is always something to do in the Yarra!
Check out the Events calender (right). The Yarra Valley is famous for its degustation dinners, lunches, cooking classes, music and major concerts and festivals.
Other highlights are the Puffing Billy Steam train, a 9 hour return trip to Melbourne taking you through vineyard country and up to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.
Longest lunch - a stylish affair
for food and wine lovers
The Healesville Sanctuary is home to 200 native Australian species. Help support the Sanctuary's work in looking after wildlife by visiting. See their web site below..
Harvest time: late March to late May
Sites with more information: