In the foothills of the Yarra Valley, Warrandyte South is where you’ll find great wine, good food and friendly faces just a short drive from Melbourne.
It’s a small corner of the world, Warrandyte South. Less than 1000 people call it home, but what it lacks in population it more than makes up for in deliciousness. This here is fertile land, with vineyards, berry fields and fresh produce grown amongst its verdant scenery. The locals know and cherish their patch, but the secret will be out of the bag soon enough.
‘Real people, real wine, real character’ is a motto that fits Warrandyte South to the ground, and it’s one that Rob and his team at Rob Dolan Wines live by with pride. In eight short years the winery has established an enviable position in the local and national wine industries, with major awards (including the prestigious 2014 winner of Newcomer Winery of the Year at the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion Awards) and international distribution deals to their name. Luckily for you, it’s only 30 minutes from Melbourne’s city centre (or right on your doorstep if you’re a lucky local) and you can taste amazing Yarra Valley wines, paired with delicious local cheeses and other produce, in the cellar door seven days a week.
For a lunch option that will have you remembering a day in Warrandyte South for years, make a beeline to Olivigna, the fine dining institution deep in the heart of Pietro Gallo Estate. Lead your stomach to a Tuscan setting, on the Olivigna piazza in the hills of the Yarra Valley, where homemade pastas, breads and preserves make dining a pleasure. When the weather’s fine, while away the afternoon under blue skies as you gaze over the vineyards; and remember to visit during chestnut season (April to May) to sip on a Sangiovese as you wait for the nuts to roast on the piazza. Alternatively, treat yourself to a distillery tour or grappa appreciation class. Pietro Gallo Estate invite their guests to sip, savour, taste and share the finer things in life with the people who matter most.
Keep the foodie dream alive with a stop at Warrandyte Berry Farm. You’ll spot its two stalls pumping out an array of strawberry delights on the side of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road. If you choose the homemade ice cream topped with fresh strawberries and berry sauce, you’ll probably want to enjoy it onsite. If it’s a tab of fragrant strawberry leather (like a fruit roll-up), or something from the display of jams, sauces and preserves, you can probably afford to save it until you get home. If it’s a chocolate-dipped strawberry or orange slice, jam doughnut or punnet of fresh-from-the-plant strawberries, it won’t matter where you eat them – you’ll be in heaven.
Who knew gluten free food in Melbourne could taste so good? The folks at Yarralicious, that’s who. All-day breakfast – think free range eggs and ham with chilli jam on gluten-free toast or freshly-toasted muesli with poached apples – or gluten free treats like passionfruit cake and farmhouse chocolate cake with Mocha buttercream frosting is sure to satisfy. Yarralicious will convert even the hardiest of gluten lovers. No matter what your flavour, the provedores, growers and makers in Warrandyte South are guaranteed to give you your fill.