Philip Lobley Wines is little more than an hour’s drive north-east of Melbourne. Once off the freeway, the hedonistic journey takes visitors along a gently undulating scenic route with an elevated lookout or two presenting photo opportunities. Gastronomes can grab the chance to stop at ‘pick your own’ fruit orchards, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, and Yarra Valley Dairy for a cheese tasting. On the first Sunday each month, the Yarra Glen Racecourse Craft Market is worth a stopover for locally-grown foods, lunch on the go and packets of takeaway deliciousness. In Yarra Glen you could drop in a sample a freshly brewed beer from Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company to slake the traveller’s thirst.
On arrival at Philip Lobley Wines, visitors will meet the family and enjoy an intimate tasting, sampling from varieties most likely to include sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz and cabernet franc while enjoying a view over the large dam populated by native water birds.
Vigneron Philip Lobley enthusiastically describes his process as ‘old school’. Growing and wine making here both have a low carbon footprint as Lobley works in tune with the seasons, the soil and the landscape. The vineyard is managed with minimal intervention along organic principles. Beneficial bugs are harnessed to control detrimental insects, a process called integrated pest management. A programme of minimal spraying uses only organic-approved substances. The happy result is a select range of naturally-made, high-quality cool climate wines.