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Experience some of the Yarra Valley's best kept secrets
Ward off the winter blues by sitting in front of an open fire with a belly full of delicious food and a matching glass of perfect wine when you attend the unique event known as The Shortest Lunch on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 of June.
With such a deluge of wineries in the Yarra Valley, it is easy for visitors to overlook some of the smaller more boutique options. In a bid not to be overshadowed, a group of smaller wineries banded together to create the Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries Association and then went on to organise this great yearly event.
It is held on the June weekend that is shortest when it comes to daylight hours, so it is a great way of encouraging us all over this winter hump.
The venues are not only small but mostly family run. All 14 have a boutique rather than a corporate feel and are as warm and friendly as their open fires.
You'll get to chat about all things wine as you mix with others and meet multi-generational winemakers. Or you can simply sit and stare at the flames as they illuminate your glass of red and relax.
As well as warding off the winter chills, this is a gastronomic adventure where you feast on curated entrιe-sized menus paired with perfect wines.
It is your chance to graze your way through the Yarra Valley's tucked away corners and become privy to the hidden gems.
This progressive dining experience includes dishes from New Orleans and the deep south, traditional Italian staples straight from Nonna's kitchen, sensational Spanish fare, fancy flatbreads, Asian and Mexican fusions, Middle Eastern morishness, curated cheeses, slow-cooked meats, contemporary Indian, and diverse desserts including to die for apple pies.
On top of the food and wine, all venues offer live music and hot drinks such as barista made coffees.
There are over 80 wines on tastings, with some wineries offering exclusive new and vintage releases over this special weekend.
You can buy tickets Click here. Or read on to learn more about the wineries and food on offer.
This is what you have to look forward to:
Source: Badger's Brook Facebook
Located on the Maroondah Hwy in the heart of the Yarra Valley, this family-owned vineyard specialises in chardonnay, pinot noir and Shiraz.
Whereas the Badgers Brook Wines are made for cellaring, their other label, Storm Ridge are for immediate consumption. So best of both worlds for those who love their wine.
Their food pairings on the day include:
New Orleans buttermilk chicken burger, hot sauce, slaw and greens $16
Spiced chickpea and cauliflower fritter, Iceberg, burnt honey and cumin yoghurt, brioche slider $16
Yarra Valley berry compote, brandy snap taco $10
A small winery with seating for about 30 people. A favourite because of the stunning views and fantastic traditional Italian dishes.
As James Halliday notes: 'The D'Aloisio family has been involved in the agricultural heritage of the Yarra Valley since the late 1960s, and in '94 planted the first vines on their 36ha property. The vineyard is planted to Shiraz, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, nebbiolo, tempranillo, nebbiolo and barbera'.
Osso Bucco - Slow cooked beef in a homemade tomato ragu served on parmesan polenta - $16
Gnocchi - A recipe handed down from Nonna of soft homemade ricotta gnocchi pan seared and tossed with your choice of a traditional Napoli pomodoro sauce with fresh basil or a picante gorgonzola cream sauce - $14 (gfo)
Zeppole - fried fluffy ricotta and lemon flavoured Italian doughnuts served with a honey lemon syrup -
Children's meals available.
Billanook Estate, 280 Edward Road, Chirnside Park 0422 280 975.
Website click here.
Boat O'Craigo is named after a tiny place in a Scottish valley where Margaret andGraham's ancestors lived. Together with their son and daughter, Travers & Courtenay, their labour of love has kept the wine flowing.
The floor to ceiling windows offer stunning views over the vineyards. Boat O'Craigo is famous for its antipasto platters, so great to see this included on the Shortest Lunch menu.
They have some excellent wines such as the Pinot Grigio that is perfect for those with allergies as they do not filter it through milk or eggs. Their menu also offers vegan options.
Elmswood Estate produces a range of lovely, handcrafted wines from the renowned Seville sub-region in the Yarra Valley.
Celebrated by Australian wine critic James Halliday as a 5-star winery and one of the region's "Dark Horses", Elmswood Estate is well regarded as a boutique wine producer and also has stunning views. You will be able to enjoy:
This winery/cidery has a long history dating back to 1935.
Set amongst the lush vineyard and beautiful gardens, the venue offers an authentic Yarra Valley tasting and working farm experience.
