From dark horses to well-established industry players, and plenty more in between, plot your own escape to wine country with this guide to the best Yarra Valley wineries, winery hotels, and winery restaurants.
With more than 80 cool climate wineries to its name, plus some 60 cellar doors, even those who visit the Yarra Valley on the regular are practically guaranteed to find something new on their next trip.
The glut of great wineries also ensures there’s plenty of choice. Oenophiles will find family-run wineries with some serious credentials; bon vivants can lounge around in aesthetically pleasing cellar doors from international names with sparkling wine on tap; fun-seeking neophiles can uncover experimental newcomers, and daytrippers looking for a side of history and heritage with their rosé won’t be left wanting.
Yarra Valley is home to vibrant and scenic vineyards. (Image: Australian Wine Tour Company)
Victoria’s first wine-growing district is also awash with great winery restaurants – many boasting dramatic valley views – plus a smattering of smart winery hotels, so there’s really little reason not to hole up here for an entire weekend.
Read on for details of the best Yarra Valley wineries.
The best Yarra Valley wineries
At less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley’s proximity to the city is a definite calling card.
But this bucolic region, all mist-shrouded, undulating and verdant, promises plenty more than just convenience: it’s home to a raft of award-winning wineries that range from rustic and family-run to chic and internationally known.
While pinot noir and chardonnay are the valley’s key varietals, producers are harvesting more beyond, from shiraz and cab sav to méthode traditionnelle sparkling and riesling.
The region is famed for producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. (Image: Yering Station)
Sparkling wine lovers should make a beeline for this Yarra Valley winery brought to you by the bigwigs from LVMH.
Going strong since 1986, the Australian outpost of famous French champagne house Moët & Chandon, is impeccably styled.
Following a facelift in 2017, Domaine Chandon features a palette of dusky pinks and muted sage alongside spotted gum timber flooring, a dark marble tasting bench, and a kinetic sculpture suspended above aged leather banquette seating. Stop by for a tasting or linger over a long lunch in the French-inspired house restaurant.
Taste the exceptional citrusy goodness of handcrafted chardonnay. (Image: Domaine Chandon)
Helen & Joey Estate
When all you want is a down-to-earth cellar door experience without any pomp and ceremony or bells and whistles, Helen & Joey Estate should be the destination you thumb into Google Maps.
The wine is the protagonist at this relaxed, family-owned winery, but the sunsets also play a starring role. Pull up a pew on the sizable, string-light festooned deck and admire the sea of vines that cascades down the hill as you sip on a glass of fruit-forward estate cab sav.
Enjoy a glass of Rosé paired with an appetising cheese platter. (Image: Helen & Joey Estate)
Jayden Ong Winery & Cellar Bar
A bit of a Yarra Valley wildcard, this Healesville newcomer is shaking up the well-established scene with a mould-breaking cellar door in an industrial estate, offering punters willing to forego valley views a number of interesting and organic, lo-fi wines instead.
Open since January 2021, Jayden Ong is a triple threat of good wine, good food, and good vibes.
Outside of its roller doors sit picnic tables with frilly parasols, perfect for sundowners, while inside the cavernous warehouse space you’ll find a moody interior, all dim lighting and dark walls juxtaposed with colourful floral arrangements.
Try Jayden Ong’s signature wine. (Image: Jayden Ong)
Named ‘Winery of the Year’ at the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion Awards (James Halliday himself called the 2015, ’16 and ’17 vintages an “absolutely dazzling array of great wines”), true wine enthusiasts should earmark this hilltop locale for future visits.
Winemaker and general manager Dylan McMahon, grandson of Seville Estate’s founders Peter and Margaret McMahon, follows a lo-fi philosophy across the winery’s four ranges, allowing for the purest expressions of the winery’s fruit, with all the wines fermented using indigenous yeasts.
At the time of writing, the winery’s cellar door is only open on Saturdays between 11am and 4pm, or otherwise by appointment.
A glass of Chardonnay will lighten up your mood. (Image: Seville Estate)
Once an unassuming tin shed of a cellar door that held little clout outside of wine circles and the occasional tour bus group, Hubert Estate is now set to become a local landmark winery thanks to a $13 million redevelopment.
