A BIRTHDAY LUNCH IN THE YARRA

Walking into St Edmonds Cafe with a take-away coffee order the length of a grocery list… not exactly my idea of regular Sunday morning! I handed the list of coffees - from lattes to macchiatos - to the smiling barista, he took the list with a nod of approval and began brewing.

Moments later, the birthday girl Jessica turned up with her friends, colleagues and family. The first welcome sips of their freshly brewed coffee set the tone for the rest of the day – the group was ready for some serious birthday fun!  

The birthday bell rang and it was time to board the bus. That’s right, we were embarking on a boozy Sunday wine tour to the Yarra Valley! As the guests found their seats they were delighted to find their own survival kit for the day, containing a can of Red Bull, some Panadol, Barocca, green tea and a bottle of mineral water… their saviour for the following morning. 

The day’s fun started with a tasting and behind the scenes tour of one of Yarra Valley’s most picturesque estates. While they enjoyed sipping on their delicious wine, the guests were explained the art of winemaking and shown the careful process that goes into each bottle. 

The next stop was one of Australia’s leading smaller wineries; this charming and boutique winery is renowned for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and their close-planted vineyards which lined the steep hills.   

The third stop was the most exciting of all - it was time for lunch at the ever famous Stones of Yarra. From the moment you step onto the property, the rustic, old-world charm takes you to a special place, a place far-away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Inside the walls of the once occupied stablehand quarters and under the tangled vines and raw timber beams, a table set for thirty dressed with seasonal foliage awaited them.

Head Chef Hugh Davison prepared a remarkable seven-dish tapas banquet menu featuring salted cod, char-grilled rump of wagyu and delicious roast field mushrooms with Meredith’s goat’s cheese. All locally sourced from local produces, his carefully crafted menu was devoured along with bottles of the Stones of Yarra very best wine. A post-lunch walk with picturesque views, with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand, topped the experience off. 

Stones of the Yarra Valley is located on one of the most picturesque properties in the Yarra Valley and definitely one of our favourite places to visit. 

After a long lunch, there was only one more place to visit to end such a memorable birthday experience (and to sober the guests for the journey home). The final stop was at one of Australia’s leading microbreweries where a tasting paddle of the breweries finest was on offer with some delicious thick-cut wedges to soak up the alcohol from the day. 

A TRIP TO THE HUNTER

Sipping wine all weekend long sounds like a perfect weekend away, don't you think?

If you love great wine then you cannot beat the Hunter Valley – the perfect location for a girl’s weekend away, a magical birthday experience or a romantic trip for two. 

The Hunter is one of the smallest wine growing areas in the country, but they make up for it with the exquisite quality of their wine and produce. The area boasts over 150 wineries and cellar doors, alongside an array of restaurants which feature the highest quality locally grown produce.

We've been and trialled the best, from the famous to the hidden gems, and we can help you put together a perfect itinerary plus some special money-can't-buy experiences.  It's all about turning your experience into an unforgettable memory. Let us take the stress away from the planning so you can enjoy your ultimate adventure. We'll arrange a private driver, a mouth-watering lunch overlooking the valley, beautiful wine tastings and special behind the scenes tours.

Now, we can't give away all our secrets but here are a few tips to making the most of your Hunter Valley experience:

  • Arrange a private driver (you won't be sorry once everyone has had a few drinks!)
  • Have the right mix of wineries - include some of the big names, but make sure you visit the quaint, smaller boutique wineries too.
  • Ask questions and talk to as many people as you can – from the wine makers and tasting staff, to your driver. It's such a pleasure to hear about the wine-making process, the different types of wines and the people behind the magic. Who knows, you might even become the next wine connoisseur! 
  • If you see a great photo opportunity make sure you STOP! Memories are fantastic, but photos last forever.
  • Don't rush. The worst thing you can do it cram in as many wineries as possible. For the perfect day trip, we recommend going to four wineries and stopping for a beautiful hour-long lunch.