Today was one of the most inticipated days of the MRED International trip. Wine tour day! The United States is just getting leaving a long winter season so the group was looking forward to getting out of the city for a day to enjoy the vineyards as well as the 95 degree heat. After breakfast the group met at 8:45 and off we went on the hour long trip to the Yarra Valley.
Our first stop was to visit the Chandon Vineyard and winery. After a brief tour of the winery’s process, the group was invited to taste their award winning sparkling red wines. Afterwards, many members of the group decided to taste addition wines that were grown on site.
Our second stop on tour was the Fergusson Winery and Restaurant. This much smaller winery sits on a 40-acre site and is still owned and operated by the Fergusson family. The group found it very interesting when the young lady pouring samples introduced a wine by saying “Our last wine was the Benjamyn Cabernet named after my brother. Our next wine is the 1999 Victoria Chardonnay named after yours truly.” Sure enough, her nametag read Victoria. Afterwards, the group ate a much-needed lunch to end our Fergusson visit.
Our last stop of the day was the De Bortoli Itilaian based winery on a 600 acre farm that was established in 1928. In addition to their award winning wine list, Bortoli is internationally known for their selection of cheeses. The server gave us a detailed history of not only their vineyard but the history of the Yarra Valley and the grape growing process as a whole. She explained that many investors have lost money in the Yarra Valley in efforts to produce a quality wine. This is due to the length of time that is required before the investment of planting the grapes and pays off with a quality crop. She stated that most plants begin producing “table wine” grade grapes in 20 years. It is not until year 50 they produce the most productive yield. She added “You plant grapes for your children.” This must be true because all three vineyards that we visited today were in their third and fourth generation.