Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Millers Dixons Creek Estate – by Denise McCann

Graeme Miller Owner & Winemaker
of Millers Dixons Creek Estate
A Yarra Valley Legend

Graeme Miller is a pioneer of the rebirth of the Yarra Valley as a wine region, having established Chateau Yarrinya in 1971. After winning a bevy of major wine awards including the 1978 Jimmy Watson Trophy, the first Victorian winery to win this coveted award, Graeme began drawing much attention to the Yarra Valley as a winemaking region. As a result, the DeBortoli family purchased Yarrinya in 1985 where they are still located.

Following the sale, Graeme selected another 136-acre premium site nearby. The property has 70 acres under vine including varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Nestled in the northwest end of the Yarra Valley along the Melba Highway, Millers Dixons Creek Estate enjoys a perfect undulating environment that produces premium cool climate wines with the winery and cellar door appearing to float on top of the hill.

Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Billanook Estate – by Denise McCann

D’Aloisio Family, Owners of Billanook Estate
A well known family in the Yarra Valley

As we mentioned when we profiled Seville Hill, the D’Aloisio family have been involved in the agricultural heritage of the Yarra Valley since the late 1960’s. In 1994 the family planted the first vines on their 36 hectare property, known as Yarraland. Their reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Pinot Noir as well as the white varietals, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2011 they added the Italian varieties, Barbera, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Tempranillo.

The vineyard is located at the gateway to the Yarra Valley just beyond Chirnside Park on one of the most prime positions commanding spectacular views.

Henry knows the Yarra Valley like the back of his hand and is constantly striving to produce premium fruit of the highest quality for not only their Billanook Estate wines but for the loyal group of wineries their grapes are sold to.

Family members oversee the whole process from harvest to the wine in bottle. Henry manages the entire vineyard while brother, John, does the winemaking. Henry and John’s father, Carmine, is still involved in working and tending to the vines. At 90 years of age, Carmine still likes to drive the tractor in the early hours of the morning, checking on the vines to make sure they are behaving themselves – like any good self respecting patriarch of the family! And on Festival weekends such as the Shortest Lunch there are lots of family members on hand to help out. So you’re sure to hear some amazing stories.


Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Whispering Hills – by Denise McCann

A philosophy of Murray and Marie Lyons
Owners of Whispering Hills Vineyard

Located in Victoria’s picturesque countryside just an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, Whispering Hills is the ideal spot to spend a relaxing afternoon. Family owned and run, owners Murray & Marie Lyons are passionate about all things food and wine related.

Established in 1985, Whispering Hills is a beautiful 10 acre property nestled in a natural amphitheatre above the township of Seville in the Yarra Valley. There are 8.5 acres under vine planted with Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Murray’s winemaking journey began in the Mornington Peninsula and Bendigo, where the famous Cambrian soil arguably produces some of the best Shirazes in Australia. As a result of this pedigree, Whispering Hills also produces a beautiful Shiraz with fruit sourced from Bendigo. Yields are tightly controlled to enhance quality and the wines are only released in small quantities.

The Cellar Door, a converted logging truck shed, is where you’ll be introduced to Murray and Marie’s brand of exceptional country hospitality. You can relax and take the time to chat and sample the wines all within metres of the vineyard. In winter, you can warm up by the open fire while enjoying Marie’s famous sourdough bread and pizzas produced in their unique 13 tonne wood-fired oven. Oh and did someone say cheese??!!


Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Steels Creek Estate – by Denise McCann

Joanne and Simon Peirce
Owners & Winemakers of a hidden gem in the Yarra Valley

Simon established Steels Creek Estate in 1981. The 20 acre property is situated in the picturesque Steels Creek Valley (located about 10km north of Yarra Glen) with sweeping views towards Kinglake National Park and Mount Slide. It is home to 5 acres of 35-year-old vines set amongst this beautiful landscape.

Premium cool climate wines are produced from estate grown fruit at Yarra Valley’s smallest 5 star Winery. The low cropped fruit is handpicked and processed in small batches adopting wild yeast ferments with minimal intervention.

“With such a small amount of fruit Simon makes each of his wines as a straight varietal so wine lovers can identify and enjoy the characteristics that each grape type delivers” says Joanne

Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Yering Farm Wines – by Denise McCann

Vicki and Alan Johns,
Owners of Yering Farm Wines

Five Generations of Orchardists turned Viticulturists & Winemakers

Yering Farm is steeped in history, for its location and for the vines this site was originally known for. It is located on the original site of the Yeringa Vineyard once owned by the Deschamps family back in the 1800’s.

As fifth generation Orchardists, the Johns family resurrected the property in 1980. The old hay shed was transformed into the charming rustic Cellar Door that you can visit today, complete with the original “Yeringa Vineyard” sign adorning the entrance.