Kellybrook produces a range of premium quality wines, Kellybrothers ciders and Riders Brew Co. beers. They have a provedore and stock delicious local produce including cheeses, charcuterie, relishes and snacks. The meals for this event are:
14 hour beef brisket with smokey tomato chimichurri $16
Felafel, tahini, pickles, dukkah $16 (v)
Both served in a bowl with big couscous and spinach salad. Also available as burgers.
Payne's Rise is the realisation of Tim and Narelle Cullen's many years of hard work, dedication and passion They specialise in small batch wines produced from carefully selected fruit from their Seville vineyard.
The inviting cellar door is incorporated into the 1860′s homestead and property of Seville's first settler, Thomas Payne.
Seville Estate was awarded 'Winery of the Year' at the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. When Dr Peter McMahon planted the first vines at Seville Estate in 1972, it marked the rebirth of the Yarra Valley as an important wine region. Today his grandson Dylan McMahon is now the winemaker and general manager, following the passion ignited generations before. Wine in some families in the Yarra Valley seems to flow in their veins.
Ten wines were rated 95 points and above by James Halliday including Seville Estate's signature shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay.
The original homestead is on site (and available as accommodation) as well as a vegetable garden helping to supplement the sustainable ingredients used in the kitchen. The gardens have recently been re-landscaped to provide a tranquil space and highlight the great views.
Seville Hill is a picturesque hilltop vineyard with outstanding views out over the ranges and has many beautiful elm trees. John and Josie D'Aloisio's involvement in the agricultural industry began over 30 years ago culminating with the establishment of Seville Hill Vineyard and Winery in 1991. The winery is known for producing cool-climate wines from fruit grown in rich red volcanic soils of Seville and the Yarra Valley.
Whilst enjoying spectacular views and soothing music you can enjoy lunch of:
Slow roasted free-range pork belly, potato mash, caramelized apple and roasted fennel, Nebbiolo jus (gf) $16
Six Acres is a vineyard and winery run by the Zuccaro family. The vineyard was planted in 1999. Located in Silvan they only use organic sprays, promote natural grasses in an uncultivated permanent sward, and are developing a composting and mulching program to maximize the health of their soils.
The small size of the property means that the whole family is involved in the winemaking process. Great music on the day as members of the family are musically inclined and Nepalese themed food.
Momos - (Nepalese Dumplings) Chicken or vegan option $16
Surrounded by national parks and views in every direction. Steels Gate wines are handcrafted with grapes from two single vineyards in the Yarra Valley. That means the vines are cared for by hand and the grapes carefully hand-picked at the perfect harvest time.
Like the wine, the food is handcrafted in the onsite kitchen. Where possible, the herbs and vegetables are fresh from their garden.
A relaxing vibe, large verandah and local artwork on display and a pantry full of local products available for sample and purchase.
Kerala coconut chicken curry with rice $16.00
Paneer cashew vegetable curry with rice(v) $16.00
When Leon and Rita Tokar purchased the property of Tokar Estate in June 1995, the land was covered in thistles, tussock grass and snakes. Now come and see what they have created with this Mediterranean inspired building They were producing premium fruit by 1998.
Majestic sweeping views of the Yarra Valleys vineyards, mountain ranges, stunning skylines. Seasonal menu, European hospitality and impressive desserts
Brioche bun, egg, smoked bacon, gruyere $16
Mini Wagyu steak, quail egg, shoestring fries $16
Enjoy delicious food such as wood-fired bread cooked in a unique 13-tonne wood-fired oven. Fresh local produce with produce from their garden or from nearby fields. Winemaker Murray Lyons will help you through your tasting. The offerings sound amazing:
Roasted garlic and parsnip soup with lemon butter & sage, served with our wood-fired sourdough bread $10 (Veg & GF)
Classic slow cooked Italian lamb shoulder ragu with gnocchetti and rosemary pangrattato $16
Chocolate self-saucing pudding with double cream $10
Epicurean Wine Tours have packages available for those who do not wish to drive. Pick up in the City and at Ringwood Station. For further information click here. Vinechaser is also offering an all-day tour. Click here.
The net proceeds of the Shortest Lunch entry fee go to local community groups. Since 2009 they have raised $75,000 shared amongst local CFA brigades and the SES.
Cost:Entry is $15 per person - Entry ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass which allows access to all participating wineries for both days.Tickets and special packages will be available online or you can purchase your entry at your first participating