The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s premier wine regions with a reputation for some of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the country, but the talents of the region don’t end there!
Winemakers, farmers, orchardists and agriculturists of the region are bringing the innovation, technique and determination that makes Yarra Valley wines so special to a range of beverages that will delight your tastebuds, satisfy your desire for something new, and may even help promote better health!
Today, wine doesn’t only have to be made from grapes! The Yarra Valley has much to offer in locally made beer, cider and gin, and flavoured drinks – including non-alcoholic options – are finding new audiences, both local and international.
If you’re looking for some new taste sensations, here are our recommendations for ‘alternative’ drinks that showcase the quality of our Yarra Valley produce and will make unforgettable additions to your dinner table, your picnic or your next party.
Discover the Brilliant Bayberry Drink at Jay Berries, Wandin East
Jay Berries is one of the only places in Australia that produces the unique and exclusive Chinese bayberry (also known as Yang Mei). This super fruit is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C) and is claimed to protect the cardiovascular system and even reduce blood pressure and the signs of ageing. This super delicious, super fruit drink is made from organically grown Australian bayberries and is free of nasties. A 750ml bottle is around $15, exclusive to Jay Berries.
Lovers of Bayberry drink say it tastes like a cross between pomegranate and cranberry. It can be served straight (favoured method of the health conscious), or lengthened out with soda or sparkling water. Chilled and served with a sprig of mint, it’s super refreshing.
Cherry delights at CherryHill Orchards, Wandin East
With more than 75 years and three generations of cherry-loving experience, the family at CherryHill Orchards, one of Australia’s leading cherry orchardists, have taken their passion for all things cherry and extended it into a range of cheeky cherry drinks!
- Cherish - A sparkling burst of cherries! A truly unique sparkling cherry juice spritzer – the perfect premium mixer or enjoy on its own, with 30 cherries in every bottle. Cocktail time!
- High Branch - Get the party started! A whole cherry cider, refreshing, invigorating and all natural. Great as a base to a summer sangria, or warm it up in winter for a hot mulled cider!
- Cherry Shiraz - A fruitilicious red! A great blend of Australian cherries and Shiraz grapes crafted into a medium bodied red, with a distinctive and intense cherry aroma. A great partner with rich red meats such as delicious Aussie lamb and beef.
Ciders of distinction at St Ronan’s Cider, Badger Creek
Aged apple cider, pear cider, and even Methode Traditionelle cider (yes, it’s made using the same process used for Champagne production) that is award winning, best ever, most delicious, OMG! yum.This is real Australian cider – there’s no added water, sugars or concentrates, and it’s gluten free at a cheeky 5.4% alc. Vol. It’s real, it’s handcrafted and it’s no ordinary cider.
Marvellous Blueberry Wine, Badger Creek
With more than 1 kilogram of fruit in every bottle, Blueberry Wine, Aged and Fortified Blueberry Wines, Blueberry Moscato and Blueberry Sparkling Wine are full of fruity goodness. What does it taste like? Full bodied yet subtle, sweet and rich but you really have to taste it for yourself. Only available from one place in the whole of Australia - the Blueberry Winery cellar door in Badger Creek (tastings availabe too). Locally grown and handmade, from $30 per 750 ml bottle. (And you can stock up on seasonal fruit and preserves while you are there.)
Feeling adventurous for a Craft Beer? Healesville and beyond
Watts River Brewing is a family owned bespoke brewery with perfectly crafted beers to suit everyone. Their home styled brews include Stout, Blonde and IPA, which are rated by personality – stable, neurotic, introverted and extroverted, and fit into any social setting.
Other craft beers to try include:
- Chestnut Beer at the Kalorama Chestnut Festival (Annually in May).
- Cherry Whit Beer - This refreshing crimson colour Belgian-style Witbier is unfiltered, bottle conditioned and made from all-natural wheat, barley, hops, yeast, pure Otways water and a whole heap of plump, sweet cherries. Find it at CherryHill Orchards.
- Cherry Vanilla Porter - Brewed with the cooler months in mind, this cherry beer is dark and robust. With a passion for purity, all natural ingredients and no preservatives, this beer is also vegan friendly. Find it at CherryHill Orchards.
Buy these delicious drinks direct from the seller, the cellar and the maker!