Victoria – Melbourne – Get out of town for a vineyard lunch

Great country dining within an hour from the city

By Robyn Lewis
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Mandala Wines, the Yarra Valley's newest wine and food destination

Mandala Wines, the Yarra Valley's newest wine and food destination [©Photographer: Nick Robinson]

Vines of Red Hill, licensed restaurant and vineyard, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps cellar door, Healesville, Victoria
Woodman Estate, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Vineyard Cookbook

 

There are some great country lunching places not far from Melbourne to enjoy on a day off or a lazy weekend – and they're good for showcasing Victoria to visiting out-of-towners.

 

Mornington Peninsula:

  • Voted Australia’s best vineyard restaurant, it's always good – any wine and food lover would enjoy Montalto and its surrounding garden, sculpture walk and views, and there's an outdoor bistro area for more casual occasions.
  • Also right up there in quality and with great service is Salix at Willow Creek. The food is as delicious as ever.
  • Looking for somewhere new? Try the spectacular Port Phillip Estate, especially if you enjoy modern surrounds and fabulous views.
  • Red Hill Cellars Order your gourmet picnic basket in advance – full of local produce and a few gourmet favourites from interstate and overseas, then find a spot overlooking one of the Peninsula's wild back beaches. Enjoy the view, devour the basket!
  • Stillwater at Crittenden (Dromana) For a family friendly lunch – first treat yourself to a wine tasting in the Crittenden cellar door and sample estate-made produce, before settling in for a magnificent three course luncheon in the dining room. Stroll around the lake and finish with a coffee on the terrace – the perfect family lunch!
  • Something smaller, quieter and a bit different – Bittern Cottage, just south of Hastings on the eastern side, when you can experience European-style lunches, sharing tables and enjoying Noel and Jenny Burrows' own menu du jour;
  • La Petanque – for a delightful and relaxing touch of France on Red Hill. Right up there in quality.
  • Pier 10   – fancy a lively lunch with a bit of jazz on the side, perhaps? Then check our Pier 10.
  • Vines of Red Hill, for a classical lunch in vineyard surrounds.

 

Yarra Valley:

  • Mandala is one of the Valley's best wine and food destinations. Very special. 
  • De Bortoli – always a favourite, especially for Italian food lovers.
  • Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander – if you enjoy a casual, upbeat atmosphere, this is it. Wood-fired pizzas, bakery, cafe and beer on tap as well as wines.
  • Yering Station offers you both formal and informal dining, with views across the Valley to the Dandenong Ranges.
  • Domaine Chandon – warm up with a wine tasting (don't miss their sparkling wine) then stay for lunch. Another great place to take your visiting guests from overseas.
  • Tarrawarra Estate – enjoy some art, then match wine with your lunch in the Wine Bar Cafe.

 

Geelong/Melbourne West:

  • Shadowfax – lunches here are bit more edgy and informal.
  • Pettavel – award-winning food, for modern food-lovers, great wines too.
  • Sunnybrae with George Biron – one of our all time favourites, in the village of Birregurra. Allow the entire afternoon!
  • Spray Farm on the Bellarine Peninsula; lovely views especially.

 

Macedon Ranges:

Head to the township of Kyneton – there are way too many good places to eat for one small town and it's only an hour from Melbourne.

  • Annie Smithers Bistrot for French-inspired use of local produce and award-winning style.
  • Royal George Hotel – serious food, serious wine, serious fun. There are many more to choose from in this foodie town!

 

Or perhaps you might like to spoil yourself and make a weekend of it. Stay at

  • Kyneton Ridge Estate, just 8km from the centre of Kyneton. Bed and Breakfast accommodation, fantastic views, friendly cafe onsite, good wines and a roaring fireplace in winter.

Also overnight 

Mornington Peninsula:

  • Woodman Estate – Luxury boutique accommodation, restaurant and day spa in Merricks on the east of the Mornington Peninsula. Treat yourself to a divine high tea and perhaps a massage at the day spa as well.

 

Yarra Valley:

  • Ainsworth Estate, family-owned and operated boutique winery, restaurant and luxury accommodation. Wine tastings and meals in a relaxed friendly environment with spectacular views across the valley, or for a total indulgence stay overnight in one of the three luxurious self-contained one bedroom apartments.

  

Can’t get out of town? Maybe treat yourself to a great book about wine or beer or a wonderful cookbook. Check out our Top 12 for 2011.

  • VisitVineyards.com's Top 12 Cookbooks of 2011 – What’s made the VisitVineyards.com Top Dozen food books this year? Which inspired us, made us want to rush into our kitchens, and filled us with dreams? 
  • VisitVineyards.com's Top 12 Wine and Beer Books of 2011 – Our annual Top 12 Wine and Beer Books of 2011 provides some great inspiration for the festive season. This year, there’s a bit more quirk and international wine flavour in our top dozen, as well as the reliably good wine guides.

 

 

Regions

  • Melbourne Surrounds (VIC)

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