Victoria wine: Guide to the renowned wine region

The Yarra Valley wine region was the first wine growing district in Australia’s state of Victoria, with a history of viticulture that dates back over 170 years that has left a legacy as one of the country’s foremost producers of cool climate wines.

Yarra Valley in Australia enjoyed its first golden era in the late 1800s when aristocratic European settlers arrived from Switzerland to establish three predominant vineyards and wineries – Yering, Yeringberg and St. Hubert’s – to quench nearby Melbourne’s thirst for wine.A series of unfortunate events, including an outbreak of Phylloxera and the stock market crash of 1891, cut short the Yarra Valley’s emergence, until a group of pioneering wine makers sparked a resurgence of interest in the 1970s that has continued to rise.

As a consequence of its diverse climate, soils and aspects, the Yarra Valley wine region is one of the few places in the world that is able to produce a mixed array of world class wines – any wines labelled ‘Yarra Valley’ must carry at least 85% of grapes from the area.Of the wine Yarra Valley produces, distinctive expressions of Australian classics Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most renowned and represent over 60% of the region’s entire production

Yarra Valley Chardonnay shies away from the traditionally rich, oaky styles of the 1980s/90s towards more textured and restrained wines with an emphasis on fruit purity – while the Pinot Noir is typically perfumed and high in minerals, ranging from light to medium-bodied.Elsewhere, across the warmer, lower vineyards of the Yarra wine valley, classic Australian varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz also flourish and have recently been accompanied by emerging varieties such as Nebbiolo, Arneis, Gamay and Gruner Veltliner; all of which have shown great promise

At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive tours of the Yarra Valley wine region, including elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique activities.

A typical Yarra Valley wine experience will leave from Melbourne and explore the region alongside a professional guide before visiting several hand-picked wineries and sampling premium vintages, often accompanied by food pairings of local cuisine or a gourmet meal.Since the Yarra Valley wine region is relatively small, local producers – including DeBortoli, Giant Steps and Oakridge Wines – have used experimental wine making techniques to make some stunning vintages while transforming the area into a haven for creativity.

Several new generation producers, including Luke Lambert, Marc Forbes and Timo Mayer, have been earning international acclaim for the quality of their fine wines – often using traditional methods to explore the future of the region.Comparisons between Yarra Valley and Burgundy, the spiritual home of French wine, have been made since both regions have a preference for the same grape varieties and share a similar undulating topography – although the Australian wines are unsurprisingly far less expensive.

The region’s close proximity to Melbourne and its popularity as Victoria’s most revered wine region have attracted wine tourists in droves to the Yarra wine valley, which local wineries have responded to by creating some of Australia’s most glamorous cellar doors and restaurants – bringing the so-called ‘Napa effect’ Down Under.If you are interested in taking a Yarra Valley wine experience, visit our Australia destination page for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip.

All of our private tours can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring that every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling superb wines surrounded by Australia’s stunning scenery.

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