THE YARRA VALLEY
The Yarra Valley, a cool-climate, low-yielding wine region, is an hour east of Melbourne in the rolling
foothills of the Great Dividing Range. The region’s cold winters and fertile soils help make Chardonnay,
Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and sparkling wines at home here. The region’s wine making history dates
to 1840, but the large plantings now producing great wines began in 1968 at the Yarra Yering, Yeringberg
and Fergusson wineries. The French company Moet & Chandon, seeing the district’s potential for sparkling
wines, established the Domaine Chandon winery here in 1985. As more wine-lovers discover this region on
Melbourne’s doorstep, the number of excellent restaurants and luxury boutique hotels and lodges available
here continues to grow.
The Mornington Peninsula is an hour’s drive south of Melbourne, bounded by Port Phillip Bay to the north
and Bass Strait (and Tasmania) to the south. This very cool marine climate, not unlike that of the Bordeaux
region in France, produces clean wines with crisp acidity and is best suited to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir,
Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wines. The hilly peninsula, with its genuine country feel and varying views
over Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait, is a favorite retreat for Melbourne’s well heeled. Many of the winery
structures here are modern, state-of-the art complexes with their own restaurants, such as Dromana
Estate and Red Hill Estate.
THE MACEDON RANGES
The Macedon Ranges, a short drive north-west of Melbourne, was planted in the 1850s and has seen a
renaissance since replanting in the 1970s. Volcanic and granite soils and a very cool climate provide tough
growing conditions, but good viticultural and wine making skills have produced some great wines in recent
years. The area is known for long-living Shiraz, lime flavors on the palate, and a long, dry finish.