Toast to the Coast

THE GREAT Ocean Road region may not be best known for wine, but dotted around the coast and countryside are some incredible cool climate wineries to discover. Create your own wine tour, stopping at cellar doors for tastings and sampling local produce, or settle in for a long lunch among the vines.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere with good vibes and live music, a venue where the kids can run wild or a romantic weekend escape, here’s your vineyard hit list.

One of the few wineries located right on the Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae Estate lies among the rolling hills of the Surf Coast. Five minutes from Bells Beach, the winery is naturally influenced by the sea and surf, so you might recognise some of the names of local surf breaks on the labels. Head to the cellar door for wine tastings, or swing past on Sundays for wood fired pizzas and live tunes. Spend a sunny arvo session on the lawn, with a glass of Winkipop sparkling shiraz or Bells syrah in hand.

Riesling and shiraz lovers won’t want to miss this one – these drops are what Dinny does best. The winery is part of the Otway Harvest Trail, a foodie pilgrimage which links the best food, wine and produce in the Otways. Call into the cellar door for a free wine tasting or sit out on the deck for lunch.

They do a mean platter on weekends in the high season, packed with local cheeses and other goodies. Finish with a scenic stroll through the vineyard.

Discover a boutique vineyard on the Great Ocean Road, between
Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Basalt’s organic and biodynamic wines are
enriched by the region’s fertile volcanic soils. Visit the cellar door for wine tastings and tapas. Or stay for a seafood-studded long lunch, paired with award-winning riesling. While you linger over good wine and conversation in the cafe, the kids can kick the footy or experience farm life. They’ll adore meeting the babydoll sheep and roaming ducks and chickens.

Situated deep in dairy farming country, Keayang Maar is a family-run
vineyard overlooking a dormant volcanic crater. Come for the bucolic views, stay for the gorgeous cool climate wines. The cellar door is open Wednesday to Sunday for wine tasting and pizzas. If you’re lucky you might even catch a gig. Keayang Maar is part of the 12 Apostles Food Artisans trail. If you have time, take a delicious detour to the other foodie hotspots on the map.