The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s best wine regions. Its distinctive cool Australian climate produces some of the world’s most famous and award-winning wines. It has everything from big international wineries to small family-run estates.
The valley is only about an hour from central Melbourne by car, making it the perfect spot for a day trip with friends or a romantic weekend getaway for two.
As well as sampling many excellent wines, the valley is set in a landscape of gorgeous rolling green hills. Plus, you’ll also find gin and whiskey distilleries, artisan breweries, and designer chocolate and ice cream factories.
But if you’re visiting the valley, you probably won’t get to all 160 wineries! That’s a lot of wine, even if you’re only sampling. Get the most out of your time by starting with the best of the best.
Below are my top recommendations for the best Yarra Valley Wineries to visit. I’ll also share information on where to stay, the best tours to join, and what else you can do on your trip to the Yarra.
10 Best Yarra Valley Wineries to Visit
There are 160 wineries and cellar doors spotted around the Yarra Valley. But if you only have time to visit a few, these should be at the top of your list!
10. De Bortoli Wines
Open Thursday to Monday 10am to 4.30pm
The De Bortoli Wines estate was developed by a family of Italian immigrants almost a century ago. The winery is still going strong today in the hands of the same family. They make their award-winning wines from some of the valley’s oldest plantings.
When you visit their Yarra Valley cellar door, pay $20 to taste 12 wines from their seasonal tasting menu. If its doors aren’t overrun with enthusiastic visitors, the friendly staff might also share with you a selection of wines from their sister estates.
Stop for lunch at the Locale restaurant, serving authentic Italian cuisine made from local seasonal produce. Purchase a private gourmet tasting for a meal, matched perfectly with a selection of De Bortoli wines.
Open Thursday to Monday 10.30am to 5.30pm
60 kilometers from central Melbourne, Steels Gates Winery has produced wines since 2010 from vines planted in the 1970s. Their block is half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir, all un-irrigated and hand nurtured.
Pull up to their stunning winery for a wine tasting, accompanied by a cheese or chocolate menu of your choice. You can also eat at the restaurant, with wines perfectly matched to your culinary preference. Tables are limited, so book ahead.
Lovers of white wine should try the Blanc de Blancs sparkling and the Home Block Chardonnay. Red drinkers will love the Home Block Pinot Noir and the Nagambie Cabernet Sauvignon.
Open daily 10am to 5pm
The Helen and Joey Estate feels like it belongs in a fairy tale, located on the fog-laden downs of Gruyere. When you arrive, choose between a quick 30-40 minute tasting, or a premium tasting. These include ham and cheese platters and a full glass of your preferred wine at the end of the session.
This estate specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-style grapes. It also has a menu of more youthful wines, including Merlot, Shiraz, and Blanc de Blancs sparkling. Plus, a Wayward Child wine menu born from unapologetic experimentation.
If you live in the area, it’s worth signing up for a Team Unicorn membership. You’ll get discounts and emails about exclusive events only available to members.
Open daily 10am to 5pm
Yering Station is famous for being Victoria’s very first vineyard, and it is worth stopping by just for that history. They’ve been making spills and sparkling wines since 1838. They specialize in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Both the cellar door and the restaurant are open daily, and you can eat and drink overlooking the surrounding ranges. Restaurant bookings are always essential, but tasting groups of less than 10 can walk in.
Choose to taste from the Village, Estate, or SV & Reserve collections, or pay a little extra for a private group tasting with cheese. You can also sign up for a guided underground cellar tour, and a peek inside the Estate’s museum collection.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm
The Coombe Yarra Valley Estate is famous for being the home of Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. Nowadays, her family still owns and runs the estate.
The estate has been working since 1909 and specializes in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. While these are the most popular wines, you’ll also find less common varieties like Pinot Gris, Viognier, and Sparkling Chardonnay.
You can combine your tasting experience or lunch with a tour of the gardens. They cover seven acres and include the early 20th-century Coombe Cottage in its original condition. The gardens were designed by William Guilfoyle, who designed the Victorian Royal Botanic Gardens.
Open daily 10am to 5pm
Oakridge is a family-owned estate known for its minimal intervention wine-making practices. It’s also an award-winning farm-to-plate eatery. Never has a bite to eat and an excellent glass of wine felt so ethical!
Choose your preferred tasting session based on your budget and wine preferences. You can get the basic Oakridge Experience from $15 per person for a curated selection of the estate’s best wines. You can also opt to upgrade to a Chardonnay masterclass. Taste both vintage and modern wines and learn the deeper secrets of the grape.
Stop for lunch at the restaurant on the estate’s stunning terrace, or just order something sweet and another class of wine.
Open daily 11.30am to 5pm
Rochford is just one hour from central Melbourne by car in Healesville in the middle of a rolling green expanse.
Rochford has a bit of everything. You can visit the winery’s cellar for a tasting or do so much more. Eat at the famous Isabella Restaurant for fine dining with matching wines, or order a wood-fired pizza slice at the Il Vigneto Pizzeria.
