Thomas Moorhead, could be the next Hemingway (he drinks enough), or could just be a student who wants to write upon his view of Melbourne.
Published May 6th 2012
Who has been to the Yarra Valley? I haven't. At least not until a few weeks ago, when a mate of mine asked if I would like to go on a wine tour organised by one of his German mates.
These Germans aside, the trip I thought would prove an opportunity to see the closest wine region to the city, and so it was. Collected from the steps of St Paul's next to Flinders st by Wild Wombat Winery Tours, our tour guide Wendy took us out to the Yarra Valley in her mini bus, and straight to Domain Chandon.
The Drive takes around an hour in which some history is given, and I recommend not doing it hungover. Wendy's tour costs $120, in which she will show you a few wineries, and lunch at Torkar Estate. Since she operates a small outfit, if your group is the only one in the van you can dictate where you would like to go, as we did. In essence you are paying for a driver and lunch for the day.
Anyway we started at Domain Chandon, the local limb of the famous Chandon wine chain, in what is about as Touristy as a vineyard could possibly get. The Yarra Valley being in close proximity to the city attracts a lot of tour groups, and they tend to rush you through the tastings.
Now my wine knowledge extends only to having watched the movie sideways, and still I felt like I was being treated like a bit of a dickhead. This being said, Domain has excellent grounds, the rolling hills and lake screaming at the gazing Japanese and Germans 'pastoral ideal!' to good effect.
This was followed by more rushed tastings, and then the lunch, where although in another spectacular setting, feelings of pleasantry were mitigated with again being treated like a dickhead. I couldn't get my steak cooked medium rare for instance, as I was part of a group.
After this meal and the included wines we directed Wendy to take us to the White Rabbit Brewery in Healessville, which was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip. The brewery is in a large shed, which has any number of vintage couches throughout with which to sit in and sip quality beer. A trip to the Valley just for the brewery would not be a wasted in trip.
In closing, the Yarra Valley is an area of tragic beauty on the fringe of the city. Although the wineries are full of tourists and accustomed to rush, with the right group of people a tour around the Valley could prove a fantastic day out.