Top 5 Dog Friendly Wineries in the Yarra Valley
Let's imagine that the 5km radius has opened up, and you're planning a day trip in the Yarra Valley, (soon, mofo, so so soon) but your canine has developed a serious case of lockdown separation anxiety. Never fear, 'cause guess what? You can take him along. Yep, your 2021 just got a whole lot better (and less lonely). With help from our mates at Pooches & Pinot, we've put together a list of our favourite dog-friendly wineries in the Yarra Valley, so you can have your wine and bring your doggy too!
Maddens Rise has the honour of being one of the first Yarra Valley cellar doors to welcome doggies inside (groundbreaking, really). We love this boutique cellar door not only for its super friendly staff but also for its impressive range of small batch premium wines. Cellar Door Manager, Emma, is a national treasure, whose warm welcome upon arrival makes a visit to this tiniest of cellar doors absolutely worthwhile. With no bookings required (for under 6 people), Emma, Ben and Justin are doing it old school style, and Maddens Rise is a standout in the cellar door scene.
Mofo tip: Try their Arcobaleno (rainbow), an unusual but delightful field blend of vermentino, chenin blanc, garganega, arneis and fiano. Yum!
Where: Maddens Rise, corner Maroondah Highway & Maddens Lane, Coldstream
Family owned and operated, the crew at Helen’s Hill love their dogs so much, their portraits are proudly framed on the walls and even have beers named after them – Ava, Archie, Brutus and Caesar! Dogs are welcome inside the cellar door (and out on the deck) for a wine tasting, and the flight of wines on offer is extensive, showcasing their two distinct wine labels, Ingram Road and Helen’s Hill. Linger with your pup by your side while you enjoy a delicious grazing platter or pizza. In the warmer months, enjoy the lawn, or ask for a table by the fire when it cools down.
Mofo tip: Their YV syrah – described by the owner as ‘an iron fist in a velvet glove’ is cool climate shiraz at its best. Don't. Miss. Out.
Where: Helen’s Hill, 16 Ingram Road, Lilydale
Rob Dolan Wines
A wine tasting at Rob Dolan is very classy indeed. Set in a lovely old farmhouse in Warrandyte, their cellar door is pup-friendly and their own winery dogs often wander in for a sniff (and food hunt). Rob (winemaker and former AFL footy player) has made this a family affair, with his children often serving at the cellar door. Stone & Crow cheese operate out of the same location, giving you the perfect excuse to buy a glass (or bottle, we're not judging) to enjoy with a selection of handcrafted cow and goat milk cheeses. With a fun calendar full of summer events like Lazy Sundays and Garden Parties, which include music, local produce and wines, it's always a good time at Rob Dolan Wines.
Mofo tip: Try his Bon Blanc (savagnin) from Dixons Creek vineyard - it's a winner!
Where: Rob Dolan Wines, 21-23 Delaneys Road, South Warrandyte
Helen & Joey Estate
Famously known as ‘that winery with the unicorn’, Helen & Joey has quickly become a firm favourite. With stunning views from the deck, knowledgeable but fun staff, interesting wines (the aptly named Wayward Child is their experimental label) and our favourite rule: dogs are allowed inside and out. There's plenty to see and do, whether it's a wine tasting, grazing on their selection of delicious snacks, a photo session with Bruce the unicorn (and a few of his friends dotted on the property), joining their wine club (purchase one bottle to join) or all of the above - there's a reason why it's a popular spot.
Mofo tip: It can get pretty busy with large groups on weekends, but mid-week is a treat.
Where: Helen & Joey Estate, 12-14 Spring Lane, Gruyere
Payten & Jones
Treated like a wine bar by the locals, P&J is a breath of fresh air – talented winemakers Behn and Troy are true Healesvillians, friendly and unpretentious through and through. And their wines? Elegant in spades. The clever crew who guide you through the tastings are some of the valley’s finest - down-to-earth, knowledgeable and fascinating to listen to, it's hard not to feel welcome at a place like P&J.
Mofo tip: Give their sangiovese a red-hot go (they're one of a handful of producers in the valley).
Where: Payten & Jones, opposite Four Pillars Gin, 3 Lilydale Road, Healesville
This article was written in collaboration with Healesville-based dog and wine tour operators, Pooches & Pinot. Pooches & Pinot offer VIP private wine tasting tours, just for you and your pup. With door-to-door pick up (up to 75km from Healesville), lunch, wine tastings and a private experience with the Yarra Valley's best dog-friendly wineries, this is a unique tour made for dog and wine lovers. Run by Yarra Valley locals, Jeff and Helen, find out why it's gaining a cult following here.
Book your Pooches & Pinot tour in February and mention Vinomofo for 10% off!