The second cellar door that we visited in the Yarra Valley was Giant Steps. Giant Steps was founded by Phil Sexton who was also the founder of the Matilda Bay and Little Creatures Breweries as well as the Devil’s Lair Vineyard in Margaret River Western Australia, where Phil grew up. The reason for establishing Giant Steps, in 2003, was to fulfill Phil’s desire to produce quality cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.
The Giant Steps Cellar Door is not situated on one of their 5 vineyards, it is located within the township of Healesville and is also a pretty good restaurant, definitely worth a visit for lunch or dinner if you are in the area. Read more
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Yarra Yering Cellar Door in Victoria’s Yarra Valley with some friends from the US of A. The Yarra Valley is close enough to Melbourne that a day trip visit to a couple of wineries is easily done.
The original Yarra Yering grapes were planted in 1969, which was an auspicious year, in the Yarra Valley. The Yarra was, up until the late 1920’s, the site of a number of vineyards, but, due to a number of reasons, they vineyards were replaced with grazing land for sheep. It took a worldly Doctor of Philosophy, Dr Carrodus, who also held degrees in horticulture and wine making, to take the plunge and start up a winery, Yarra Yering, in the region.
Dr Carrodus spent time at Oxford where he became enamored with old-world wines and, on his return to Australia, decided he would try his hand at making his own wines with old-world traits. But where to plant is vines?? Will leave the rest of the story to Yarra Yering. Read more
Our visit was to the José Maria da Fonseca Manor House in Setúbal which is where the winery was founded in 1834. The Manor House was built in the 19th century and restored in 1923 and was the family’s residence until 1974.
Whilst in Portugal what should a wine lover like me do, go to Porto to do a bit of wine tasting, wrong, that is what everyone does. Not really something that I would say is appropriate for me as it is too safe, so I decided to visit the Alentejo D.O.C instead. I am reliably informed that all D.O.C’s ( Denominação de Origem Controlada) in Portugal are very good, so I was not risking much.
As my Portuguese is as good as my Mandarin and I did not want to taste and drive a wine tour was in order. My tour of choice was Cooltour Lisbon‘s Alentejo Wine Tour from Lisbon Including Lunch, the problem was that I was the only one who was booked to go on my tour, luckily for me I was able to convince (well all I had to say was wine) and two friends (who I met for the first time in person after 7 years of remote abuse and banter) Kelly and Tony Summers to join me.