The National Gallery of Victoria regularly runs arty bus tours for its members and non-members. Usually they’re conducted during the week and aimed at an older crowd, but for the first time in February they held the tour on a Saturday and encouraged NGV Artbeat members (the under 40s branch of NGV Members) to sign up for the bargain price of $75.

After some inclement weather during the week, we could not have asked for a better day for a full day’s tour of the Yarra Valley – sparkling bright blue skies with a cool breeze. The faultless weather even made up for the 8:30am departure time and I couldn’t wait to get out of the city and into the far-reaching landscape of grape vines.

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

First stop was the first winery established in Victoria, Yering Station. After a quick morning tea in the carpark, RM and I wandered around the expansive grounds capturing the contrast between the sky, the well-tended grass lawn, the still views opening out from the balcony and the cool stone buildings.

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

At 10am we were promptly led to the tasting area of the cellar door, where we were provided with several tastings of Yering Station wines – the Yering Station 2009 Fume Blanc (good for salads, white fish and seafood), the Yering Station 2008 Pinot Noir Rose (perfect with fish and chips), the Yering Station 2008 Pinot Noir (for light meats such as pork and duck as well as mushrooms) and the Yarrabank Cuvee 2004 (paired with pancakes, berries and marscapone). Later on RM also tasted the Yering Station 2005 Sangiovese and we bought a bottle of it take home.

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

The tasting area also doubles as an art gallery with rotating exhibitions of artwork (hence its stop on the Artbus). I can’t recall much about Heide Lang’s African-inspired silk screen prints other than not liking them very much.

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

Not being much of a wine connoisseur and not particularly scintillated by the artwork, I gravitated instead to the produce store filled with delicious things. If you get excited by relish like me, this is the place to go.

NGV Artbus Yarra Valley Yering Station Melbourne Hot or Not review

I stocked up on my storecupboard essential Cunliffe & Waters onion jam (great on sandwiches and for puff pastry tarts) and inspired by my recent dinner at Charcoal Lane, I bought a presentation box of native herbs and recipes for my foodie friends who were living overseas and getting married.

Come back tomorrow for the second stop on the NGV Artbus Tour of the Yarra Valley, TarraWarra Estate.