The whole property exudes charm, with commanding views of the Yarra Valley: perfect to linger with a bottle of wine and the Yering Farm “Pruner’s Platter” by the fire or out on the large verandah.

The replanting of grapevines began in 1989 and to this day, all Yering Farm wines are still produced on site from estate grown fruit with the sole focus being to produce high quality, low yielding, hand picked grapes.

Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Payne’s Rise – by Denise McCann

Meet Narelle and Tim Cullen

Owners and Winemakers at Payne’s Rise

Payne’s Rise is a family owned, boutique winery located in the beautiful township of Seville in the Yarra Valley. Specialising in small batch wines produced from carefully selected fruit from their vineyard Tim and Narelle with their two lovely kids, Brody and Jed bring passion and commitment to the historical surrounds of Seville.


Tim, Brody & Jed with the team
Tim, Brody & Jed with the team
Historic and rustic Cellar Door
Historic and rustic Cellar Door











The incredibly inviting cellar door is incorporated into the 1860′s homestead and property of Seville’s first settler, Thomas Payne. Mr Payne was granted the allotment in Seville on the 18th February 1867. Before settling in Seville, Mr Payne worked in the goldfields and building trades, mastering the skills of lath plastering and the like. These skills were applied to the construction of his lath and plaster home overlooking the valleys of Seville and Wandin.

 Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Five Oaks Vineyard – by Denise McCann

Wally and Judy Zuk, Owners and Winemakers of Five Oaks Vineyard are quintessential over-achievers!

Wally, a born and bred Canadian from Quebec, graduated with a PhD in Nuclear Physics from Queens University in Kingston in eastern Ontario and Judy, an Australian who had the guts to go travelling in her early 20s and found her niche in Canada, achieved her Law degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, which is where she met Wally.

Since releasing their first wine, a 1995 Cabernet Merlot, Judy and Wally’s wines have earned over 90 awards at National and International wine competitions and they export wines to Canada, Macau, Hong Kong and Greater China.

Which for a rocket scientist and “Gentleman Winemaker” ain’t too bad at all!

Shortest Lunch - Winery Profile - Five Oaks Vineyard
One of the five Oak Trees

Judy and Wally will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later this year! A true achievement in today’s fast paced society!

As mentioned, Wally and Judy arrived in Canberra in 1968 where Wally was a visiting Research Fellow in Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University. It was there that Wally was introduced to Australian wines, which started an interest that subsequently became his passion.

Judy and Wally returned to Canada for twenty years but interest in Australian wines continued to grow, fuelled by numerous trips back to Australia while visiting Judy’s family.


Shortest Lunch 18 & 19 June 2016 - Winery Profile - Seville Hill
John D’Aloisio, Owner & Winemaker, Seville Hill

Shortest Lunch – Winery Profile – Seville Hill – by Denise McCann

The D’Aloisio family has been involved in the agricultural heritage of the Yarra Valley since the late 1960’s: from growing strawberries in the Wandin area to managing orchards of cherries, peaches, nectarine, plums and apples and finally turning to vineyards in 1991.

John and Josie D’Aloisio purchased the 43 acre property that is known as Seville Hill in 1985 and since 2004 the Shortest Lunch has turned into a tradition at Seville Hill.

We’re now into the seventeenth year of this festival and we have worked hard to keep a highly-personal and casual atmosphere to the Shortest Lunch, giving wine lovers the chance to get up close to our working wineries and to understand the passion behind what we do” says John.

Shortest Lunch 18 & 19 June 2016 - Winery Profile - Seville Hill
Up the dirt track to Seville Hill Cellar Door

From initial vintages that focused on elegant, fruit driven reds, recent years has seen the introduction of whites, dessert styles and Sparkling Wines. Not afraid to stretch the palette,

Some of the best things in life come in small packages!

Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries are celebrating the virtue of smaller things with the Shortest Lunch over the shortest weekend of the year on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June, with small tastes, bites and sips of the region’s best boutique wines.

Wine and food lovers can celebrate this year’s winter solstice as they progress from one winery to another sampling a series of small serves, without the hustle and bustle of other wine festivals.

Fifteen Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries will open their winery gates, cellar doors and sheds, pouring their wine to visitors over the weekend who purchase a Shortest Lunch souvenir glass available at all participating wineries for just $15.

Seville Hill owner and winemaker, John D’Aloisio says the Shortest Lunch is a great way to meet the people behind the wines and explore some of the lesser-known winery pockets of the Yarra Valley.

“The Shortest Lunch is a family-friendly and relaxed festival, giving people the opportunity to access some of the region’s best wines directly from the makers,” says John.

