This is a contentious list, as there are so many good ones. These are just some of the hidden gems you may miss on your journey if we hadn’t told you!
470 Mitchellstown Road, Nagambie,
This gem is tucked away on the Goulburn River in the north east Victorian town of Nagambie, also the birth place of Australia’s second greatest racehorse of all time – the undefeated Black Caviar.
Built in and designed with southern Californian influences, the iconic Mitchelton winery is thriving under private ownership. Not only has the restaurant been renovated, with an amazing outdoor area, but there is now a chocolate factory and shop, the Ministry of Chocolate, with a café attached for more casual dining.
This winery maintains its position as a leading producer of fine wine while managing to realise the potential of the stunning property, which is a credit to its Managing Director, Andrew Ryan. In addition, they have established a full function centre and other amazing function spaces in the cellar.
The cellar door and the cellar are superbly presented and you can also head up the iconic 55m tower to get the best view of the region you will ever see. Outstanding. A good tip here is to get here just before lunch, eat at the café, then stay for dinner.
The Print Shiraz is a standout for the region, although you won’t find a bad shiraz in the Mitchelton range. The Botrytis is amazing if you are a fan of dessert wines.
Red Hill Estate
53 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South
This winery sits in the “cool climate” region of Victoria, on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. Once you see the views across Westernport Bay from this magnificent winery, you will almost not care what the wine tastes like. So when you hit the cellar door and sample some of their wines, you will be blown away.
Many people who have visited here and left have taken with them the dream of setting up their own winery, just as Sir Peter Derham did back in 1989.
The Pinot is really very good, and if you like chardonnay (and it is coming back), then this is as good as any in the area and without the price tag. If you love food, then make time to dine at Max’s Restaurant, you will be glad you did.
The Mornington Peninsula region is home to around 200 vineyards and 60 cellar doors, so that should keep you occupied for a while! Pinot noir and chardonnay are the primary wines grown in the region.
All Saints Winery
All Saints Rd,
The Rutherglen area of Victoria is a very underrated wine region. There are around 20 wineries in the region which has been producing wine for at least 150 years.
The most striking feature of this winery is the heritage listed Castle, based on the Castle of Mey, the most northerly inhabited castle in Britain and home for many years of the Queen Mother. The castle was mainly constructed from handmade bricks that were made on the winery in their brick kiln.
The Great Hall, which is the main wine storage area, is lined with huge 100-year-old oak casks filled with rare Tokays and Muscats and was at one time the largest wine storage area in the southern hemisphere.
This is an historic winery that you simply must visit. And for lunch, try the Terrace Restaurant. If you want something just to go with the wines, then try the gourmet provender-style store Indigo Cheese Company offering a range of gourmet chutneys, sauces, olive oils, chocolates and spices and cheeses from north east Victoria.
Try the muscats and muscadelles for something different.
220 Francis Rd, Glengarry
East Gippsland is about three hours from Melbourne and is ideally placed on the coastal drive to New South Wales via Lakes Entrance and Merimbula. This area has a warmer, maritime climate with low rainfall with sea breezes. It is known for its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and riesling.
Narkoojee, meaning “place of flowers” is a boutique winery and in the nicest possible way. The old bungalow which served as the cellar and the owners house for many years is still there. By far the most striking part of this winery is that you can sample their wines against the impressive backdrop of the imposing Strzelecki Ranges
If you are hungry, drop in to By Jorg and enjoy beautiful food matched to the Narkoojee wines.
The chardonnay is good, the merlots are unbelievable.
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
Tarrawarra is in the heart of the Yarra Valley and is just over an hour from Melbourne. In truth, there are so many good wineries around here, you could actually spend a week just going from cellar door to cellar door!
Tarrawarra sits on 400 acres and like many wineries, is the vision of a passionate owner. The relatively new deck where the peppercorn trees are featured, is an outstanding place to sample their wines when the weather is good, and rain hail or shine, their restaurant is amazing, bearing in mind that everything served there is grown on the property.
Their pinot noir is excellent, and their chardonnay is right up there if you like white wine. And when you finish tasting their wines, head over to the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, an amazing architectural feature, just to round out the cultural experience.