Buy a glass of your favorite wine to sip while exploring the grounds. Often live music shows and other activities are happening, so check out the program. Sign up for a behind-the-scenes vineyard tour, taste unharvested grapes, or move on to a tipple at the in-house gin bar.
Open daily 10am to 5pm
Soumah is ranked as a five-star winery, so expect a luxury experience when you arrive at the cellar door or restaurant. They specialize in small-batch wines made using the foot-stomped method.
In this winery’s cupboard, you can taste award-winning wines, including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Solero, Barbera, and Tutto Bianco. A full tasting will include eight wines and the winery’s story—or partake in a mini self-guided tasting with five selected wines.
If you want to stop for lunch, eat at the Ai Fiori Trattoria. It is an Italian-style restaurant with dishes explicitly designed to show off the taste of the estate’s wines.
Open daily 10.30am to 4.30pm
Domaine Chandon is all about Australian sparkling wines. They’re primarily known for their five-time award-winning Brut My Veeder from 2016.
Sign up for a sparkling tasting session or masterclass, depending on what you want. All feature selected local vintages that show off traditional methods and local creativity that combine to create something impressive.
Turn your tasting into a special sparkling brunch on the weekend. Choose a charcuterie and cheese board to accompany your tasting, or upgrade to a full three-course Chef’s Table meal to taste dishes made from local Yarra Valley ingredients.
1. Yarra Yering
Open daily 10am to 5pm
The Yarra Yering covers 25 hectares and is one of Victoria’s oldest and most beautiful vineyards. It was one of the first estates to gain an international reputation in the early 1970s and paved the way for many other Yarra wineries.
At the cellar door, the winery offers a portfolio tasting that lasts around an hour. It includes both new releases and “museum” releases. But be warned, if you find something you love, they don’t sell it by the glass—instead, you’ll have to invest in a bottle!
Suppose you want to stay in the heart of the valley. In that case, the Yarra Yering offers accommodation in the Homestead, nestled among the estate’s rolling hills. If you choose to stay, you receive a complimentary wine tasting.
Take a Day Tour From Melbourne
Suppose you’re staying in Melbourne and just want to spend a day in the Yarra Valley. In that case, several day trips are available from the city, many hosted by Viator. Depending on your choice, you can expect to pay between US$100-US$150 per person for a 7-10-hour experience.
Tours include a scenic drive from the city to the valley, tasting sessions with experts who teach you techniques such as the swirl, sniff, and slurp, and a meal at a top restaurant, usually paid for separately.
Popular wineries you can visit on the tours include the Balgownie Estate, Steels Gate Winery, Greenstone Vineyards, Rochford Winery, De Bortoli Winery, and Yering Farm.
You might also stop at some of the valley’s breweries, cider houses, cheese factories, chocolate factories, and ice cream parlors.
Where to Stay in the Yarra Valley
Want to know where you should stay while visiting Yarra Valley? Whether it’s for a group weekend or a romantic getaway, there is no shortage of boutique accommodation.
You can also try the rather grand Yarra Valley Lodge, which is especially good for larger groups. This one is a bit pricier, but worth it!
If you’re planning to visit the Yarra Valley on a road trip, you must read this beginner’s guide to how to plan a driving trip stress-free.
What Else to Do in the Yarra Valley?
Wine tasting and fine dining aren’t the only things to do in the Yarra Valley.
There are plenty of spectacular hikes for nature lovers, ranging from easy 3 km trails to 15 km treks! Try the short 3.2 km walk to La La Falls through the Mountain Ash forest to discover a small waterfall. Or challenge yourself on the 14.8 km Mount Donna Buang Track, which climbs 1,100 meters up Mountain Ash.
There are also several beautifully curated gardens in the valley, including the Alowyn Gardens at Yarra Glen, which has an edible garden and a forest garden accessed through a wisteria archway. There is also the Warratina Lavender Farm, the ideal spot to take photos with blue lavender in the summer months.
If you prefer wildlife, take the Wurundjeri Walk in the Healesville Sanctuary to see kangaroos and learn about the valley’s original inhabitants.
If you fancy a bit of non-drinkable culture, visit the Tarrawarra Museum of Art. It is housed within an Allan Powell-designed building that is a work of art in its own right. The museum houses modern and contemporary exhibitions from some of Australia’s most significant artists.
Wine is also not the only alcoholic beverage produced in the valley. Take a trip to the Four Pillars Gin Distillery for a delectable tipple. Sample craft beers at the Matilda Bay Brewery, Hop Hen Brewery, and Watts River Brewery, and taste ciders at the oldstream Brewery.
Don't have time to stay in Yarra Valley after a day of wining and dining? You can also try taking a tour through the bars of Melbourne to get a taste of the city and brews in one go!
If you have a sweet tooth, head to the Yarra Valley Chocolate and Ice Creamery for 400 different chocolate products and tasting sessions!
Head to the Yarra Valley!
All the deliciousness should make you excited to plan your trip to the Yarra Valley! You can start planning your trip with Pilot right away…