It would be a shame to not fully embrace the warmer weather hitting Melbourne. On a weekend morning my plus one and I headed off in our car to check out renowned Oakdene Vinyards on the Bellarine Peninsular. We were looking forward to a very unusual wine and food experience that included a train ride through vineyards, wine tasting followed by a three-course meal.
Located a little over an hour from Melbourne in one of Victoria’s most stunning areas, Oskdene Vinyards and restaurant is well known for producing tasty wine and hosting a fine dining restaurant.
Our train driver and host for the day was award winning Executive Chef and Manager, Marty Chichester who previously owned and managed popular restaurants in Wales and Sydney. As we boarded a miniature steam train buggy, which in a precious life operated from Luna Park in Sydney, we were excited to learn we would be driving through the actual vineyard rows, stopping off at each grape variety to try the wines made out of them.
We learnt a little about each wine, how it was produced and the history of the vineyard – each wine is named after one of the owner’s children. We even got to see the local alpacas who didn’t seem too impressed as our train of grown adults drinking wine cruised past their paddock.
After a great tour we were ready for a bite to eat. Nestled in the eccentric gardens of Oakdene is the award winning restaurant. Boasting a modern Australian and European menu with an array of fresh local produce, we loved the menu options and were blown away by the level of service. The wait staff were happy to explain where all the locally grown produce is from and suggest a wine from the vineyard to match your meal.
Various dining options are available, including a la carte and degustation menus. As part of the vineyard tour we received a three-course meal of entrée, main and dessert, which left us pleasantly full. Everything we ate and drank was tasty, with particular favorites being the tasty (and award winning) Oakdene Shiraz, the asparagus with 62-degree egg and a tasty dessert with rhubarb crumble and custard.
At $59 per person for a very interesting and insightful wine tour through the vineyard followed by a three-course lunch, this is an absolute win for foodies. We suggest making a day of it and allowing 2-3 hours at the Vinyard to fully enjoy yourselves – you might even need to drop into the cellar door for a cheeky bottle of wine for later.
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda
Oakdene Vineyards is located a little over an hours drive from Melbourne and is perfect for a day trip. The Oakdene Express train tour departs at 12PM and 1PM followed by lunch.
The venue is accessible; the carriage ride is not accessible.