If flavours are your favoured way to experience a landscape, you’re going to love the Moorabool Valley Taste Trail (MVTT). It’s a full-on, self-paced party for your tastebuds and your soul, all within an hour’s drive of Melbourne (half an hour of Geelong).
Cradled between Geelong and Ballarat, the Moorabool River meanders through the picturesque valley past towns and vinerows, historic pubs and homes, working farms and close-knit communities. The Moorabool Valley Wine Region thrives here under the stewardship of a community of passionate winemakers and growers keen to share their wares and their craft.
The MVTT shapes the region into three bite-sized sub-regions.
The southern sub-region is closest to Geelong and centres along the Hamilton Highway and the delightful townships of Inverleigh and Teesdale.
The Midland Highway (linking Geelong and Ballarat) dissects the central region and the towns of Batesford, Bannockburn and Lethbridge.
In the north, find Anakie, Meredith and Steiglitz – old goldmining country fringed by bushland.
Depending on how deep you delve, you could devote a day to exploring each sub-region, a weekend to one or two, or a whistle-stop one-day tour to cherry-pick your favoured destinations. You can drive from one end of the region to the other within 45 minutes. Everything is within easy reach.
Locals will tell you the valley beats to a lovely slowed pace and is best enjoyed with lots of rest stops to take in the stunning rural vistas, time to relax and ponder, space to really get under the skin of this place.
In a snapshot, there’s at least a dozen MVTT wineries and cellar doors ranging from bigger names like Austins & Co to ultra-niche offerings like Spence Wines and Ceres Bridge Estate. Discover growers and producers like Sage Farm, Magic Meadow and Berry Organic Farm.
Eateries of all shapes and types from the fine dining of hatted restaurant Gladioli to modern pub fare at Inverleigh Hotel, and barista coffee and wickedly heathy tucker at Sonny Café. You can pick your own berries, take a chocolate making class, stock up at a farmers market (there are two regular ones), treat the kids to a farm stay or pamper yourself with a night or two at a luxury B&B like La Bella Vita. Or, if you’re staying in Geelong, the MVTT makes an ideal day trip.
Food and wine themed events and festivals dot the regional calendar and there’s always something or someone new joining the foodie fold. Provenance Wines is the newest kid on the block, due to open to the public mid-2017 at the historic Barwon Paper Mill site. Clyde Park Vineyard has just launched a new cellar door and Austins & Co is poised ready to introduce their snazzy new tasting area in late 2017.
Whatever way you choose to discover the Moorabool Valley region, the superb array of taste sensations and up-close-and-personal experiences with growers, makers, chefs and providores will have you beating a path back to the road less travelled. Resistance is futile.