After the challenge of negotiating Melbourne peak hour gridlock, our tension slipped away as the traffic quelled and the road bisected a quilted landscape of farmland and vineyards. The Yarra Valley is renowned for its abundance of wineries and award winning wines. It seems June is the time of year to shorten opening hours to ‘winter time’ or to close doors and concentrate on maintenance but De Bortoli didn’t let us down.
The family company spans four generations, established by Vittorio and Giuseppina who migrated from Italy in 1928 to settle in Bilbul, New South Wales. The Yarra Valley Estate was purchased in 1987, the original plantings of 1971 make it one of the oldest vineyards in the Yarra Valley. The bespoke rustic gates at the entrance to the property open to a tree-lined driveway, the morning sun still low in the sky.
The Locale Restaurant upstairs serves authentic Italian dishes made with ingredients grown on the estate.
Too early for lunch, we made our way to the cellar door instead.
The space was warm and welcoming with interesting presentations of products.
There are a few tasting options, including a specialty gourmet selection combined with a cheese platter
and private Trophy Room Tastings for those wanting to learn more about De Bortoli Italian wines.
We opted for a tasting at the counter, the friendly staff happy to share their knowledge. A bottle of La Boheme, Act 1 Riesling accompanied us on our journey to enjoy later. The view is spectacular, 162 hectares of vines merge with rolling hills and distant ranges.
We retraced our tracks to Yarra Glen for a life sustaining sausage roll at the bakery before continuing on to our next point of call. Zonzo Estate is set on 230 acres with stunning views across the valley.
The 45 acres of vines were pruned and ready for spring,
a comfortable perch for the local aves
and the young olive trees were bearing fruit.
We were disappointed to find the cellar door locked and deserted
but we had a quick nosey around. The old farm buildings have been cleverly resurrected and are a popular venue for weddings. I’d be happy just to sit with a glass of wine and absorb the wonderful vista.