Dark horse of the valley

What is it that makes a winery cellar door truly great?

It depends why you are going there in the first place. Good thing is, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley there are over 140 cellar doors (and yes, we have visited most of them…) to choose from and the difference between having a good day out and a great day out can come down to how well you choose your destinations.

Some of the wineries in the Yarra Valley are HUGE. Many do not have their full range on taste and can get very crowded in busy times. Go there anyway – it is worth the experience.

Some of the wineries are only open on weekends and have quite a limited range. Not a problem, usually they make wines which are typical of the region: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, cool climate Shiraz.

One winery though that should be visited at least once by the wine conscious traveler is Boat O’ Craigo on the Eastern side of Healesville.

With an impressive range of whites including the regular varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio) as well as some lesser known (Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner) and equally impressive reds (Rose, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon) all on taste along side their vintage sparkling and late-harvest dessert wine, there really is something here for all palate types.

What we, as a group of wine tourists, really like about this cellar door however is the knowledge and down-to-earth honesty of the cellar door staff. Knowledgeable without feeling the need to show off and excellent brand ambassadors without being pushy about sales – a rare skill set indeed.

A few insider tips

  1. Join the wine club. You get massive discounts of up to 30% off the already reasonable prices.
  2. Stay for lunch. Some of the wines (such as the Grenache) really change profile with food.
  3. The cellar door is open Thursday to Monday but they also do wood-fire pizza on Friday and Weekends… particularly nice is the Mushroom pizza with a glass (or bottle, if someone else is driving) of Pinot Noir…

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