Autumn in the Yarra Valley

Many people don’t realize this. Autumn is the best time of the year to be out amongst the vines.

Perfectly Ripening Pinot Noir. The deciduous colours of the leaves heralding Autumn. Greenstone Vineyards – Yarra Valley.
A deciduous display in the Tuscan style Courtyard at Meletos – ‘The Stables’ – Yarra Valley.


Between the months of March and May, the autumnal display of the vines can be breathtaking.  The deciduous leaves start to change colour – known as senescence. During this season, you will delight in the spectacular hues of the vines, as they splash across the rolling hills.

With crisp, misty mornings, autumn is the perfect time to visit the cellar doors in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. Stunning displays will also be found in the Macedon Ranges and on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Charcuterie platter at Warramunda Estate – Yarra Valley. Washed down with the delicious Warramunda Estate Pinot Noir – 2017.

As the daylight softens, and the temperature cools – the red wines taste even better!


There are still some Perfect Day Tours available for Autumn. Hope to see you soon!


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Well, this is my 16th day of no alcohol. Or alcohol free – whichever you prefer.

I think I am going pretty well.

I must confess however, I did open a bottle of white wine last night. My wife glanced at the opened bottle on the bench top and inquired “Have you opened a bottle of wine?”

I was happy to put her mind at rest, as I will yours, dear reader.

Chicken stock. I was making a batch. My home made recipe calls for about 1/3 rd of a bottle of an unoaked white. I usually use a semillon  – sauv blanc blend. Riesling works well too.

As I was making Moroccan pumpkin soup today – I needed another cup for that as well.

And with the left over – I added a little chicken stock to the bottle – just to make it unpalatable, should I be overcome in a moment of weakness.

I have been really enjoying black coffee, as well as experimenting with wild and wacky Kombucha flavours. I generally mix the Kombucha with about half soda stream. It tastes pleasant enough, and keeps the cost down. (Some Kombuchas can be just as expensive as wine!)

Sometimes a splash of bitters – I use Angostura – adds a bit more aroma and complexity and colour to the drink.

Febfast Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who has donated the the charity I am supporting. Even the anonymous ones (You know who you are!)

My fund raising page is here.

We are raising money for young people with drug and alcohol problems – so it is a worthy cause, and helps to keep my motivated – and on the straight and narrow.

A big thanks to my wife (you know who you are), as she has joined my on my dry journey. It is a lot easier when neither of us is drinking.

Until next week – from High on the Wagon,



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As some may be aware, I have pledged to support Febfast for the month of February. This simply means that I am abstaining from alcohol for the month of February.

The great motivator for this worthy cause is to raise money to help young people with drug and alcohol problems.

What’s wrong with this photo? That’s right – No Booze!


I am pleased to let you know that just 1 week in, and we have raised $245. Our goal for the month was $300, so all being well, we will exceed that amount.

Many thanks to all of you who have donated so far. It has certainly helped to keep me motivated – and sober!

Please find the link below if you have a few spare dollars to donate to this great cause.




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Last Wine Before Febfast – Better Make it a Good One!

This year, I have decided to take the plunge, and sign up to Febfast. This means that for the month of February 2021, I am abstaining from alcohol.

Febfast raises funds to help and support young people who are experiencing drug and alcohol problems. This is a great incentive to stick to my plan for the entire month.

If you are interested in making a small donation to the cause, here is the link

Anyway, as a fitting farewell to my wine drinking for the month, I decided to dig deep, and pull out a bottle of Birks Wendouree Shiraz – 1990.

This classic wine from the Clare Valley is now 31 years old. It was a delight to enjoy such an iconic wine, that I have been lovingly cellaring for all of those years.

Being such an old wine, the cork had become quite soft. This made it difficult to extract from the bottle, and broke down whilst I was trying to remove it. With remnants of cork now in the bottle, I therefore needed to strain the wine  through a tea strainer and paper towel filter. Not ideal for keeping oxygen away from the delicate and aged shiraz.


Birks Wendouree Shiraz 1990 – Clare Valley

Mid – deep red with an autumnal hue. No loss of colour or browning on the edge.

Complex aromas of violet, earth, cooked and cured meats and red baking spices. No signs of oxidation, cork taint or brett!

Seamless medium bodied palate. A subtle “hello” from ripe red to dark fruits. Softness and glycerol texture coats the mouth. Beautiful silky texture.

The aromatics continue to lift from the glass, giving much pleasure to the drinking experience.

Delicious with simple roast lamb, pesto gravy and home grown veggies.

As older wines are somewhat fragile, they often fade within a few hours of being opened. Because of the difficulty in extracting the cork, this wine was exposed to more air than I would have liked. Therefore, this lovely old wine started to oxidize after about 1 1/2 hours of being open.

Posted in News and Updates

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2021 – Looking Good!

I noticed a few photos on social media a fortnight ago of ripening Pinot Noir grapes in the Yarra Valley. I was delighted and surprised to take a few shots of beautifully ripening grapes at Greenstone Vineyards in Yarra Glen.

Pinot Noir – Greenstone Vineyards  Yarra Valley – 8th of January 2021

The above photo is from a Perfect Day Tour on the 8th of January. The Pinot Noir bunches were far more advanced than I had expected. They look healthy and delicious – with that classical ‘pine cone’ shape that gives the grape variety it’s name.

Greenstone Vineyards are located in Yarra Glen, which is often referred to as the valley floor. The low lying area of the valley floor region can be slightly warmer during the growing season than the Upper Yarra Valley.

