Buttermans Track is the brand name for the wines made and sold by Queenstown Vineyards. They use a wild yeast (rather than sangioyeast), and thus have a natural fermentation. All of their wines are produced from their estate-grown fruit. They have been growing grapes for 25 years and making wine for 10 years.
Local outlets:Cellar door – 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, 11am-4pm
Notes (in their own words):
Easthill Estate is a small family owned and operated vineyard and alpaca breeder. They grow Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wine grapes. They sell the majority of their grapes to other vineyards and wine makers but also have a cellar door on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. At the cellar door, you can sit either inside or outside, with a view overlooking the vineyard, and taste both their wines and cheese and meat platters.
They have around 10 acres of grapes planted on their property, with most of the vines planted in the late 1990s. All of their grapes are both hand pruned and hand picked.
Local outlets:Cellar door – Sunday 11am – 5pm or by appointment
Notes (in their own words):
Hildebrand Ridge is dedicated to making organic wines and honouring sustainable farming. Preservative-free wines are available and sulphur preservative 220 has been eliminated from the entire range. There is live music most Sundays, 1-5pm.
Kellybrook produces a range of wines, ciders (branded Kelly Brothers) and beers (branded Riders Brew Co.). Their wines include Shiraz, Cabernets, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer, as well as Apple Brandy and Tawny Port. Their ciders include Sparkling, Apple and Pear. Their beers include Golden / Summer Ale, American Pale Ale and Porter.
Darren and Farley Kelly founded Kellybrook Winery in 1962, starting with cider and then moving onto wine in the 1970s. It was the first winery in the Yarra Valley to receive it’s Vigneron Licence and Cellar Door licence (1969) and it is one of the few wineries in the Yarra Valley still owned by the original family. Set amongst lush vineyards and historic gardens, the winery offers an authentic Yarra Valley tasting and working farm experience. A large range of wines, beers, ciders and local produce are available for tasting and sale. Picnics and grazing plates featuring local produce are also available all day. The gardens feature a 125-year-old oak tree which is listed with the National Trust, as well as roses, salvias and bulbs.
On the last Sunday of each month, ‘Sunday Sessions’ are held with live, local music from 1.30-4pm and hot food from the kitchen. Over the first weekend in May, there is the annual Kellybrook Cider Festival, soon to be in its 30th year.
Ken King commenced planting his Kangaroo Ground vineyard in 1990. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties were chosen to suit the south facing site. Initially, the high quality grapes were sold to Yarra Valley wineries. In 2001, a well-equipped winery was built and the brand ‘Kings of Kangaroo Ground’ commenced. All wines are handcrafted, vegan compliant (no animal products used) and the grapes are pesticide free. Other grape varieties are now sourced from local ‘black soil’ growers and from a select vineyard in the Heathcote region. King’s passion is driven by the pursuit of excellence that can be achieved through minimalist wine-making intervention, they want their wines to be at the pinnacle of this traditional craft.
Nillumbik Estate is a family owned and operated boutique vineyard and winery in Smiths Gully. The cellar door is open every weekend and offers some of the most breath-taking views in the region across to the Kinglake Ranges, from its elevated viewing deck. Nillumbik Estate offers an extensive range of premium wines including its estate grown Domenic’s Paddock Pinot Noir made from 20 year old hand-pruned and hand-picked vines, the Matteo Nebbiolo and Miss ‘O’ Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Shiraz round off the wine selection. Delicious gourmet pizzas and antipasto platters are also on offer, as well as an extensive range of local produce. Winemaker John Tregambe uses traditional hand-crafted winemaking techniques stretching back generations. The son of Italian immigrants who arrived in Australia in the 1950s, John’s interest in wine making was sparked when watching his father practice age-old winemaking techniques in the family home. John also holds Masterclasses providing visitors with an insight into his winemaking and viticulture styles as well as the history of Nillumbik Estate and the region. Each session includes a guided tasting of his fine wines, followed by a delicious antipasto plate and a glass of wine on the deck.
