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The Farm at Rob Dolan Wines

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by Jen (subscribe)
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Published November 28th 2021
A place for weddings and all your special occasions
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Image - Rob Dolan Wines

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Image - This & Below, Writer's Images

The Farm at Rob Dolan Wines is about a 50-minute drive from inner-city (Chapel Street, Windsor, in my case) Melbourne to 21 Delaneys Rd, Warrandyte South. Rob Dolan Wines recently took over ownership of The Farm wedding and functions venue and will continue to operate as it was intended. We were on the road to experience the Sunday Lunch Roast at The Farm. The weather was perfect, the company good and the drive, relaxing. The menu online made some delicious promises and we were keen.

Finally, you're up a long driveway passing grapevines, a cherub fountain and well-kept lawns to the parking lot. The first thing to greet you is a long verandah deck lined with cane chairs in a style that reminds you of books you might have read; about sitting and relaxing on the verandah on cane chairs as you look over the plantation, homemade cooling lemonade in hand. The gorgeous oak barrels are a nice touch. To greet you is the usual sign-in, QR code, show us your double jab vaccination details welcome, we've become accustomed to.

Under the tree to the right overlooking the vineyard were tables and chairs and beanbags set up and customers enjoying the shade, food and wine and cheese platters. I later found out these were walk-ins, so walk-ins are welcome and they were sitting across from The Cellar Door which has an entry point off the verandah. You can take your chance and walk in or book a table or beanbag ahead. Most importantly, you can order and experience wine available for purchase by the bottle, along with a range of local produce available for grazing.

It might interest you to know that Rob Dolan has released a limited-edition Blanc de Blanc – The Melbourne Icon Series. There are six different labels, each showcasing an iconic Melbourne destination or activity (see video below) and each has an associated cause. Rob Dolan wines will donate 50% of profits to the associated cause for every bottle sold to help Melbourne get back on its feet. If you'd like to join in and do something generous and give back to the community or pay it forward, drop in and buy a bottle of the Melbourne Icon Series or a six pack and support all six entities.

Finally, lunch. On the menu, fresh bread and whipped butter for starters. Followed by mains of free-range pork belly, crackling, apple soubise, pickled kohlrabi and truffled chicken gallantine, sweetcorn and chives. Accompanying vegetables were green beans with pomegranate and almonds, a seasonal garden salad, and smashed potatoes with rosemary and salt, or as I'd like to call it, roast potatoes on steroids. I've never had crispy roast potato cooked this way. It was absolutely moreish. For dessert we had cannoli with whipped ricotta, currents and brandy, matcha creme brûlée, and my favourite, house-made doughnuts with a filling of preserved lemon curd. Lunch was paired with a Rob Dolan Pinot Noir and dessert a Rob Dolan 2019 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

Highly regarded Chef Anthony Curtijar has stayed on at The Farm to run the skilled and creative kitchen team, which consisted of Ben, Craig and Simon on the day and were responsible for the wonderful menu served up. It was hard to fault anything at all. The garden salad were fresh and a fine accompaniment and the beans with pomegranate and almonds were fresh and crispier than the overcooked soft beans I'm used to. The truffled chicken had a distinct taste of herbs running through it that made you feel decidedly healthier, and the pork belly was melt in your mouth. Both meats were tender and a joy to eat. The sauces that came with it were mop worthy, so as not to miss a drop of flavour. The food, venue, service and hospitality is well worth the drive to experience in a tranquil setting for a little sabbatical from the rat race, not too far from home. Very doable and even better with family and friends.

Dessert was served in bite-sized pieces on a platter. My favourite were the doughnuts because the skin was crispy with fresh crunch on the outside and a filling of preserved lemon curd, my favourite, oozing out with every bite. Heaven! My plus one's favourite was the matcha creme brûlée, which goes to show, it's up to the individual's taste. The cannoli was the least sweet of the desserts, and I always like to work my way up the sweetness tree so to speak, so I'm left with the sweetest on my palate and not the other way around. Works for me. This was all washed down by great coffee which is saying something, seeing I live right off Chapel street which is strewn with great cafes and good coffee along its length and breadth.

The dining area, as you can see, was absolutely beautiful with its mottled floor and a wreath of leaves suspended above. Each table had a variety of fresh proteas and the bar and service area was at one end, while the other end had what looked like sliding barn doors that added to the ambience of dining in a spacious barn. The table was beautifully set with appropriate wine glasses set alongside the cutlery and crockery. If you needed it, amenities were just around the corner off the verandah, and it was pleasantly noted that they used my toilet paper Who Gives A Crap, which was an impressive sustainable move. Much like the community-minded Rob Dolan Wines, Who Gives A Crap also donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. I do digress, but I was suitably impressed!