In its place there now lies a two-storey building that merges with the landscape – a long sliver of concrete tucked into the terrain and shrouded by a grass roof – housing a semi-subterranean Indigenous art gallery, and a cellar door/wine shop.
There are also two more modernist buildings onsite: one housing restaurant Quarters, which spotlights food cooked over charcoal and in a woodfired oven, the other built for accommodating events.
Continue to watch this space as an 80-room hotel with a spa and upscale restaurant is slated to open onsite by December 2023.
A mouthwatering meal to satisfy your palate. (Image: Hubert Estate)
Panton Hill Winery
Those who relish off-the-beaten-track discoveries will fall for this little pearler. Just on the cusp of greater Melbourne, hidden away down a leafy gravel track, you’ll find Panton Hill Winery.
Comprised of a cluster of buildings that look as if they could have been plucked straight from the shores of Southern Europe and planted in hilly regional Vic – think rustic-looking sandstone buildings with gargoyles and heavy, weather-beaten timber doors – the venue is quite unlike any other you’ll find in the region.
Not just a pretty face, this Yarra Valley winery took home the medal for ‘Best Small Cellar Door’ in Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine’s 2022 awards.
Sample wine from Panton Hill. (Image: Panton Hill)
Coombe Yarra Valley
Reputation precedes this Yarra Valley winery, which is steeped in heritage.
Formerly a 60-acre dairy farm, the feted late opera singer Dame Nellie Melba once called this estate home. Today, Coombe Cottage is still the private residence of Melba’s family and can be viewed on a tour, as can the estate’s sprawling manicured gardens.
But the jewel in the crown of the estate is, naturally, the wine. Rock up to the cellar door and try the estate-grown single vineyard wines (or a nip of Melba Gin), or graze away the afternoon on Coombe Yarra Valley’s garden terrace while dabbling in a wine flight and a charcuterie and cheese platter.
Coombe features world-class wines with exceptional taste. (Image: Coombe)
Yarra Valley wineries with restaurants
Given its Italian heritage, the Yarra Valley has long had an affinity towards pasta and pizza, with solid options for both still in strong supply (hello Zonzo and De Bortoli).
Following the continental theme, many of the region’s wineries dabble in platters, should you be in the mood for picky bits shared among friends.
Italian aside, you’ll find plenty of Yarra Valley winery restaurants heroing Modern Australian cuisine – many featuring show-stopping vistas over this hilly green pocket blessed with bountiful good looks. Note that most of the Yarra Valley’s wineries are only for lunch.
Victoria’s first vineyard, established in 1838, Yering Station is the Yarra Valley’s grand dame.
Awarded a 5 red star rating by the illustrious Halliday Wine Companion, Yering Station is a popular spot for day trippers and wine enthusiasts alike. Beyond the cellar door, the restaurant and its Modern Australian set menu lunch beckon.
Yering Station offers top drops. (Image: Yering Station)
Sample dishes such as semolina gnocchi with mushroom, cabbage and pecorino, or eye fillet with horseradish, beetroot and pumpkin while looking through double-height floor-to-ceiling windows onto the green landscape that spills out in front of you for miles. Walk off the rich pickings with a stroll around the winery’s gardens.
Stroll along Yering Station’s well-manicured gardens. (Image: Yering Station)
Long known as one of the Yarra Valley’s best winery restaurants, Oakridge Restaurant bid adieu to its distinguished co-executive chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone in 2020.
While the power couple left behind some tough shoes to fill – their seasonal, minimal waste food philosophy having brought the restaurant great repute – the restaurant is now in the very steady hands of Aaron Brodie.
In addition to toiling behind the burners at heavy hitters in both London and Melbourne, Brodie previously worked under the tutelage of Jo and Matt as Oakridge’s head chef for three years. Expect fine food with even finer details (everything from the cheeses and breads to the smallgoods and ferments are made in-house) plus valley views to boot.
Disorganised daytrippers who haven’t booked in advance can even enjoy lunch on the terrace, which is walk-in only.
