One Day In Victoria
Last week I had some Sydney friends come down for a few days, thirsty for a Melbourne adventure.
As is often the case in my friendship circle, I was the first port of call.
I pride myself on being an excellent tour guide. In fact, I love nothing more than showing off my hometown to people stopping by- it was the case when I lived in Sydney and despite only living in Melbourne for a little under two years, I’ve made it my business to get acquainted with all the best places to eat, play, party and sleep.
My suggestions? A quick 1-hour road trip to a little slice of Victorian heaven.
We could go south, head down to the Mornington Peninsula to check out the Hot Springs for a day of pampering followed by a delicious lunch OR drive up north to the Yarra Valley to wander the Chandon Winery before treating ourselves to a tasting.
Unsurprisingly with my friends, the wine won.
Domaine Chandon is only a short hour and a bit drive north of Melbourne, in Coldstream Victoria.
As we turned down the long driveway, rows upon rows of white and red roses greeted us as the girls “Ooh’d” and “Ahh’d” – it really did look like something out of those whimsical Tourism Victoria ad’s with Isabel Lucas.
We headed straight to the cellar door and were greeted by one of Chandon’s finest Wine Ambassadors, Baptiste. To our absolute delight, Baptiste was as French as they come. In fact, I really had to concentrate on his mouth to understand what he was saying but to be honest, he could have been talking me through my tax return and it would have sounded like sweet, sweet poetry.
Having Baptiste as our official tour guide meant we were able to disobey the “Do Not Enter” signs in front of the vineyards as he took us into the vines, walking us through the varieties of grapes, letting us pick our own, tasting the difference in sweetness.
Baptiste was full of interesting insights and facts on how our favourite beverage was created- for instance we discovered the pretty roses at the end of the vineyards actually had a purpose. The red ones indicated the vines with red grapes, intended for red wine and the white roses indicated the vines with white roses, intended for champagne or white wine.
Makes complete sense but our minds were blown. (As were they when we finally confirmed it’s “MoeT”, not “Moe” and that every single champagne top is twisted 6 times exactly…small things amuse small minds etc. etc. etc.)
After an embarrassing photo opp (there is NO way to look natural whilst frolicking through a vineyard in gumboots) we headed inside for a tour of the actual wine making process aka. where the magic happens.
Chandon is Australia’s only wine estate with fair dinkam French heritage.
Baptiste took us through the wineries history, before explaining to us- in layman terms- exactly how champagne is made, step by step.
It was really interesting to see the different stations- from where the trucks unload tonnes upon tonnes of freshly picked grapes (stalks and occasional leaf included) into the big machine that squishes them…to the huge metal containers that hold the juice until it ferments.
As someone who often polishes off a bottle of champagne to herself-sometimes in an hour or two- it was amazing to see just how much work and effort, how many processes go into making each and every bottle.
I vowed to take more time savouring my champagne, enjoying every last sip and to never scull a glass again.
After our winery tour, Baptiste lead the way through Chandon’s flight of sparkling and still wines, which we all sipped and discussed as if we ourselves were suddenly now experts, as you do after a few hours at a winery.
The tasting was followed by a delicious lunch at the Greenpoint Brassiere where the girls and I devoured a charcuterie board of delicate cured meats with relish, house made parfait and toasts…and of course, more Chandon.
By the end of our visit, we were so full and giggly on champagne, we wondered if we would have to be rolled back home to Melbourne.
All up, a huge success and definite must-do for anyone looking for a way to spend a beautiful day in Victoria.
Merci for the hospitality Chandon!