Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Tastings and fine food at the Macedon wineries festival
As if you needed an excuse to sample some of our fair cool-climate wines. Oh, and nibble your way through some regional delicacies as well. Well, just in case you were in need of an excuse, over 30 winemakers in the Mt Macedon region are offering free tastings at their cellar doors on 17-18th November, as part of the annual Budburst Wine and Food Festival.
The Mt Macedon area is just an hour's drive north-east from Melbourne along the Calder Freeway - the volcanic soils and cooler climate of the region produce low volumes of high quality wines, with the region's wines being described as having a 'natural, lively acidity and steely backbone; fine, intense but delicate fruit characters and soft tannins in the red wines. The balance of alcohol, fruit and acidity provide complexity and longevity' ..... Tempted?
Budburst Food and Wine Festival 2011 in full swing
Purchasing a $15 sample glass from any of the participating wineries acts as your 'ticket' to all the other free tastings. Places like the Mad Gallery in the pretty high street of Lancefield will be hosting a number of wineries, if you don't wish to trek around the very scenic countryside (yes, someone is going to have to be the nominated driver), as is Rowanston on the Track winery near Glenhope. However, it is worth getting out and about: Hanging Rock vineyard gives you the excuse to visit its namesake, but there is also beautiful Ellender Estate in Glenlyon or Kyneton Ridge Estate - it's a gorgeous part of the country.
A number of the vineyards are hosting degustation dinners with matched wines (you will need to book tickets in advance for these events via the website), live music, wood fired pizzas and a general carnival atmosphere. There is a map of all the wineries here so that you can plan your route. So, now you are well-armed with your excuse, venture forth and enjoy.