Intimate gatherings are best enjoyed amidst Yarra Valley’s alluring backdrop. (Image: Oakridge Restaurant)
It’s all come full circle for TarraWarra’s head chef Joel Alderdice. Born and bred in the valley, Alderdice started his career as an apprentice at this regional stalwart back in 2011 and returned to helm the ship in 2022.
He’s dreamed up two seasonal Mediterranean-learning menus: one plant-based, the other featuring meat, fish and cheese – both receiving the same exacting standards of perfection on the plate and astute flavour pairings.
Take your winery experience to greater heights at Yarra Valley. (Image: TarraWarra)
Yarra Valley winery accommodation
While the region is swimming in great wineries and winery restaurants, big-name hotels of the same high standard are much less prolific in these parts. Instead, much of the mid-range accommodation in the Yarra Valley is still under the dominion of the holiday rental market.
The following three hotels, however, are located in the thick of the action and deliver amenities aplenty as well as beautiful views, some overlooking the vines.
The Farmhouse at Meletos
Arguably the most boutique accommodation option in the Yarra Valley, The Farmhouse at Meletos promises 23 individually designed rooms that feature a carefully curated collection of worldly textiles and vintage furniture.
With its grand fireplaces and panelled window shutters, there’s an inviting warmth and a rustic yet elegant simplicity to this boutique, adults-only hotel, that harks back to provincial France or rural Tuscany. Best of all, vast vineyard views are on offer here too.
Dine beside a picturesque landscape. (Image: The Farmhouse at Meletos)
Yarra Valley Lodge
You’ll find almost everything under one roof at Yarra Valley Lodge, on the southern edge of the region.
The 120-hectare estate is home to two 18-hole championship golf courses (including one originally designed by Jack Nicklaus), as well as a restaurant, a bar, walking trails, and a day spa with an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and a tennis court.
Regardless of whether you opt for a standard room or a suite, each and every guest room at this four-star hotel opens directly out onto a garden terrace or private balcony – perfect for drinking in that fresh country air.
Make your celebrations extra sweet and special at Yarra Valley Lodge. (Image: Yarra Valley)
Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley
One of the few Yarra Valley accommodations within the grounds of a winery, Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley is a resort-style hotel with a solid collection of amenities to its name.
You’ll find a schmick new endota spa, open since August 2022, a smart-casual Mod Oz restaurant that welcomed its first guests at the end of 2021, plus a heated indoor swimming pool, a steam room and gym, complimentary wine tasting at the cellar door for all guests, and nearly seven acres of vineyards to gaze out over.
The Deluxe Spa Suites are the pick of the bunch here room-wise, featuring valley views, a private balcony, and a sophisticated neutral palette with navy flourishes. Wheelchair-accessible rooms are also available.
Balgownie Estate has nearly seven acres of vineyards to gaze out over. (Image: Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley)
Top winery tours in the Yarra Valley
Given that the focus of most visits to The Valley is to sample the fruits of local winemakers’ labour, it’s little surprise that touring is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore.
You’ll have your own designated driver who just so happens to know the Yarra Valley inside out, meaning minimal planning and maximum fun.
The Yarra Valley Touring Company
If you’re looking for a Yarra Valley winery tour that dials up the luxury factor a little, then try The Yarra Valley Touring Company’s Decadent AF Tour (their description, not ours).
Aside from visiting three of the region’s standout wineries, guests are treated to something of a progressive lunch that includes a farmhouse cheese tasting at the Yarra Valley Dairy, a glass of bubbly and half a dozen oysters between two at Domaine Chandon, and a three-course meal plus wine tasting at Dominique Portet winery.
To polish it all off, you’ll end up at regional icon Four Pillars for a gin flight. Bliss.
Yarra Valley boasts some of Australia’s most iconic wineries. (Image: The Yarra Valley Touring Company)
Australian Wine Tour Company
If the cost of a winery tour in the Yarra Valley has previously put you off, then sign up for the Australian Wine Tour Company’s satisfyingly economical jaunt that rings in for $150.
The trip takes in a cross-section of four different wineries and includes an a la carte lunch at Balgownie Estate with a glass of wine to boot.
At most, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with 23 other daytrippers, though typically tour numbers average between 12 and 20.
Stroll along Yarra Valley’s lush wineries. (Image: Australian Wine Tour Company)