wine-drinking tourists to melbourne would have designated the yarra valley as one of the must visit places in melbourne. as for me, a social drinker, who has visited melbourne at least a dozen times, i made my first visit to the yarra valley wineries today. my original plan was to go to miss marples in sassafras for tea but my friend chris suggested yarra glen as i had been to saafraas and olinda a few times already.
enroute to the yarra valley, we dropped in at lilydale. i have heard of lilydale but i had not seen the place. chris perked my interest when he mentioned some 19th century buildings, including a small theatre and a museum in the town. we did not manage to see the inside of the theatre as it was in total darkness but we managed to get a glimpse of the lobby.
at yarra glen, we stopped to have coffee and pie at a small cafe. that is one aspect of life in australia that appeals to me: you wander to some outlying town and have a light meal on the sidewalk. would have been perfect except for the pesky houseflies that appear in droves in summer. across the road was a brewery. we tried the six types of home brewed beer; rather it was chris who tried most of it while i had the apple cider only.
the first winery we dropped in was the yering, the oldest winery in the valley. this winery was different from those i had visited at the mornington peninsula. it has a fairly long history and the original buildings have been conserved. the other winery - the chandon - conducts daily tour for walk-in visitors. we joined one group at the tail end of their tour and managed to see the wine hall.
although we did not buy any wine, we stayed back to have a light meal at the cafe so as to enjoy the countryside scenery - the vineyard and the mountains in the distance.