Last Saturday was meltingly hot. Foundation slipping-ly humid, zinc-applyingly burney weather. Reader, on this scorcher I escaped Melbourne to join a dear friend of mine celebrate a special birthday in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. The Yarra Valley is a place I don’t often visit – can’t say why really. It’s not really very far from the city – around an hour trip at the most. Maybe it’s all the years playing basketball as a teenager at Lilydale Highschool, somehow making the journey to the Valley feel like a bad trip back in time to Lucozade-fuelled, gruelling training mornings. Today’s blog charts the good cheer and humur shared at an array of Yarra Valley venues on this special day out. The birthday girl’s accessories really tell you everything you need to know – perfect party dresses, pearls, a touch of Tiffany and Prada, all finished off with a boutique chilled cider. Chin chin!
We started the morning at Coldstream Brewery with a paddle of their beers and cider, icy cold and a perfect way to cool down in the 30-degree plus morning. I’m quite partial to a cider, and enjoyed the dark coffee-ish porter on offer. How nifty do my Proof bamboo sunnies look against all that amber and wood?
Next we ventured to De Bortoli winery in Dixon’s Creek to enjoy a tasting of their vino. You can safely assume that all the wine this reputable icon of the Yarra Valley produce will be good drops – it was the Alphonse Mucha-inspired labels of the ‘La Boheme’ pinot noir rose that impressed me most!
View of the De Bortoli vineyard. I like the thin copse of trees on the hill crest, the orange light really shows you the vibrant heat of the day.
What’s a special birthday without a special luncheon? Pureed cannellini beans, lentils and slow roasted beef paired with pinot grigio at De Bortoli. Salute!
My favorite venue of the day was the peaceful Graeme Miller wines. Greeted by Dusty the dog (above) who seemed to enjoy posing with the girls, this winery was perfectly quiet. I took the opportunity to sit under their long shaded verandah overlooking the dam and vineyards. It was so still and cool. At their cellar door, you can see their bottling and maturing equipment and sample their goods too.
Gorgeous Miss A, quaffing a vino at Graeme Miller, looking a treat in her party hat. Sweet!
Last but not least, a quick game of bocce amongst the fruit trees, accompanied by a cool Napoleone Cider at Punt Road Wines (just near Stones of the Yarra Valley for all you wedding lovers). A delightful day – and I was home in time to refresh and head out to the now-legendary White Night Melbourne. Hot or not, the Yarra Valley is certainly worth re-visiting.