At Panton Hill Vineyard and Winery you’ll discover beautiful buildings reminiscent of Tuscany, in a bush setting only 45 minutes from central Melbourne. In this family founded and run boutique winery you can taste a wide range of high quality, aged wines – dry, sweet, sparkling and fortified – which are totally estate produced using biological techniques. A huge open fire awaits you during the winter months or in summer, you can enjoy the beautiful courtyard. Homemade pizza and the cured olives are a menu specialty.
Blackhearts and Sparrows, Fitzroy North
Smith Street Cellars, Collingwood
The following bars and restaurants: Anada, Fitzroy; Builders Arms Hotel, Fitzroy; Cutler & Co, Fitzroy; Easy Tiger, Collingwood; Gibsons Wine Bar, Hawthorn; Green Park Dining, Carlton; Hammer and Tong, Fitzroy; Hell of the North, Fitzroy; Hotel Lincoln, Carlton; Lee Ho Fook Restaurant, Collingwood; Mercers, Eltham; Merricote, Northcote; Pinotta, Fitzroy North; Scopri, Carlton; Tao Tao House, Hawthorn; The Post Office Hotel, Coburg; The Town Mouse, Carlton; Underwood Wine Bar, Fitzroy North; Union Dining, Richmond
Notes (in their own words):
In 1975, the Lance family found a beautiful twenty acres of sloping land in the hamlet of St Andrews, Yarra Valley. The soils were poor, thin and riddled with rock. The elevation was high (250m) and the site was a natural ampitheatre, perfect for capturing sunlight without excessive heat.
The family began planting in 1976. Punch began in 2005, when James & Claire Lance began leasing the vineyard and winery. Their wine labels are Punch (made with own grapes), Friends of Punch (made with others’ grapes) and Elemental.
A small family owned and operated winery in Arthurs Creek. Their philosophy is to produce premium wines from estate-grown fruit ripened to optimum levels and matured in finest quality small oak barrels.
Swipers Gully Vineyard was established by Eltham College in 2002 with the aim of creating a boutique winery with an emphasis on producing small quantities of premium wine. Their vineyard is located on a 20 acre site, on which the vines currently occupy approximately 5 acres.
Local outlets:For sale by appointment – cellar door as part of Open Cellars of Nillumbik
Notes (in their own words):
Watson’s Creek Wines is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Kangaroo Ground, producing red wines from low-yielding, non-irrigated vines. The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Bordeaux blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec) are classic examples of the region’s fruit-driven, oak-balanced fine red wines. This small winery in a bush setting is open by appointment, and annually in October at Open Cellars of Nillumbik.
Established since 1994, and specialising in supplying restaurants nationally and internationally from Singapore to London, Wedgetail wines have develop a niche in the craft wine category, where quality is imperative. The amphitheatre-shaped vineyard in Cottles Bridge produces grapes of exceptional flavours. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are what their reputation lies on. Small quantities of Shiraz and Cabernet blend are also available. The winery offers spectacular views of the dramatic landscape of Nullumbik outer frontier. On the first weekend of every month the cellar door is open for tasting and food platers are on offer. Unlike most corporate wineries, the wine maker will talk you through the various wines that are open for tasting.
Yarra Valley Gateway Estate grows strawberries, capsicums and basil, runs a small beef herd, and makes wine and strawberry products. The fruit and vegetables are grown in a 5,000 square metre high tech hydroponic greenhouse, which uses much less water than conventional growing methods. The strawberries are available for U-pick. The beef herd is Angus cattle which are grass-fed and free of any hormones or growth stimulants; all regular cuts are available and they are also happy to cut to order. Their wines (Pinot Noir and Shiraz) are made from their own grapes. Finally, their strawberry products include liqueur, port and cream.
As well as their own produce, Gateway Estate sells a range of fruit, vegetables, pies, chutneys and jams at their farmgate, all grown or made in the Yarra Valley.
Next to the farmgate, there is a cafe where they sell cold drinks, local organic tea or coffee and local handmade cakes and biscuits.
Within 24 hours of picking, their grapes are crushed at Hanging Rock Winery and made into wine. 12 months after picking, their white wines are released to the market and 18 months after picking the reds are ready for release. Every second year they produce a Pinot Noir/Chardonnay sparkling wine and they usually blend their Cab Sav and Merlot to make a Cabernet Merlot.