#6: Whine less, drink wine more

April 30, 2011 in Australia,Places,Victoria

I’ve grown up in a wine-friendly family. My grandfather was a wine connoisseur who wrote an annual catalog of recommendations for colleagues, friends and family. My mom and grandma swear by one glass of wine a night—although my mom prefers white and Mimi won’t touch anything but red (and the occasional glass of pink champagne).

Christine Amorose at Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley, Australia

Even so, I’ve never been even close to a wine snob. My parents let me drink wine with my meals since I was in middle school, but I refused more often than not (in that truly American way of preferring to slam cheap beers instead of drinking nice wine responsibly). Somehow, I grew up two hours from Napa Valley without ever going wine tasting. I sip two-buck Chuck and price-is-no-object bottles with the same gusto. I admit that not only do I not have a “nose,” I don’t know much.

I’ve always been a bit embarrassed by my complete lack of wine knowledge, so when it came time to explore Victoria with my Sydney-raised friend Renee, I was quite keen to explore the Yarra Valley wine region—and cross #6 off my Australia bucket list.

Christine Amorose & Renee Eggers at Yering Station, Yarra Valley, Australia

There are myriad choices when it comes to wine tasting in Yarra Valley: the region boasts more than 80 wineries. To keep it simple, we decided to go on a tour with Australian Wine Tour Co., which took us to four different wineries.

Yering Farm: The brief introduction on wine tasting was the most valuable part of the day for me. The only problem is I then tasted every single wine possible and promptly forgot all I learned.

Just kidding. Kind of. The only thing I really remember is that the lighter in color a white wine is, the drier it is—and for the rest of the day, I did remember to check the color of every white I tried. To what purpose, I’m not exactly sure.

Christine Amorose enjoying lunch at Rochford Wines

Rochford Wines: Lunch was much needed after the massive taste test at Yering Farm on an empty stomach. There were four different mains to choose from, including one vegetarian option. There was a tasting session before sitting down so that you could choose what you wanted your one full glass of the day to be.

Yering Station: I fell in love with the Tawny at Yering Station—and despite being somewhat drunk and very broke, I decided to make my first grown-up purchase: a bottle of wine from a winery (opposed to the cheapest bottle in the liquor store). I’ve been sipping a tiny glass of port every night before bed since then, and feeling very restrained and mature.

Paris-style chairs at Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley, Australia

Domaine Chandon: Easily the most beautiful winery we visited, Domaine Chandon indulged my inner Francophile: the typical Jardins green chairs, the glasses of bubbly, the cheese and chutney plate. Perfect way to end the day.

Australian Wine Tour Co. was the cheapest option I found for a daylong tour, and was promoted at Base Hostel in St Kilda. Our group skewed to the young boozer side, although there were a few middle-aged couples.

The $110 price tag includes wine tasting at three wineries, lunch at Rochford winery with a full glass of wine and a glass of bubbly and shared cheese and chutney at Domaine Chandon. Its greatest value comes in the Wine 101 introduction course at the first winery, transportation to and from Melbourne and the chance to meet other people–a bunch of us went out for drinks after the tour ended!

Have you been wine tasting in Yarra Valley? What did you think?

  • I’m in the same boast as you, wine-wise.

    BTW, do you know the Cardigans song, “I Need Some Fine Wine, And You, You Need To Be Nicer”? It’s awesome.

  • I haven’t been wine tasting in the Yarra Valley… but I did go in Lebanon, Spain and Switzerland! I don’t know much about wine neither… I just know when I like it or when I don’t (and that’s my only judgement!).

  • This sounds like the perfect day. I could really go for a glass of vino tinto and a cheese plate right about now!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a fabulous day!
    I absolutely love the title of this post…very sound advice.

  • I have to get down there one day. I know a little about wine and i would love to spend the weekend in the Yarra. I am from Sydney and have only been to the Hunter Valley and there is nothing better than sipped amazing wine and eating delicious food with a spectacular surrounding you. I am very jealous!

  • We lived in Melbourne four years and never got out there – we always chose Mornington Peninsula instead, which is amazing if you have time to get down there. We’ll definitely have to get to Yarra for tasting someday.

  • Make sure to make it to Barossa Valley! I loved the Aussie wines, but nothing comes close to Argentinean wines in my book. You look so pretty in your pics! :)

  • Anonymous

    ha! great title and great post. Since I’m usually tanked after one measly glass of wine, I don’t know if wine tasting is in my future but through you I know now what to look for in determining whether the wine is dry or sweet! (though looking at the bottle we have in our fridge that is supposed to be served with foie gras, it’s obviously sweet. It’s virtually yellow!)

  • You aren’t the only one! I know nothing about wine either and I’ve only slightly started to kind of maybe like it but at the moment will take a beer over wine any day :)
    Saying that though I have been on at least one wine tour (there may have been more?) but the one I remember was to a winery inside a cave in the middle of no where in France and I remember it being very lovely :)

  • Raquel

    What a fun day trip! Drink up, I sure do miss vino… You make me want to pack up the baby (well, once it gets here) and travel the world. Cheers!

  • This sounds like a great fun way to explore wine. I really don’t know much about wine either and I’m not sure I really care! I like wine – – just some is better than others.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t heard that song, but I LOVE it already. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    The thing is, I almost never find a wine I don’t like!

  • Anonymous

    I think I’m finishing my bottle of port tonight–it shall be a sad event! It’s been such a nice way to end my evenings :)

  • Anonymous

    All credit goes to my friend who did a play on words of a Swedish proverb on Facebook–but I thought it was pretty fun!

  • Anonymous

    Hunter Valley is definitely next on my list! Any wineries or tours you recommend?

  • Anonymous

    I definitely want to see Mornington Peninsula–heard great things! Is there wine tasting there as well or is just a pretty day trip?

  • Anonymous

    I definitely want to see Mornington Peninsula–heard great things! Is there wine tasting there as well or is just a pretty day trip?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you lady! I don’t think I’ve tried any Argentinean wines–will have to rectify that soon!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you lady! I don’t think I’ve tried any Argentinean wines–will have to rectify that soon!

  • Anonymous

    You can always throw it out after a sip–although I feel like that’s a bit of sacrilege! It’s definitely a long day if you’re a lightweight, but still lots of fun–good weather, great food, pretty surroundings :)

  • Anonymous

    I’m definitely a beer girl too–my problem is that there are too few drinks that I DON’T like! That sounds like quite a wine tour–I totally want to go again in France! There’s apparently this epic weekend festival where a glass costs $2 and all the wine is free after that–it’s to start the harvest or something like that. Sounds like so much fun!

  • Anonymous

    You’ll have to reward yourself with a nice glass of wine VERY soon–the baby will be here before you know it!

  • Anonymous

    I pretty much like all wine–that’s my problem :)

  •  We didn’t make it to the Yarra Valley region but I really liked the Barossa Valley area.  It amazes me how high they fill those glasses on the wine tastings!  :)

  • Pingback: Brewery tours: the best invention since beer | C'est Christine()

  • Anonymous

    You definitely get a generous serve of wine on those days–so much fun! Still want to check out Barossa and Hunter Valley!

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