These days Lilydale might be regarded as the gateway to the Yarra Valley
’s celebrated chain of wineries, but the outer Melbourne suburb has a rich wine-making history of its own.
Encouraged by the potential of the red volcanic soils and mild climate, Swiss brothers Paul and Hubert de Castella - forebears of champion marathon runner Robert de Castella - planted the first vines at Yering Station in 1838.
Today the land beyond suburban Lilydale has inherited that Swiss heritage and more than 30 wineries are scattered through the scenic hills and dales of the Yarra Valley.
The region is renowned for the quality of its pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon table wines while the Australian arm of the French winemaker Domaine Chandon keeps the bubbly flowing.
Set in the original Classic Revival shire offices, the Lilydale Museum's collection of historic material includes a display of memorabilia connected to opera's grand diva, Dame Nellie Melba, whose memory also pervades the Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre Company's colonial premises next door. Melba settled in Lilydale after her final stage farewell.
Find out more about the Yarra Valley