Meet The Families Behind The Yarra Valley Wineries

Meet The Families Behind The Yarra Valley Wineries

11/10/2018

Head over to Yarra Valley over the weekend for food, wine, live music and entertainment.

The Yarra Valley is filled with family-owned wineries tucked away in rarely explored areas. Although they are not as big as the other wineries, they make up for that in quality and personality.

Here are some unique and charming family-owned wineries in the Yarra Valley.

Billanook Estate

The D’Aloisio family have been involved in the agricultural heritage of the Yarra Valley since the late 1960’s, and by 1994 planted the first vines on their 36-hectare property, known as Yarraland. Since then, a number of new European varieties have been introduced, including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, and Barbera.

You can marvel at the breathtaking vista in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy wine by the glass or bottle – the view is complementary. Italian cuisine is an integral part of the Billanook Estate – you shouldn’t leave the place without trying one of their recipes handed down by their Nonna.

Boat O’Craigo

Boat O’Craigo is a family owned and operated winery in the Yarra Valley. The family’s ancestral roots go back to the Scottish village of Craigo.

At Shedfest 2018, they will be showcasing a number of wines including the Sparkling Methode Traditionnelle, Black Spur Gewurztraminer, Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc, Black Spur Pinot Grigio, Black Spur Chardonnay, Black Spur Rose, Black Spur Pinot Noir, Black Cameron Shiraz, and Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon.

Five Oaks

The three-hectare Five Oaks vineyard was established in 1978 and, over the years, wines produced from the vineyard have won many awards. Judy and Wally Zuk bought the vineyard and winery in 1995 and renamed it Five Oaks, after the five magnificent oak trees on the property.

This year marks the 40th year since Five Oaks planted their vines – try them with their famous Canadian pancakes, served all day. 

Kellybrook Winery

Established in the 1960’s by Darren and Farley Kelly, Kellybrook was the first Yarra Valley winery to be granted a licence in the modern era. Today, the Kelly family continues to produce an extensive range of award-winning wines, including sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.

At Shedfest, they will be offering a wide assortment of food and wine, including their 14-hour beef brisket with Smokey tomato chimichurri.

Payne’s Rise

Paynes Rise Wines in the Upper Yarra Valley is a boutique winery specialising in small batch wines produced from carefully selected fruit from their vineyard in Seville, Victoria. It is the realisation of many years of hard work, dedication, and passion of Tim and Narelle Cullen.

The food includes a slow braised lamb shoulder, chermoula crust, pumpkin, chilli, chickpea harissa, garlic yoghurt and Turkish bread main.

At Shedfest, they’re offering the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Rose, 2016 Chardonnay, 2015 ‘Mr Jed’ Pinot Noir, 2015 ‘Redlands’ Shiraz, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, and two new releases – the 2018 ‘Ripple Effect’ Rose and 2017 Payne’s Rise Chardonnay – 95 Points James Halliday.

Seville Hill

Seville Hill boasts one of the most stunning and picturesque views of the Warburton Ranges and Upper Yarra Valley. The involvement of owners John and Josie D’Aloisio in the agricultural industry began over 40 years ago producing a variety of stone fruit and strawberries.

The full selection offered for Shedfest 2018 includes 2011 Sparkling, 2017 Rose, 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Reserve Chardonnay 2014 Sangiovese 2013 Barbera, 2015 Nebbiolo, 2015 Pinot Noir, 2013 Merlot, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Reserve Shiraz, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2013 Merlot.

Six Acres Wines

Sustainability and minimal interaction defines Six Acres – a vineyard and winery run by the Zuccaro family. The vineyard was planted in 1999. It is located in Silvan, which is in the Southern Hills of the Yarra Valley. 

Recommendations for food and wine include their Six Acres Pinot Noir, which pairs well with their savoury French crepes filled with a choice of goat curd, roasted pumpkins, walnuts fresh herbs and honey or the classic ham, cheese, and egg.

Soumah Wines

Soumah Wines set out to select an exact location that delivered every advantage of a cool climate, undulating topography and ancient soils.

Exclusive for the Shedfest Wine Festival, they will have a special pre-release tasting of their brand new 2018 vintage Ai Fiori Rosato – a blend of Cabernet and Nebbiolo, perfect drinking for the warmer weather.

Wines that Soumah are showcasing include the 2017 Savarro 2016 Pinot Noir, 2017 Viognier 2015 Syrah, 2017 Chardonnay 2016 Nebbiolo, and 2018 Ai Fiori Rosato 2017 Brachetto (dessert wine).

Tokar Estate

Tokar Estate was born in 1995 when Leon Tokar came across the location by chance and brought Rita to view the property. Leon and Rita originally dreamed of a weekender and hobby farm. But the winemaking potential of the site, sandwiched between some of  Yarra Valley’s most famous vineyards, was too good to ignore. 

Try their slaw with some house-smoked American style pulled pork, accompanied by live music on site to go with the wines.

Whispering Hills Vineyard

Whispering Hills Vineyard is family owned and operated by Murray and Marie, who are passionate about all things wine and food. They produce true wood-fired breads and traditional pizza cooked on the oven floor, and an assortment of elegant cool climate wines for over twenty vintages. 

For Shedfest, they will be making a delicious French cassoulet – the ideal comfort dish made of cannellini beans, confit duck, goose fat, pork sausage, speck, white wine, herbs (all slow cooked in a wood-fired oven!).

Right then, we’re packing our bags and heading to Yarra Valley!