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Wine time in Australia’s Yarra Valley with De Bortoli Wine and the Araluen Boutique Accommodation

By Glenn Harris on 22nd December 2018

Victoria, a state in south-eastern Australia, is a destination hard not to love. The cosmopolitan and vibrant city of Melbourne is surrounded by the seaside beaches of the Mornington Peninsula to the soaring alp-like Grampian Mountain Ranges. At the turn of the century and after the world wars, Italians, as other European immigrants, settled throughout Australia and brought their traditions of food and wine making.

Those early settlers found similar growing conditions in the undulating hills and valleys for French and Italian grapes and thus began Australia’s wine industry. The De Bortoli’s were among the first wine producing families and created the foundation of wine excellence in Australia.

The Yarra Valley region has become an oenophile mecca and today five star and boutique B&Bs now dot the landscape giving international travelers a base from which to fully explore a taste of one of Australia’s prime wine regions. An ideal respite in the vines to take in all that the Yarra Valley has to offer is the Araluen Boutique Accommodation.

After an hour long drive away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, travelers are transported to a completely different environment. Shiny skyscrapers, beeping car horns and clacky trams are replaced with verdant hills, paddocks with grazing livestock, and the crowing of kookaburra.

Congested traffic is replaced with waiting for a gang of kangaroos to hop from the hills across the fields.  This is the Yarra Valley and it is the country. It is also an epicurean fantasy land where visitors can easily spend a week indulging in all of the culinary offerings of the surrounds from artisanal producers of cheese, chocolates, and, of course, wine.

The Yarra Valley is Australia’s wine country ground zero and produces some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world. At the close of World War I, many Italian families emigrated to Australia and brought their love of wine and knowledge of winemaking with them. One such family is the De Bortoli family who are among the first family of Australia’s wine makers.

In 1928, Vittorio De Bortoli emigrated to Australia with nary a dollar in his pocket and  began successfully producing wines in New South Wales. Wine making in Australia is typically a family affair and multi-generational, so it was the next generation that expanded into the Yarra Valley where the De Bortoli wines now has 600 acres under vine.

The family also produces additional wine varieties in other parts of Australia including King and Hunter Valleys and Heathcote. Today the family tradition continues with the third generation that has expanded the wine experience with their exquisite cellar door experience.

The De Bortoli Cellar Door at Yarra Valley is one of the top in the Australia  offering an exceptional cellar door tasting experience as well as a fine culinary experience. The environment rivals your favorite wine tours in Tuscany or Bordeaux with spectacular scenery of the rolling hills of the vineyards, countryside and mountain ranges beyond.

The love of wine is what draws guests to De Bortoli and the experience is on center stage in their cellar door. The enthusiasm for wine is contagious as their cellar door staff are eager to share the De Bortoli wine history as well as their knowledge and love of their extensive selection of wines with guests. Visitors sniff, swirl, and sip while carefully watching the wine steward serenade them with  the tasting notes, details, and nuances of each of the wines savored.

De Bortoli is one of the larger wine producers in Italy so there is an extensive offering of wines to sample from Yarra Valley Estate Grown and Single Vineyard labels including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Syrah. There are several wine experiences including educational and private tasting for the aficionado.

The De Bortoli Yarra Valley Cellar Door is quite large and well laid out. On one side, there is an area dedicated to the extensive offering of artisan food from across the valley. In particular they have an full on cheese experience which is an exception to what you’ll find in most cellar door experiences.

They have a wide variety of cheeses, all produced locally or on site where guests enjoy not only a wine tasting but a wine and cheese paring as well. It’s really quite the thrill for the nose as well as the palate as the staff educates, shares, and allows visitors to experience the nuances of which types of wines go best with a particular cheese.

The De Bortoli experience is about families and friends sharing good times, food and of course wine. That is particularly true at their cellar door restaurant. There groups of friends dine on long tables as glasses clink and steaming plates are served. The dining experience is exquisite with well-prepared gourmet Italian cuisine with pasta handmade each day. Of course the wines are the star of the meal.

In fact the grapes from the pinot noirs are harvested from the vines that one can see from their table in the stunning landscapes surrounding the venue.  It’s the perfect way to spend the day, exploring the beauty of the wine region, tasting wines at the cellar door, and then indulging in a wonderful Italian meal with friends.

A few minutes away from De Bortoli’s and in the heart of the Yarra Valley is the Araluen Boutique Accommodations. It is a special place; intimate, with only four suites and three villas and is the ideal place to visit De Bortoli’s as well as the numerous other wineries and cellar doors in the area.

Araluen Boutique Accommodation is located in the picturesque Steels Creek Valley, near the small hamlet of Yarra Glen. The property is set amongst four acres of landscaped gardens and bushland with a lovely pond with a wooden pier.

The experience is about finding peace and quiet in an uber tranquil setting. It allows for personal restoration as well as reconnecting with a loved one while taking in all that this incredible region has to offer. It is the natural setting that creates this inner peace. In the evenings, wallabies and other wildlife are active and a delight to see scampering around the property.

Rachel, the host and proprietor, is there with a cheerful welcome and is always available for any needs. She also loves this region and all it has to offer and is more than happy to provide local travel tips and to make sure the stay is an memorable experience.

The main lodge is a luxurious building with a light and lovely décor as well as several spaces to gather with friends or to find a nook to read a novel. The Sun Room is a lovely space to spend time as well, with lovely art pieces and large bay windows allowing or panoramic views of the property grounds and the neighboring vineyards nearby.

There is a toasty fireplace in the guest lounge that is ablaze during the cooler months. There’s also a large heated pool as well with chaise lounges and umbrellas for a great way to cool off after the hard work of exploring the area’s wineries.

The lodge suites are large and airy with large windows flooding the space with natural light.  All of the mod cons that the worldly traveler expects are available as well with flat-screen TV, mini-bar fridge, toaster and tea/coffee making facilities.

The villas are exceptional as well and perfect for a romantic weekend with a loved one. Outdoors there is a large terrace with table and chairs demanding couples to share a bottle of wine while looking over the grounds, vineyard view and the tranquility of the scenery. Indoors is exquisite and well decorated with beautiful  art pieces, fabrics, wood panel floors, and leather furniture. There’s a gas fireplace as well that flickers with a flip of  switch.

The bathrooms are well fitted with an oversized jacuzzi bath tub and heated floors. The self-contained villas also have a kitchenette with wet sink,  gas stove top, microwave, dishwasher, Nespresso coffee machine and a refrigerator. Guest will love the delicious continental breakfast each day of locally sourced ingredients with breads, cheeses, fruits, and all types of goodies.

In fact the eggs couldn’t be more locally sourced as they come from the free range hens on the property. A stay at the Araluen Boutique Accommodation is really everything a couple would need for a long weekend if not a week to enjoy all that this incredible region has to offer.

The Yarra Valley is a “must do” destination for lovers of wine or those who love just being in the country. It is as special as a stay in Tuscany, Napa, or Bordeaux and has the wineries and experiences worthy of the travel to get there such as those offered by De Bortoli’s. And the idea place as your based to explore with wonderful destination is a stay at the Araluen Boutique Accommodation.

Address: Araluen Boutique Accommodation – Villas and Lodge – Yarra Valley, 603 Steels Creek Rd, Steels Creek VIC 3775, Australia
Phone: +61 3 5965 2013