The Moorabool Valley, located northwest of Geelong, is home to picturesque villages, rolling hills, rivers and valleys, and some amazing food and wine experiences. Recognising the quality and quantity of the culinary offerings, the new Moorabool Valley Taste Trail has just been launched, to help cement this flourishing region firmly in the minds of gastronomic visitors. The inspiring new Taste Trail features wineries, farm gates, cafés, restaurants, produce stores, events, markets and much more.
Wineries – There are many boutique, family-run vineyards in the region. A number feature in the acclaimed James Halliday five-star list including destination vineyard Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro. Perched on a stunning hilltop with sublime valley views, Clyde park produces a range of amazing wines and delicious fare from wood fired pizzas to Sher Wagyu burgers. Nearby, Lethbridge Wines, recognised as one of Australia’s most environmentally sustainable vineyards, uses innovative organic and biodynamic methods to produce savoury and textured wines. At Sutherlands Creek in the heart of the Moorabool Valley is Austins & Co, where the family have been producing world-class wines for more than 30 years. Del Rios Cellar Door and Café continues the family tradition with three generations tending to vines and making superb wines. The café serves up delicious Spanish inspired fare including paella and traditional tapas. In the south of the region visitors will find the cellar door of Provenance Wines located on the banks of the Barwon River beside Buckley Falls, at the historic bluestone Barwon Paper Mill. The Mill, built in the 1870s, is an emerging wine, food, arts precinct. Provenance Wines will open to the public mid 2017 and be a must stop of the new Taste Trail.
Visitors will find a number of other smaller scale boutique wineries including Eagle’s Rise Wine and Moorabool Ridge open weekends and others which are open on the first weekend of the month such as Rowsley Fault, Barwon Ridge and Spence Wines.
Food, produce and farm gates – The cool climate of the region also creates the ideal environment for producing an abundance and great variety of foods. From olives to cheese, berries to eggs, leafy greens, herbs and fruiting crops. Camilo Olives is particularly well known for its award-winning olive oil. Highly acclaimed Meredith Dairy is the largest sheep and dairy goat farm in Australia and its products can be found at wineries and provedores in the region. Sage Farm is a busy and genuine paddock to plate farm with an onsite butchery providing beef, lamb and veal to local eateries and restaurants in the area. Moorabool Valley Chocolate is a favourite for many, offering carefully hand-made delights in their onsite kitchen which is attached to a 90-year-old farmhouse. Berries can be found at Summer Sensations and Berry Organic Farm.
Cafes and restaurants – The flagship restaurant of the Moorabool Valley, operated by celebrated chef Matt Dempsey is Gladioli. Located in stunning Inverleigh, Gladioli Restaurant offers fresh local produce in a relaxed rural atmosphere. Since its opening in 2011, Gladioli has been recognised as one of country Victoria’s finest regional dining experiences with consistent high ratings and Chef’s hats in The Age Good Food Guide. Nearby, is the ever-popular bluestone Inverleigh Hotel which features local food and wine coupled with a relaxed and welcoming vibe. Just down the road is the Inverleigh Bakehouse – an ideal place to visit for a sweet pastry, cake or organic coffee.
Another jewel in the crown of the valley is Bannockburn Station, a fully licensed restaurant set in a restored 150 year old bluestone railway station. The restaurant features an extensive wine list, local produce, open fire places and rambling gardens.
Events and markets – The region is also home to some great events, festivals and Farmers’ Markets throughout the year. The Real Food Festival runs from 4-18 March offering cooking workshops, farm tours, local produce dinners and gardening events. Toast to the Coast is held over the Melbourne Cup long weekend in November and features three days of wine tasting and entertainment with a number of Moorabool Valley wineries taking part.
The ever-popular Golden Plains Farmers Market is held on the 1st Saturday of the Month and on the fourth Sunday of the month visitors will find the Inverleigh Farmers Market. In between markets, local produce can be sourced from Farmer’s Daughters Produce Store, Magic Meadow and Dorothy’s Kitchen.
Located an easy hours’ drive from Melbourne or just 15 minutes from Geelong, the Moorabool Valley is the ideal destination for those looking for a quick city escape and to discover culinary delights that will surprise and immerse you in to authentic food and wine experiences.
For further information go to www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au. A selection of high resolution images for the Moorabool Valley Taste Trail are available via drop box here.