Wine tours from Melbourne are an absolutely must-do on a day trip from Melbourne. Particularly if you’re planning a fun day out with a group of friends or with your travel party, a private Yarra Valley Wine tour from Melbourne is a great way to spend the day together and not have to worry about who’s the designated driver.
We moved to Australia in 2019 and planned a Yarra Valley wineries private tour with our housemates and friends.
Since it’s such a popular option for wine tours from Melbourne, I wanted to share a bit more about the experience and tours that are available.
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The history of the Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges cover an area of 2,500km, located around 1 hour northeast of Melbourne, Victoria. The Wurundjeri people are the traditional owners of the land and have been for over 35,000 years.
The valley surrounds the River Yarra which is a huge factor in the ideal climate for the fantastic wine and food production occurring in the region.
The Yarra Valley wine region is the oldest in Victoria, dating back to 1838 and there are over 70 wineries, giving you plenty of choices when it comes to which cellar door to visit in Yarra Valley!
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Things to know before your Yarra Valley winery tour
There are a number of things to consider before your Yarra Valley private winery tours.
Private Yarra Valley tours for couples are available, but be prepared to spend a lot more for two of you, versus a private tour with a group of you and your friends - say up to 8 people.
There are more options available for private group winery tours in Yarra Valley just because the pick up from Melbourne, travelling by small minivan and making these bookings with the wineries is a lot more cost effective for the group and the tour providers.
That being said, I’m going to share the small group tour we arranged for our private group to the Yarra Valley, as well as some alternatives and options for couples too.
The best Yarra Valley wine tasting tours
When planning our private Yarra Valley wine tour, we selected this small group Yarra Valley tour from Melbourne.
The group is limited to 8 people on this tour, so it was perfect for four couples on a day trip together.
There were a great choice of pick up options available too, several were at popular hotels in the CBD, others were near museums and shopping centres that you can easily make your way to.
This tour included absolutely everything:
Transport from and back to Melbourne
Wine tastings at four Yarra Valley wineries
Lunch and a glass of wine at one of the winery restaurants
An expert wine guide
The chance to see the beautiful landscapes of the Yarra Valley
The four wineries included were:
Balgownie Estate Vineyard
Yering Farm Wines (lunch stop)
Soumah of Yarra Valley
In total you spend around 8 hours on the tour, the drive from Melbourne to Yarra Valley is 1.5 hours each way and you spend around 5 hours at the wineries.
Our tour guide was super friendly and so knowledgable about the wines, winery and the region’s history.
Although one or two of the wine tastings can get a bit rushed if you’re running out of time, the wineries are extremely generous with the amount of wine given during the tastings!
The lunch is absolutely divine and so much is either produced on the farm or locally sourced which was a lovely touch.
Soumah was a personal favourite as they produce a lot of varieties similar to the European styles that I love from France and Germany. The guide explains how the cooler climate in the Yarra Valley is preferable to the production of wine which is a similar climate to those produced in Northern Italy and Eastern France.
I would highly recommend this option if you’re looking for Yarra Valley private tours with a group of 6-8. Having read some of the reviews from other guests, some mentioned having a brilliant experience with the other group members they met on the day, others felt that some of the other group members got a bit loud and made the experience uncomfortable.
However this is no issue if your group makes up the whole or most of the 8-person group, which is the maximum allowed for this tour.
If you would prefer a private tour for you and your partner though, there are other options available and I’m sharing the details below.
Private Yarra Valley Tours from Melbourne
For private Yarra Valley wine tours, Melbourne pick up is available for all options usually.
If you’re visiting Melbourne for a short time, your hotel or accommodation may also have contacts to recommend a suitable private tour arrangement for you.
This private Yarra Valley tour includes pick up and drop off, a 2-course meal, four wineries for tastings and a visit the the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie where you can also sample chocolate produced here.
For a truly unique and memorable experience, why not plan a private winery tour to the Yarra Valley in a vintage car?
This Yarra Valley private tour is for just two people and includes pick up and drop off in Melbourne, 4.5 hours cruising in a vintage Chevrolet, traditional morning tea and coffee with scones at the Melba Estate and a stop at one winery for a tasting followed by a stop at the Yarra Valley Dairy on the return.
The only work of warning is that because this tour is bespoke, the tasting fees and any food or drink costs are not included (except for the tea and scones at the start). During the booking process, guests are asked to select their preferred winery based on their preferences. Any tasting fees will be charged at the winery, although tasting is usually free if you buy a product.
This is a great option if you’re looking for Yarra Valley boutique wine tours tailored to you and your tastes, although it is of course a bit more on the pricey side!
Where to stay in the Yarra Valley?
If you’re considering spending a little longer in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges area, I cannot miss the chance to recommend one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever stayed in my life.
Kangaroo Manor is in the area and is a secluded paradise wooden lodge with a pool overlooking the lush forests of the Ranges.
Summary: The best Melbourne wine tours to the Yarra Valley
In summary, I’d say the small group tours are the best value for money and it’s so much fun having a group of friends together to share the experience. Even if you’re a smaller party of 3-4 it can still be a really fun experience meeting new people on the tour and enjoying drinks together.
However if you’d prefer to guarantee privacy for you and your group on the tour, I’d suggest having the full number of 8 people for the small group tour, or booking a private experience if you are just a couple.
Pin this for later to plan your future trip!