Australia: Yarra Valley Beer, Wine & Whisky

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The beautiful grounds of Domain Chandon

It’s been lovely to spend 2 weeks catching up with Leckie’s family and friends. We are so lucky that his parents live just outside Melbourne in the Yarra Valley tourist zone. Between all the catch ups and introductions, we had a chance to see some of what’s on offer for tourists in the area.

On nearby Mount Dandenong there’s a free statue park called William Rickett’s Sanctuary. Set amongst the rainforest is a multitude of clay sculptures created by William during his life. The sculptures embody the indigenous Australian people with anti-establishment undertones. Some of the sculptures are downright weird, but most are very interesting. It was definitely worth spending the hour walking around.

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One of the statutes at William Rickett's Sanctuary

Everything else we did included booze. It is the Yarra Valley after all. Overall we visited (and tasted) at 3 different wineries. Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli charged a $5 tasting fee which is refundable with any purchase and Giant Steps was completely free. We were amazed at how possible it was to have a cheap day out in such a beautiful region.

Of course we needed to visit the White Rabbit Brewery as well. Connected to the famous Little Creatures, this brewery offers a limited, but tasty, range of ales and cider in its bar.

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Tasting wine with Mum

During our time in the UK, we developed a taste for single malt whiskies. Worried about satisfying our whisky cravings when we return to Australia, Leckie did some research and was pleased to find that some single malts are being made here now too. One such distillery is located just down the road from where we were staying. Leckie emailed David who owns the Bakery Hill Distillery and was surprised to receive a response inviting us to visit and have some tastings. Twisted our arms!

At 10 years old, Bakery Hill is very new for a distillery and as such is in an unmarked building with no tasting room as yet. David arrived, escorted us to the unmarked building and told us that he used to be a chemistry teacher. We exchange glances that said, ‘How Breaking Bad is this?!’ David even bears a faint resemblance to Walt from the show.

David showed us around his small distillery, giving the best explanation of the distillation process I’ve ever heard. I guess it’s the teaching background coming through. He then allowed us to sample some of his wares, which were brilliant. I particularly loved the peated whisky but they were all very complex and flavoursome. David is obviously very passionate about what he does and that comes through in his final product. I know what we’ll be buying when we return.

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Bakery Hill Distillery

2 weeks in Victoria passed so quickly and it was time to leave for Brisbane before we knew it.

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