Since taking ownership of The Farm (formerly owned by The Public Brewery in Croydon), Rob Dolan are in the midst of renovating and fitting out 'The Barn' on the premises, which is proposed will be ready by winter 2022. It's a romantic walk off the verandah, with a natural archway of leafy trees (see 3rd and 4th last images below) lining the path to the barn, just waiting for a bride and groom to walk the line. I was talking to Elysia Schultz, the Venue Manager, who leads an expert team of wedding and events specialists. She showed me a few pinned images of what could be the decor on the inside of the barn, and it looks decidedly romantic.

According to Elysia, the main wedding reception area, where we were seated, can accommodate 110 people seated in various configurations, which will be employed to make room for dancing at the end of the night. While the speeches are being made outside under the festoon lights, a few tables are removed and the room is ready with an atmosphere for dancing as lights are dimmed and the DJ is ready to go. Upon asking, the bride and groom organise their external suppliers eg. celebrant, photographer, videographer and so on, and The Farm can take care of the wedding cakes in-house.

The Farm also liaises with the wedding couple's suppliers regarding setting up and bumping in and out, so they can set up in preparation for them. It was surprising to know that since opening three and a half weeks ago, this past week they already had weddings for five days of the week and are looking forward to another five coming in this next week. There were two wedding couples at the lunch checking out the venue and the menu on the day for their upcoming nuptials. I was privy to a conversation when the bride to be told Elysia that they were very impressed by the service, respect and polite interaction they were getting from staff, and how easy it was made for them in regard to planning. While Elysia was showing me The Barn, another couple came down and mentioned they had got married on the premises. Being the hostess with the mostest, the couple were very happy with the acknowledgement of thanks in the form of a complimentary bottle of wine they received. It was smiles all round.

The Barn will be there as a back up ceremony space and a reception canapé space. However, the main reception will still be at The Farm, filled with attention to detail, promoting great food and atmosphere, and imbued with a sense of fun and relaxation. The ethos of The Farm Yarra Valley is to work with local producers making beer, wine and cheese on site, and their seasonal menu featuring vegetables from their kitchen garden along with locally grown produce. The gardens, vineyards and oak walk is definitely a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos. There are four wedding packages to choose from. In summary, there's The Canapé Package, The Vegan Package, The Farm Package and the premium Package. The Beverage Package is included in all of the packages.

The exceptional kitchen team have worked tirelessly to develop a cohesive and delicious menu of made-in-house wedding cakes. Choose from a single tier to serve 50 or 80 guests or a single or double tier to serve 80, 100 or 120 guests. The available flavours are white chocolate mud cake with raspberries and white chocolate filling; salted caramel and white chocolate mud cake with caramel filling; dark chocolate and beetroot cake with strawberry filling; chocolate fudge and walnut torte with cookies and cream filling; and flourless orange with cream cheese filling. There are also a variety of decoration options like caramel drip, chocolate drip, cookie crumb and chocolate drip and more. The wedding couple could always go for a lavish alternative to a traditional wedding cake like a cheese tower that includes artisan cheeses from both Australia and abroad. All cheese towers are served with an assortment of accompaniments such as house-made crackers and lavosh, season fruits, honeycomb and muscatels. Cheese can also be served as part of your antipasti course or on individual boards with dessert. You can even choose optional extras like lawn games that includes Finska, Giant Jenga, Connect Four, Croquet, Quoits and Naughts and Crosses.

Here we are, in closing, back at the wines. We are at a winery after all. However, the lager that was served was very enjoyable. It was fruity and refreshing. We started with a champagne which was typical of all champagnes but at the upper end of the scale and very drinkable. A nice white wine accompanied the entree which was very tasty and palatable with nice notes of summer. I did sample some of the reds but the shiraz tasted a little too sparkling for me, which is an acquired taste and not as bold as I like. Like I said before, it's all about individual taste. The cab sav was a little better but I like my red wine a bit gritty and navigated back to the floral beer to finish off on a refreshing note before capping off with the sweetness of the dessert wine.

If you are a reader of Selector Magazine, you can save at the winery with readers getting 20% off Australia's most popular wine preserver. Hurry as the offer expires 31 Dec 2021. You can also win 2 bottles of wine of your choice (all ranges except Signature Series) by answering 3 quick questions. There are a lot of incentives outside of the winery being a wonderful place to be at, for added fun and savings. Grab a small, large or vegan cheese pack to enjoy from The Cellar Door (image above and below), along with accompaniments; sit yourself down under the shade of a tree or lay back on a bean bag and just reward yourself with the experience of experiencing Rob Dolan Wines. Better still shared with a loved one or a group of friends. Have someone you know planning to get married? You know where to send them to check out the venue.

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*Jen was invited as a guest
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Why? Rob Dolan Wines in South Warrandyte for Sunday Roasts, Winery, Restaurant, and Wedding Venue
When: 7 days a week 10am to 5pm
Where: Rob Dolan Wines, 21 Delaneys Rd, Warrandyte South, VIC
Your Comment
I'm not sure which were nicer Jen; you photos or the food.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3489) 58 days ago
This venue looks to have a lovely warm feel with lots of modernity.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|3977) 58 days ago
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