For details of some of our local wineries, see the relevant part of the Local Food Directory.
How many wineries you think there are in North East Melbourne large depends on how far east you think that Melbourne extends. If you think that it includes the western suburbs of Yarra Ranges (Coldstream, Dixons Creek, Yarra Glen, etc), then there are around 65 wineries in North East Melbourne. If, however, you think that it doesn’t extend into the Yarra Ranges, then the number falls to around 20. Putting this another way, there are a lot of wineries (around 45) in the western suburbs of Yarra Ranges, which is effectively the western part of Yarra Valley.
Most of the wineries have a cellar door and many also have a cafe or restaurant.
The map below shows the locations of many of the wineries. 45 in the western part of Yarra Valley are shown in green, the 12 in Nillumbik are shown in red, and 7 others are shown in blue. Click any of the icons to see the winery name, their address, their phone number and a link to their Local Food Directory page or website
The 6 to the South West of the Yarra Valley are: Kellybrook Winery in Wonga Park; Rob Dolan Wines in Warrandyte South; and Billanook Estate, Cosmo Wines, Vue on Halcyon and Yarra Edge in Chirnside Park.
The rest of the material on this page focuses on the wineries/vineyards that are in Nillumbik.
The wineries and vineyards in Nillumbik
There are lots of wineries/vineyards in Nillumbik. Whilst these artisan wine-makers are technically classified as producing Yarra Valley wines, they understand, at the vineyard level, what will thrive and what will fail in the Nillumbik soils, at this altitude and in these weather conditions. They don’t have a broad open valley – their vines are planted among small rolling hills in (typically) shallow grey loam over mudstone with precious little rainfall. These vignerons and wine-makers have learned through experience what best suits this unique region, how much rain to expect, how the grapes are likely to ripen to reach their optimal harvesting time, and what to do in the occasional bushfire. What sets these small family-owned Nillumbik wineries apart is their intimate connection with Nillumbik and its rolling hills … and to their vineyards nestled among small hamlets and villages with distinctly Australia names like Kangaroo Ground, Smiths Gully, and Arthurs Creek.
Choosing wine is a matter of a taste so I’m not going to give my opinions on which of the wines I like. Rather, what I am going to do is simply to tell you what you can buy where. Here is a table listing the 12 Nillumbik wineries included in the Local Food Directory1 and what wines they make (click any of the names for a page with more detail about that winery).
|Buttermans Track||St Andrews||X||X||Sangiovese|
|Easthill Estate||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X|
|Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard||Cottles Bridge||X||X||X|
|Kings of Kangaroo Ground||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X||X||X||Riesling|
|Nillumbik Estate||Smiths Gully||X||X||X||X||X||Several2|
|Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery||Panton Hill||X||X||X||X||X||Several3|
|Shaws Road Winery||Arthurs Creek||X||X||Several4|
|Swipers Gully Vineyard||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X||X||Several5|
|Watson’s Creek Wines||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X||Malbec|
|Wedgetail Estate||Cottles Bridge||X||X||X||X|
|Yarrambat Estate Vineyard||Yarrambat||X||X||X||X|
1. At least four other wineries in Nillumbik are not included in the Directory, mainly because they only sell their wines by mail order.
These are: Diamond Valley Vineyards, Massaros, Naked Range Wines and Stockman Wines.
2. Pinot Chardonnay (sparkling), Pinot Grigio, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo.
3. Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot-Franc, Chardonnay Liquor, Muscat, Pinot Port, Sparking Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Verdelho.
5. Sparkling Merlot, Verduzzo.
Clearly, before you buy any of the wines, you will probably want to taste them first. There are two main ways of doing this:
- Cellar door: most of the wineries have a cellar door, typically open on Saturdays and Sundays. As well as offering (free) wine tastings, some also offer food, and most have great vistas, so you can make an afternoon of it. For example, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery has around 6 wines available for tastings, serves pizza and has great buildings to look at and walk through (see picture).
- Open Cellars (each June and October): most of the wineries open their doors on a particular weekend so that visitors can follow a trail from winery to winery. On these weekends, all of the wineries offer food and many have live music. The wine-makers are knowledgeable, friendly and happy to talk about wine and wine-making, and to provide a guided tasting lesson.
To help you plan your trip(s) around the wineries, here is a map of where they are (click to enlarge):
A few of the wineries only sell their products onsite. But most also sell online and some also sell via licensed shops. The table below provides details (again, click any of the names for a page with more detail about that winery or outlet).
|Buttermans Track||St Andrews||X||X||X|
|Easthill Estate||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X|
|Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard||Cottles Bridge||X||X|
|Kings of Kangaroo Ground||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X||X||Several1|
|Nillumbik Estate||Smiths Gully||X||X||X|
|Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery||Panton Hill||X||X||X|
|Shaws Road Winery||Arthurs Creek||X||X||X||X||X||IGA Friendly Grocers, Hurstbridge|
|Swipers Gully Vineyard||Kangaroo Ground||X||X||X|
|Watson’s Creek Wines||Kangaroo Ground||X|
|Wedgetail Estate||Cottles Bridge||X||X||X||X||X||Dan Murphy’s|
|Yarrambat Estate Vineyard||Yarrambat||X||X||X|
1. Alphington Farmers’ Market; Shillinglaw Cafe, Eltham.
2. Blackhearts and Sparrows, Fitzroy North and Smith Street Cellars, Collingwood. Also, 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; Little Drop of Poison, Eltham; 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.
A final note: did you know that Australia’s largest annual amateur wine event is organised by the Eltham & District Winemakers Guild and is held in Bulleen every November? The event is open to the public and includes lots of tasting opportunities (many of them being exotic flavoured wines), food/wine matching workshops and sausage etc making demonstrations. It really is well worth a visit. See the Guild’s website for details.