Vineyards filled with heart and soul
Victoria is home to some of the country's best vineyards, producing everything from world-class cool-climate wines to fortified varieties and bold reds. While luxury cellar doors and contemporary winery restaurants tend to claim the lion's share of the state's tasting experiences, smaller more rustic venues are often the best places to hear a story from friendly owners, taste mouthwatering drops and dine on fine cuisine.
From boutique to rustic, check out these 11 charming vineyards in regional Victoria.
1. Panton Hill Vineyard and Winery
Find a slice of southern Europe in the heart of the Yarra Valley at Panton Hill Vineyard and Winery, where the buildings are timeless and the food distinctly Mediterranean. The family-founded -and-operated vineyard produces quality aged wines, including red, white, dry, sparkling, sweet and fortified varieties.
2. Wombat Forest Vineyard
Head 15-minutes from Daylesford and discover Wombat Forest Vineyard, where you can sip cool-climate wines while enjoying views of the surrounding native forest. Immerse yourself in the local area, which is rich with flora and fauna, and taste and savour a flavourful, fruity drop from the award-winning vineyard.
3. Yering Farm Wines
This small, single-estate vineyard and orchard produces a highly respected collection of wine and cider. Yering Farm Wines is a must-visit on a trip through the acclaimed Yarra Valley wine region. Pop into the rustic cellar door for a tasting or to buy a delicious wine or pack of cider, or enjoy a picnic on the property's sprawling lawn and learn all about the vineyard's quality approach to viticulture.
4. Provenance Wines
Head to Geelong and the Bellarine to see the beautifully restored heritage-listed bluestone building in the historic Fyansford Paper Mill, which is home to Provenance Wines. Raise a glass with one of the winery's experts and enjoy six or eight wines as part of their 30-minute wine tasting, or let Head Chef, Nathan McIver take you on a culinary journey with a lovingly prepared meal made from fresh, local ingredients.
5. Quealy Winemakers
Surround yourself with the comfort of the country, with metal and timber accents creating a cosy cellar door vibe at Quealy Winemakers in Balnarring. The organic certified winery grows one of the region's oldest single-vineyard pinot noirs, as well as esoteric skin contact varietals, ribolla, gialla, moscato, malvasia and friulano, to name a few. Nibble on a carefully curated cheese plate and sip wines with the distinct flavour palate of wines grown on the Mornington Peninsula.
6. Soumah of the Yarra Valley
Experience the charm of northern Italy and the provenance of the Yarra Valley as you savour the taste of Soumah of the Yarra Valley's chardonnay and pinot grigio. Sit back in the light-filled Italian-style trattoria and enjoy a leisurely lunch paired with the vineyard's finest drops.
7. Squitchy Lane Vineyard
Squitchy Lane Vineyard priorities viticulture and the handling of their grapes, so they can produce wines with less chemical input. The result is a group of harmonious, balanced and graceful wines with a full flavour and lower alcohol content, so the wines can refresh as well as sustain the soul. Participate in a tasting to try their pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and merlot.
8. Whispering Hills Vineyard
Tucked away in Seville is the family-owned, non-intrusive Whispering Hills Vineyard. The small cellar door and winery produces limited lots of one to six barrels per variety ensuring they can create fresh and exciting new wines that convey the beauty of the region in which they're grown. Feast on homemade wood-fired pizzas in the charming indoor/outdoor dining area, with rustic design accents like sliding barn doors, timber beams and upcycled barrels for light fixtures.
9. Hickinbotham of Dromana
Sit by a raging fire with a glass of red or beer in hand, or hang out in the outdoor area to soak up the sprawling vineyard views with your furry bestie by your side on a trip to Hickinbotham of Dromana. The winery cross brewery is known for award-winning wines such as tempranillo, chardonnay and strawberry kiss, as well as fresh brews including pilsener, pale ale, brown ale and Irish stout. The drink menu also includes a ruby cider made from ruby cabernet, which is served on tap.
10. Ringer Reef Winery
Soak up views of Mount Buffalo in Victoria's High Country at Ringer Reef Winery. Enjoy the tranquility of the sprawling property from the outdoor deck with a glass of handmade wine in hand and graze on a plate of locally-sourced cheese and produce. The venue often hosts independent artists from near and far and is a great place to enjoy a set of live music.
11. The Gurdies Winery
The Gurdies Winery has been a hallmark of the South Gippsland region for more than 30 years. Known for cool-climate wines, such as riesling, verdelho-chardonnay and merlot. Visit the cellar door for a tasting or head out to the extensive garden area to use the barbeque facilities for a picnic.