I was really excited to start this project off, and to start with Yering Station was an easy choice. I selected Yering Station because it is the site of the first European settlement in the valley as well as being the first vineyard; a place for beginnings.
A little History
The site was settled by 3 brothers from Scotland; the Ryries. The site was primarily settled as a cattle station with the first vine stock being planted in 1838, making the first Yarra Valley wine in 1845. The name 'Yering' comes from the aboriginal word 'Deep pool' in the local dialect of the Wurundjeri people.
In the 1850's the Ryries brothers returned to Sydney selling Yering Station to a Swiss immigrant Paul de Castella. Upon taking on the property de Castella with another Swiss immigrant Samuel de Pury expanded and developed the vineyard and winery. The efforts were rewarded in 1861 Yering won the Argus Gold Cup, an award denoting the best vineyard in Victoria.
In 1889 Yering Station won a 'Grand Prix' at the Paris Exhibition, one of only fourteen entrants outside of Europe and the sole acknowledgement for an entrant from the Southern Hemisphere.
The property has been bought and sold over the next hundred years for today to be owned by the Rathbone family who purchased the property in 1996. Since then Yering has seen some modern development with a new restaurant, winery, exhibition area and converting some of the heritage buildings into new spaces; such as the old winery (1859) into the modern cellar door and produce store and the barn into the modern farmers market facilities.
More details on the history of the site and winery visit : yearing.com/history
I arrived at Yering at 12:30pm on a Sunday morning. Fortunately for me, the local farmers market was in full swing for another 30 minutes. There was a small band playing, food cooking, tastings of Yarra valley produce in many forms from jams and relishes, charcuterie, cheeses, tea, coffee. The video below is a good representation of what is going on:
I elected to wander around through the market, then the greater vineyard seeking photo opportunities. What strikes me about Yering Station is the meeting of the heritage and history of the place along with the new, modern facilities. From the old homestead now a hotel, the old winery now cellar door and store to the modern new restaurant and winery facilities.
In making my way around, I was surprised to see very little other than a small plaque on the cellar door to provide any details as to the historic story of the place.
The viewing platform behind the new restaurant provides a beautiful panoramic view of the Yarra Valley towards the Dandenongs.
Once oriented to the layout and facilities of the place it was time to visit the cellar door and taste what this place was made to make, good Yarra Valley wine.
Upon entering the cellar door you find yourself in front of the produce store, and up the stairs you can head off to "Matt's Bar" on the roof top to enjoy something you may have sampled in the tasting area. Towards the back of the building is a large tasting area, the Sunday I was there it was quite busy.
So whilst I waited for the crowds around the tasting bar to thin a little I took in the artwork that is displayed around the whitewashed brick walls.
There was a large number of wines on tasting, so I selected a few that looked appealing to me.
The Village Range of wines are wines made by Yering, however grapes are selected from vineyards within the Yarra Valley.
- Yering Station Village 2010 Fume
- Yering Station Village 2010 Chardonnay
As the name suggests the Estate wines are made from grapes grown on the Yering Station Estate.
- Yering Station Estate 2010 Chardonnay
- Yering Station Estate 2010 Pinot Noir
- Yering Station Estate 2010 Shiraz Viognier
To taste the Single Vineyard and Reserve wines there is a little charge that is redeemable off the price of your wine purchase at the produce store. To taste the flight (any or all the wines) on the Single Vineyard list was $5, to taste the Reserve flight it is a $10 charge. I elected to taste the Single Vineyard list and tasted the following wines:
- Yering Station 2007 Willow Lake Chardonnay
- Yering Station 2007 Combe Farm Chardonnay
- Yering Station 2007 Inverness Ridge Pinot Noir
- Yering Station 2010 Old Beenak Road Shiraz
As the 2006 Yarra Edge Cabernet Sauvignon wasn't available on the day, I was allowed a taste of one of the wines off the Reserve list; I went for:
- Yering Station Reserve 2010 Pinot Noir
My pick of the wines on tasting was The Old Beenak Road Shiraz, beautiful medium bodied Shiraz, the only unblended Shiraz offering by Yering. The characteristics of a cold climate Shiraz make for a beautifully balanced table wine, rather than the large fruit bombs Australian Shiraz can be.
The second standout was probably not surprisingly the Reserve 2010 Pinot Noir, an elegant smooth wine, this Pinot had more weight than the Inverness Ridge Pinot Noir
In general Yering's chief winemaker - William (Willy) Lunn is making wines that are long on acid structure, meaning the wines are made to accompany food, rather than quaffing. For this reason a number of the wines tasted didn't suite my palette as they were too long on acid, 'minerally' or just lacked the balance and texture I look for. But hey, wine is a personal thing and I am a fan, not an expert.
Whilst doing a little research for this post I found this video and thought to share as it gives some insight directly from Willy Lunn:
I will be heading back to Yering Station, as there were wines untasted and I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy the offerings of "the restaurant "The Wine Bar Restaurant", this way I can get a different light on the wines with food, this way I will experience them with the philosophy with which they were made.
Yering Station is also one of the most popular wineries offered by Tour operators; given my observation on the lack of historic information available when visiting on my own, I want to experience how different the visit is when going by organised tour.