Vineyards in the Spring

Tour Around & Taste Top Drops

You might have noticed a change in the air recently – weather getting warmer, days getting longer, birds getting chirpier and flowers blossoming abundantly.It can mean only one thing; spring is well and truly on our doorstep.And what better way to welcome it than with a scenic drive through rolling countryside, leading to the promise of fine wine enjoyed in fine company.

Vineyards in the Spring

Australia is lucky to boast an almost endless number of wineries and for most people, visiting one or even a few of them involves little more than a short drive or leisurely day trip.So whether you fancy hopping from cellar door to cellar door or spending a whole afternoon basking in the sun, glass of wine in hand, you needn’t go too far to find a wine experience waiting to be savoured.Here are some of our recommendations.

Elmswood Estate, VIC

For boutique wines accompanied by breathtaking scenery set your GPS for Elmswood Estate, spread across 20 acres in the Upper Yarra Valley an hour from Melbourne.Whether you fancy red or white, you’re sure to find a drop to please your palate. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are all produced here and available to taste in the cosy, firelit tractor shed-turned-cellar door.If you’re feeling peckish, head to the glass-walled ‘Pavilion’ or rose garden for a café-style lunch, available on weekends and most public holidays.

Vineyards in the Spring

Jansz Tasmania, TAS

An hour’s scenic drive north-east of Launceston takes you to the award-winning Jansz Tasmania in Pipers Brook, part of a region known as ‘Sparkling Tasmania’.The climate here mirrors that of Champagne, making it perfect sparkling-producing territory; in fact, Jansz is the only sparkling-only winemaker in Tasmania and helped to put Tasmanian sparkling wine on the global map. Tastings and matching cheeses are offered in the stylish Wine Room & Interpretive Centre, along with talks by winemaker Natalie Fryar.A glass of Jansz Premium Vintage Cuvee or fruity Premium Rose makes an ideal partner for a walk around the lake.

Kilikanoon Wines, SA

A boutique winery with an international reputation, Kilikanoon Wines produces some exceptional wines, including the Oracle Shiraz (awarded ‘Best Shiraz’ worldwide in 2004 and 2008) and the intensely flavoured Morts Reserve Watervale Riesling.Awarded 5 stars by James Halliday, Kilikanoon Wines are handcrafted from grapes grown throughout South Australia as well as in the Loire and Rhône Valleys in France.However, you can sample most of them at the cellar door in Penwortham in the Clare Valley, surrounded by gardens and sweeping vineyards.

Vineyards in the Spring

Lerida Estate, NSW

Lake George forms the picture-perfect backdrop to the Halliday 5 star Lerida Estate, located just a short drive from Canberra and Goulburn. You could easily spend half a day or more at this winery, which incorporates a winery/café/cellar door complex designed by Glenn Murcutt and nearly eight hectares of vineyards.Pop by the tasting room to sample their award-winning Pinot Noir and Shiraz Viognier before enjoying a leisurely lunch overlooking the lake. If you’re inclined to linger longer, tours of the winery offer a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes.They also conduct free walks taking you past the vineyards and around Lake George.

Sirromet Winery, QLD

Offering views to Moreton Bay from its magnificent Mount Cotton setting midway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the multi-award winning Sirromet Wines is arguably Queensland’s premier winemaker.This state-of-the-art complex offers the complete winery experience:Cellar door tastings, special events, fine dining at the acclaimed Restaurant Lurleen’s, and a variety of winery tours ranging from ‘behind the scenes’ guided tours to barrel tastings to in-depth sensory and fault appreciations with the winemakers.With an extensive range of wines including the citrus-noted 2009 Signature Collection Chardonnay and the richly fruity 2006 Vineyard Selection Cabernet Merlot available to purchase, you’ll find it hard to leave empty handed.

By AGFG staff writer Belinda Moo