I was fortunate to host another tour to Greenstone on 22nd of January. I was keen to find out how the ripening, also known as veraison, was progressing.

As you can see, this bunch has developed a uniform dark blue/ purple colour.

Most importantly, after a very cool ripening period, the grapes look happy and healthy. Yea! After the year that was 2020 – I think we all deserve some lovely Pinot Noir from the 2021 vintage!

Pinot Noir – Greenstone Vineyards Yarra Valley – 22nd of January 2021
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WINE GIVE AWAY! – 15/16/17th of January!

Amazingly – we still have some availability this weekend for Perfect Day Tours.

Relaxing after a delicious Gourmet BBQ and salads lunch. Mont Rouge – Red Hill – Mornington Peninsula.

All bookings for the weekend of 15/16/17 of January will receive a FREE bottle of Red Hill Estate wine. Your choice – Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir. No strings attached.

Lunch includes a cellar door wine tasting, delicious lunch, and a glass of your preferred wine with lunch. What’s not to like!

Available for groups up to 10 – Yarra Valley & Mornington Peninsula.

Shared Grazing Platters at picturesque Yarrawood Estate – Yarra Valley.

Don’t miss out!

Call Steve on – 0422 401 051

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Yarra Valley – It’s all Happening!

During the past week, I was delighted to see a single ripening Pinot Noir  grape. The photo of the pinkish grape was proudly posted on Instagram. The region was the Yarra Valley.

Just 2 days later – I was very happy to capture this photo at Greenstone Vineyards – Yarra Glen -Yarra Valley.  The bunches are healthy, tight, and ripening consistently.

If the mild conditions continue, it looks like we will have a very good Pinot Noir vintage in 2021. Fingers crossed.


Grazing Platters @ Yarrawood Estate – Yarra Valley.

Yarrawood Estate  has proven to be a picturesque and great value destination for our happy PDT customers on a Yarra Valley Tour.

Lunch includes a cellar door wine tasting – shared Grazing Platters – and a glass of wine of your choice. What’s not to like?





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Yarra Valley Tour Report – Tours Back On!

What a pleasure it was to host our first PDT tour since March 2020!

Thankfully I had a wonderful group of 11 happy people – celebrating 2 birthdays. The Yarra Valley tour was well managed at every destination, with QR code scanning required at the venues.

Boat O’Craigo – Healsville Yarra Valley

Due to social distancing and hand sanitizer being used  – we still have no new corona virus outbreaks in Victoria.  Mask wearing is still encouraged indoors.

The custom tour featured an outdoor tasting at Helen’s Hill – a great start to the day. We then traveled on to the outstanding surrounds of Helen & Joey Winery – Gruyere – Yarra Valley.

Lunch was at Boat O’Craigo  – Healsville Yarra Valley. Lunch featured a fabulous wine tasting, shared plates and gourmet pizza. You will also be offered a glass of your preferred wine with you meal. How about that?

After a delicious and plentiful lunch – we had 1 more cellar door/winery to visit. Greenstone Vineyards in Yarra Glen was a cruisy and relaxed way to finish off the day.

Thank you to Emily and friends – I think I enjoyed the day just as much as you.

Even without the wine!


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Four Pillars Distillery- Awarded Best in the World – 2 Years Running!

Congratulations to our dear friends at Four Pillars Gin Distillery – Healsville –  Yarra Yalley!

For the second year running, Four Pillars Distillery have been awarded International Gin Producer of the Year. 

The prestigious honour was awarded at the 51st International Wine and Spirits Competition, 2020.

A wonderful tasting at Four Pillars Distillery on my day off. Thanks Brett!

“We were in the laboratory at 5am, at 5.08 we were told we had won,” says co-founder Stuart Gregor. “I had my first glass of champagne at 5.11”

Four Pillars was awarded gold medals for their two most popular gins, Rare Dry Gin and Bloody Shiraz Gin. Further to this amazing feat, another five Four Pillars gins took home high silvers.This includes the unique Spiced Negroni and Navy Strength gins. Add to this the soon to be released olive-fueled gin, delicious Sherry Cask Gin and a single cask barrel aged gin that is yet to be launched.

We love taking our happy customers to Four Pillars. So much fun and education in smelling the botanicals, and tasting the gin.


The Gins on tasting – with botanicals to sniff during a tutored tasting.The now world famous – Four Pillars Gin Distillery – Yarra Valley.
Steve with a group of friends @ Four Pillars – Yarra Valley.
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#cellardoorchallenge // This Week it’s all about…
Giant Steps Syrah – 2017.
Yarra Valley.
Supporting Victorian wineries during Covid – 19 restrictions, we are pleased to be involved with the #cellardoorchallenge.
I loved this lovely Yarra Valley wine when I first tasted it a few years ago. Such a classic vintage for Syrah and Pinot Noir in the Yarra Valley.

It went down a treat with Filet Mignon, parsnip mash and local asparagus. Red wine reduction and horseradish cream to accompany. Mmm – that’s nice.

Giant Steps Syrah 2017.
Being a cooler vintage – this lovely regional Syrah is elegant and medium bodied. There is ample natural acidity to support the vibrant raspberry / red fruit palate. There is even a whiff of white pepper – reflective of the mild and extended ripening.  Silky tannins too.
What a pity I don’t have any more of this wonderful wine. Sad face.
Giant Steps Cellar Door Tasting. Two wine lovers from Sydney on a Perfect Day Tour.
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