52 Great Weekends

No 46: Greatest Wineries

Wind your way along and around the Great Ocean Road and discover some of the best wineries in Australia. Meet the friendly winemakers at the charming cellar doors and learn first-hand about their unique processes. Taste the fruits of their labour – quality wines produced and handpicked from their vineyards as you relax in the scenic settings of this lesser known wine region.

Dinny Goonan Wines, Bambra

What this boutique winery might lack in size it makes up for in huge amounts of country hospitality. From the moment you’re welcomed into the cellar door you feel right at home at this friendly winery that received recognition in the 2021 Top Wineries of Australia. Settle in for a free tasting of the award-winning wines or sip-back and enjoy the view with an informal vineyard platter.

After a tasting of the 2020 Riesling, 2020 Chardonnay, 2015 Botrytis Semillon, 2020 Pinot Noir and the 2017 Shiraz we chose a bottle of the 2020 Chardonnay. It’s no wonder this dry but lively white with the refreshing aromas of white flowers, lemons, limes and citrus is also a favourite of James Halliday. It pairs beautifully with the locally sourced cheese platter served on the deck with views of the 40 year-old vines.

Dinny Goonan is just one of the cellar doors of the Otway Harvest Trail. You can continue to excite your palette as you follow the trail of fine wine to the cellar doors of Blake’s Estate, Yeowarra Hill Winery and Brown Magpie Wines.

Blakes Estate Winery, Otways

In the foothills of the Otways, this Deans Marsh winery is doing magical things with pinot noir. Visit the cellar door on weekends from November through June to try it for yourself. The grapes are hand pruned and picked, the wines are made with minimal intervention. In addition to the pinot, you can also sample a “Champagne style” sparkling wine from their pinot grapes and a rosé.

Yeowarra Hill, Colac

Your exploration of the Otway Harvest Trail will next take you to the romantic gardens of Yeowarra Hill. The beautifully manicured gardens overlook the rolling hills, lake and vines, with views all the way to the Otway Ranges. Yeowarra Hill is open by appointment only, but it’s worth planning ahead for an intimate tasting of their small batch pinot noir, chardonnay and vintage cuvee.

Bellbrae Estate, Bellbrae

Bellbrae Estate is the only vineyard officially on the Great Ocean Road, located five minutes from Bells Beach. The vines were planted in 1999 on the rolling green hills of the Surf Coast. Sample the pinnacle Bellbrae Estate wines and the local Longboard Range at the Cellar Door or during a long lunch on the lawn.
Looking for a souvenir to take home? The bottle labels showcase the local spectacular coastline, a sipible souvenir so you never forget this great weekend.

Keayang Maar Vineyard, Dixie

Tucked away at Dixie, between Terang and Timboon in southwest Victoria, is Keayang Maar Vineyard. The name Keayang comes from the language of the Yarro-Waech people, the traditional owners of the land and refers to an eel or freshwater fish found in the surrounding waterways.

Enjoy an afternoon sampling the delicious cool climate wines from vines planted on a sloping volcanic crater. The first vines were planted in 2005 by the Wurlod family and the vineyard has continued to expand since. Previously home to two generations of milk production, the land is rich with free-draining soils and a mixture of sandstone and clay which produces such outstanding, cool-climate red and white varieties.

From Wednesday to Sunday settle back at the modern Cellar Door for a tasting of the refreshing whites and warming, rich reds served with a wood-fired Italian pizza.

Suffoir Winery, Macarthur

Suffoir is a family-owned and operated farm, winery, brewery, cidery and distillery inspired by the animals on the property and the South African heritage of the owners. Everything is sustainably produced onsite. Located on the outskirts of Macarthur, only 30 minutes from Port Fairy and next to Budj Bim National Park.

The Suffoir name is derived from the properties Suffolk sheep and Pinot Noir Vines. Enjoy a wine tasting at the Cellar Door or treat yourself to the full ‘Wine in the Vines’ experience as you privately drink and dine in the heart of this picturesque vineyard.

Suffoir Winery is famous for its annual Music in the Vines Festival. But a lesser known but equally exciting offering is their unique and luxurious accommodation experience. Be one of the first guests to spend the night in the restored Red Rattler Tram Car accommodation, complete with firepit that overlooks the vines . The peaceful surroundings make for a great night’s sleep too!

Wando Lodge Wines, Casterton

Welcome to the winery estate of Wando Lodge, just outside the charming country town of Casterton. Sample the wines with a locally sourced cheese platter at the cellar door, charming crafted from a renovated shearing shed. Not only a vineyard, Wando Lodge is also a working farm and thoroughbred stud. When you finish your wine make sure to wander through the vines and say hello to the new foals.

Basalt Wines, Port Fairy

The volcanic soil of South West Victoria creates some of the greatest wines going around. Located near Port Fairy and the culturally significant landscape of Tower Hill, make sure to stop at Basalt Wines’ newly constructed Cellar Door to try their award-winning Riesling and Pinot Noir. You can also enjoy a wine making tour, vine-side wine tastings and lunch celebrating local produce at the winery restaurant.

OTWAY ESTATE VINEYARD, BARONGAROOK

Located on the borders of Colac, the Otway Estate Vineyard is the most famous Great Ocean Road winery. The first vines were planted in 1983 but this Estate has been offering sensational views since 1980. Open Friday, Saturday, and Saturday spend some of your weekend touring the Otway Estate Vineyard and tasting the handcrafted fine wines.

"Heroes" Vineyard, Murroon

Nature loves “Heroes” Vineyard too. This organic, eight-acreage vineyard uses a holistic approach to winemaking with no pesticides used to produce their voluminous grapes. Taste Heroes red, white, sparkling, and rose wines at the Cellar Door from December to April on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tastes of the Region, Apollo Bay

Don’t have a weekend to try all the wineries? Tastes of the Region in Apollo Bay is your one-stop shop for local wines and tastings along the Great Ocean Road. You can find all the wines mentioned above as well as local craft beers, gins, ciders and produce at this bottle shop and tasting room.

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Top 5 things that made the weekend great

  • Staying in the luxurious Red Rattler Tram Car overlooking the vines of Suffoir Winery

  • Sipping cool climate wines on the slopes of a volcanic crater at Keayang Maar

  • Sampling the Longboard Range at Bellbrae Estate, 5mins from Bells Beach

  • Meeting the makers at Bellbrae Estate

  • Vine-side wine tastings at Dinny Goonan Wines

Why not go for a winery wander this weekend?


 

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.