The Yarra Valley seems to have endless cellar doors and wineries with amazing views. The big wineries get super busy on the weekends and the smaller boutique wineries get left behind on big wine tasting tours. Before you make the trip into the Yarra Valley, consider the boutique wineries. They are often family run, you will have a better experience with more hands on customer service and the wine is always just as good, if not better.
After a few days of Melbourne rain, the sun has come out and you could not have asked for better weather on Squitchy Lane winery's first Gourmet BBQ lunch. Here is a boutique winery with a big heart that you would be sorry to miss. It is a small winery in the suburb of Gruyere in the heart of the Yarra Valley. Other wineries from Gruyere are the well known "Yarra Yering" and "Coldstream Hills". As many wealthy retirees call Gruyere their home, it is known as the "Toorak of the Yarra Valley".
As you come up the gravel drive you're in for a surprise. The view from the top of the property is just beautiful, you can see onto the rolling hills of golden vineyards and green grassy pastures. The trees are in their autumn beauty and the atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful.
From the well known AFL personality, Mike Fitzpatrick, comes the boutique winery with a big name. Fitzpatrick's interest in wine sprung from his University days at Squitchy Lane in Oxford, London. It is here that he first tasted some of Europe's single vineyard drops that sparked his taste buds and his interest in wine.
After purchasing the small winery in Gruyere in the late 90s, he begun selling the grapes to some of the Yarra Valley's best known wine labels. In 2004 Mike broke out independently and with a group of wine industry experts and the label Squitchy Lane was proudly launched.
Since then their wines have been well received, mentioned in the Age Epicure and many times in James Halliday's Wine Companion book. They are also available in some prestigious restaurants such as Bella Vedere
in Healesville, Pizza Meine Liebe in Northcote and The Italian in Melbourne.
Their cellar door has an authentic country feel and the wonderful scenic views that the Yarra Valley is famous for. Wine is available for tasting and purchase every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Give their 2010 Squitchy Lane Pinot Noir a taste, it was my personal favourite.
The sausages on offer at the BBQ were from Healesville's gourmet butcher K&B. There was a range of tantalising flavours, from souvlak lamb to duck and hoisin sauce. The food was delicious and you could grab a glass of Squitchy Lane wine thoughtfully matched to your gourmet sausage all for only $10. A lunch for fewer than ten dollars is a bargain anywhere these days. It was an original idea and a great family day out, enjoying the scenery and the company.
As it was the winery's first Gourmet BBQ venture when I was there they were unsure of the date for their next event. But get onto their website and sign up for their newsletter and fingers crossed you can attend their next event.