When it comes to visiting wine regions in outer Melbourne, you may not have to travel as far as you think.
Just 40 minutes away from the CBD, the region known locally as ‘The Artisan Hills’ is the perfect place to get a taste of Victoria’s wonderful wine. The Artisan Hills falls within the boundaries of the Yarra Valley wine region and produces the high quality cool-climate wines this region is famous for.
Winemaker John Tregambe comes from a family who have been making wine for generations in Italy, using techniques that are still used today at Nillumbik Estate [195 Clintons Road, Smiths Gully]. The wines produced at this boutique winery are made with minimal intervention, with grapes handpicked and traditional techniques such as basket pressing used to create wine of the highest quality. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about wine, take advantage of the Wine Master Class at Nillumbuk Estate. Here you can learn about the winemaking process, how to assess wine quality and food pairing, all while enjoying samples of the winery’s current offerings. If taking it easy is more your style, enjoy a gourmet pizza or a tasting platter over a glass or two, while you look over the elevated views of the picturesque vineyard. The cellar door is open Saturdays and Sundays 11am–5pm, and weekdays by appointment only.
A family run boutique winery, Panton Hill [145 Manuka Road, Panton Hill] prides itself on producing wine of the highest standard, so much so that they are not concerned with smaller crop yields as long as they can provide their customers with a premium product. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a wide variety of wines from sweet to dry, sparkling to fortified – Panton Hill has something for every palate. There’s a genuine focus on the guest experience and the owners Teunis and Dorothy Kwak are happy to run through the full range with visitors while providing as little or as much wine education as you like. The winery is nestled in the foothills of Kinglake, with the stone buildings on the property reminiscent of Tuscany. To complement the wines, Panton Hill offers homemade pizza, burek (a baked pastry with filling), platters, as well as a range of desserts. The cellar door is open from 11am to 5pm on weekdays, public holidays or by arrangement.
Image source: pantonhillwinery.com.au
Located in Cottles Bridge, Lovegrove Vineyard and Winery [1420 Heidelberg Kinglake Road, Cottles Bridge], has pride of place on the stunning north-west slopes of Diamond Valley, a subregion of the Yarra Valley. The cellar door overlooks the rolling hills of the vineyard and during the colder months, there is a cosy open fireplace for visitors to enjoy while they sample Lovegrove’s selection. Owner Stephen Bennett often works at the cellar door and is always up for a chat about his selection and wine making process. Stephen and his team will happily offer wine pairing suggestions, so you can be sure your glass will be perfectly matched to your lunch or cheese platter. If you feel so inclined, you can play on the purpose-built petanque piste on the property, too! Lovegrove is open weekends and public holidays from 11am–6pm for wine tastings and gourmet platters, or midweek by appointment.
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