Moorabool Valley Taste Trail
Discover a network of trails that lead to great food and wine in beautiful countryside across Victoria.
The producers of Victorian food and wine are clustered in tight knit communities across this compact state. Attracted by fertile soil and clean water, food producers and wine growers have founded their farms and vineyards in the most beautiful parts of the state. Here they welcome visitors with open arms to try their wines and taste their food. Throughout Victoria, you’ll find food and wine trails mapped out showing the road to take and the places to stop along the way.
The Mornington Peninsula is a patchwork of green pastures, vineyards, orchards, olive groves and native forests surrounded by picturesque beach lined coast. Intersecting this bucolic landscape are winding country lanes where people such as Neville Mock harvests his biodynamic apples from the family orchard, Mock Red Hill (mockredhill.com.au) at Main Ridge. Those apples he doesn’t sell fresh he makes into cider and cider vinegar. Over the valley live the Brandon family, who make award winning cheese at Red Hill Cheese which they offer for tasting at their farm gate. There are 67 more wineries, restaurants, breweries and like-minded food and wine business with dining rooms, farm gates and cellar doors listed at.
As the Yarra River sweeps down from the forest clad Yarra Ranges it forms a fertile swathe of rich grazing land, vegetable farms and vineyards. This is one of the world’s great regions for cold climate wines. The valley has attracted big names like French company Domaine Chandon but also out for small winemakers such as Frenchman Dominique Portet or www.sevilleestate.com.au, just off the lesser visited Warburton Highway section of the Yarra Valley. Here the Van Der Meulen family have a small dining room where they serve Chinese five spice duck to match their estate Pinot Noir. Although best known for its wine the Yarra Valley also has some superb farm gates such as Yarra Valley Dairy, a state of the art artisan cheese cheese making facility with a farm gate store nestled into a rustic former dairy. The Yarra Valley was for many years home to cider making and this age old tradition has seen a resurgence with cideries dotted around the Valley. Explore these and the craft breweries along the Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail.
With its wide beaches, secluded seaside villages and vineyard views over Port Phillip Bay the Bellarine Peninsula, simply by the folds of the landscape, hides its food and wine gems down country lanes and secluded streets. The local mussel industry supplies native blue mussels around the nation and you can get them fresh off the boat, both raw or cooked by the Bold family in the town of Bellarine. Another well regarded supplier is Lance Wiffen of Sea Bounty Mussels. The region is very well known for its cold climate Pinot Noir, with one well known wine maker Brett Rainer constantly achieving high scores for his wines.
Murray To Mountains Rail Trail
This is a one of the world’s best gourmet cycling trails which follows the course of the Ovens River along a disused train line through grazing country, hops gardens, and vineyards towards the Victorian Alps. The trail takes you past the cellar door of the Morris Family’s winery where you can taste outstanding table wines, fortified wines and sherry-like apera made in a traditional solera system. The trail leads into historic villages like Beechworth where former winemaker Ben Kraus at Bridge Road Brewers makes craft beers that are considered some of the nation’s best. Here also lives and cooks one of the nation’s best regional chefs Michael Ryan of The Provenance, who is renowned for using local ingredients cooked with Japanese influence. The rail trail continues past other wineries, breweries and restaurants for, in total, 100km. The occasional sound of the clear waters of the Ovens Rivers are a refreshing companion, particularly in summer, when one can cool one’s toes in the pristine waters. There’s a wide choice of boutique accommodation, ground support and First Class train connection to Melbourne.
The hinterland of the Great Ocean Road is a mountain range cloaked in eucalypt and rainforest that gives way to rich rolling green countryside. With high rainfall and rich earth the farmland of Otway ranges can be explored on the Otway Harvest Trail. This is a touring map that highlights places where you can meet growers, producers and good food, wine and beer makers and taste and buy their product. From the ripe summer berries of Beechy Berries at Ferguson to the highly regarded sparkling wines of Blakes Estate this is a trail to explore the countryside, pick up some great produce and enjoy some great food.
With roadside fruit and vegetable stalls, charcuterie producers, bakers, popular farmers markets and some of Victoria’s best known restaurants this region boasts historic villages perched amongst a huge swathe of forest and fertile volcanic farmland.
To the north-west of Melbourne is Bendigo, a Grand Victorian era city, surrounded by scores of historic towns that were built from the great wealth of the 19th century gold rush that make up Victoria’s central Goldfields. A superb new smartphone App (search for Bendigo Food N Wine) lets visitors explore the cellar doors, farm gates and restaurants of the region. Some of the nation’s best shiraz is grown here at Heathcote where people like Greg and Natala Flynn give visitors a taste of wine samples straight from barrels to understand how shiraz from different blocks taste and how different types of oak affect flavour. Use the App to find Mason’s of Bendigo Restaurant in the heart of historic Bendigo where chefs Nick and Sonia Anthony prepare great meals from the excellent produce of the region.