271 Steels Creek Rd, Yarra Glen, VIC
03 9730 1977
Once a visitor, always a friend at Yileena Park. The family owned vineyard and cellar door has a string of regulars, many from overseas or interstate, who schedule in a visit each time they come to Melbourne.
The friendly donkeys that roam the property may be a drawcard, but what keeps bringing visitors back is the way that every visit is made special.
Bob and Dianne Curtis run the property together and their passion and commitment is evident in every element at Yileena. The couple purchased the property back in 1992, with the intention of using the land for a cattle stud, but they soon had to move the cattle stud to a bigger acreage. Their location in the Yarra Valley convinced them to play to the small property’s strengths, so in 1998 they planted a vineyard.
Today Yileena Park is renowned for its high quality grapes, which are given to some of the region’s top winemakers to produce the Yileena Park range. No bottle of red wine is released before it reaches a four-year vintage, or six years for reserve wines. They are not pre-aged using micro-oxygenisation techniques; instead, they are matured naturally. It’s a time-intensive process, but Bob and Dianne are happy to wait.
Their sustainable, long-term approach to their vineyards is evident in all their growing decisions. The vines are watered using a sub-surface irrigation system, which delivers water directly to the roots, and is twice as water- efficient compared to traditional methods. Less moisture on the soil’s surface also means less weeds and reduces the need for chemical sprays. Yileena Park has another method of keeping the weeds down – two donkeys, some sheep, alpaca and cows roam the property, maintaining the grass as well as winning the hearts of visitors.
This respect for the vines and the land results in some beautiful wines. Take a sip of the 2010 Merlot, and you’ll get a rich, full flavour brought about by age, with hints of ripe cassis, blood plum, oak and white pepper. For the ultimate Yileena Park experience, sample the luxurious 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which Dianne describes as a ‘selfish wine’ – to be shared and enjoyed with special company. You’ll taste raspberry, rhubarb and plum, with an earthy undertone reminiscent of cigar, moss and forest floor.
The Cellar Door is the best way to experience the results of Bob and Dianne’s efforts. Built into the hillside, the sandstone building keeps the wine cellars naturally cool. Clad in Tasmanian Myrtle and boasting an open fireplace and expansive deck overlooking the vineyard, the tasting room is an inviting spot to enjoy all that Yileena Park has to offer.
Bob and Dianne will accompany you throughout your visit, personally talking you through the wine tastings. Don’t miss sampling their smoked delicacies – the property’s old wine barrels are used to smoke salt, olive oil, nuts, mustard, apple cider vinegar, cheeses and smoked meats. Infused with the smoke of wine and oak, these gourmet treats have a unique flavour that pairs perfectly with a delicious glass of red and a cheese platter.
Once you’ve visited, you’ll know why people return to Yileena Park again and again. It’s not just the high-quality wines or the gourmet cellar door treats, it’s Bob and Dianne’s commitment to making each visit a personal experience to remember.