“We’re now into the seventeenth year of this festival and we have worked hard to keep a highly-personal and casual atmosphere to the Shortest Lunch, giving wine lovers the chance to get up close to our working wineries and to understand the passion behind what we do.”

Shortest Lunch wineries include established names like Seville Estate, Millers Dixons Creek, Yering Farm, Steels Creek Estate, Whispering Hills and Five Oaks Wines as well as some newer Yarra Valley wineries, like Warramunda, Payne’s Rise, Brumfield Winery and Boat O’Craigo.

Menu items include tasty treats such as, Nonna’s pan seared soft homemade ricotta gnocchi at Billanook Estate, slow braised five spiced beef brisket at Elmswood Estate, Calabrian style risotto at Killara Estate and old-school bread and butter pudding at Wild Cattle Creek.

“All the wineries participating in the Shortest Lunch work together to offer something different at each venue, allowing people to plan their day from appetiser to dessert and encouraging people to experience three to four wineries each day,” says John.

Festival-goers can plan their day by accessing the menu and map of participating wineries in the festival brochure available at tourist information centres, hotels, B&Bs and wineries or on the website,

Make the most of the shortest weekend by staying overnight in the Yarra Valley and enjoying the festival over both days.

Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries donate nett sales from Shortest Lunch entry fees to the local Country Fire Association and encourage safe driving and responsible drinking over the festival weekend.

Dusty of Miller Dixons Creek Estate would love to see you!

Stretch your legs with Dusty at the Shortest Lunch Festival Yarra Valley

Event information:

Yarra Valley Smaller Wineries Shortest Lunch

  • Saturday, 18 and Sunday, 19 June 2016, 10am to 5pm.
  • Entry $15 per person and includes souvenir glass, payable at any participating winery.
  • Small, entrée sized meals are available at each winery up to the value of $18.
  • All nett proceeds from entry fees go to the Country Fire Association.

The fantastic thing I love about wine apart from the obvious enjoyment of tasting and drinking it or matching it with food, is that it promotes robust conversation and debate on a variety of topics including screw caps vs corks, New World Wines vs Old World Wines or to aerate a wine or not to aerate.

This usually takes place while drinking wine with friends, family or colleagues.   The irony of these discussions is that for potentially a whole dinner, you can have everyone engaging in the one topic about wine!! The conversation can be robust and exciting and at the end of it – we all agree that talking about and tasting wine together is marvellous.

Women Of Wine hosted a Masterclass for the NAB Staff Club recently and during that Masterclass I presented the exercise to the group about the concept of the Wine Aerator.

We had a trial where each person received two glasses of Hollicks Pinot Noir from Coonawarra.

  • One glass had un-aerated wine poured straight from the bottle; and
  • The other glass had the same wine poured through an aerator inserted into the bottle.

The discussion that ensued was fantastic. Most people loved the way the wine flavours were enhanced after going through the aerator and a few people thought there was no difference to the taste.  Everyone did agreed though, the aromas were markedly changed and the fruity aromas were much more prevalent – thus making the wine a more enjoyable experience.

Either way, the discussion was excellent where everyone’s opinion counted and most importantly, it was fun!

There are some photos below of the aerators Women Of Wine uses.

5 benefits about aerating a wine:

  1. I think an aerator works better with a young wine, say under five-to-eight years old. It softens the tannins and releases the aromas that bring out a wine’s full potential. Tannins are the chemicals that make wine astringent and what makes your mouth pucker and feel dry after taking a sip.
    In older vintages, tannins break down in the bottle as the wine’s bouquet evolves, which means it doesn’t need aeration but they’re often decanted to remove sediment.
  2. Using an aerator is a much faster way for the wine to breath than pouring your bottle into a decanter and letting it sit for 30 minute. With the types of aerators available now, where you can put them straight into the bottle, it is a handy travel accessory when heading to a winery or on a trip where you’ll be tasting wine!
  3. The theatre of pouring a wine that has an aerator attached is exciting and will be show stopper at your dinner party and creates fantastic conversation.
  4. The fantastic discussion and stories the guests share about their own experiences with aerators or decanters, wine dinners and winery visits is brilliant.
  5. It helps you learn more about your own palate and it’s a fun way to analyse the wine. Wine education doesn’t need to be stuffy or too technical. Activities such as these are a great way to learn about wine.

The important thing to remember is that there are no rules.  Love it, don’t love it…it’s a great experience and leads to great conversation!


Vinturi Wine Aerator
Vinturi Wine Aerator

Vinturi Wine Aerator with stand
Vinturi Wine Aerator with stand

In bottle wine aerator
Decantus Aero

Nordition Spirit Wine Perfector
Nordition Spirit Wine Perfector