The Best Time to Visit a Winery… or Three.

by Dylan Wells


We’re stoked that you’re looking for info on the best time to visit a winery because Covid completely screwed the wine industry. we’d finish the rant there, but the fact is, we can do something about it. 

There’s a couple of reasons why it’s ‘screwed’, the first being self-explanatory in that we weren’t allowed outside, so visiting a winery was quite difficult – note to self look into virtual vineyard experiences…. Secondly, Australia started playing the blame game with China over Covid conspiracies. China decided to raise the middle finger and cut a bunch of trade agreements, the international distribution of wine coming out of Australia being one of the most prominent.

But we’re not here to be political; we just want to make sure that one of the few weekend joys that we cherish isn’t strangled by the ongoing repercussions of Covid.

So we’re going to look at the best time to visit a winery and why.

The Best Time to Visit a Winery 

Before I give you a straight answer which is ultimately what you’re looking for. You need to know the variables. 

The ideal time to visit a winery depends on where you’re going. The vibe and opening times change whether you’re visiting the Yarra Valley, Mclaren Vale, or a country bumpkin region that no one’s heard of. Some regions have a pretty good nightlife, but it’s super seasonal and leans on the region’s event calendar. 

Your arrival should also depend on where you’re coming from. I’m not going to try and evaluate the traffic density and kilometres to your destination, so I’ll just give you the best time to arrive at the winery, not leave your house – that one’s up to you. 

It’s not a secret that wineries are typically prone to day sessions. So you’ll want to take into account how many wineries you’re hitting up that day.  I’d suggest not to try and tackle more than three in a day. You’ll spend the day chasing your tail, and it becomes more of a hindrance instead of an experience that’s relaxing and memorable.

A Rough Wine Schedule You Should Follow

So if we’re landing with three wineries as the magic number, you’ll want to be at your first at 11 am. 

Winery No. 1

Rock up at 11 am, and you get to have your first tasting, stroll around the gardens, and a quick chat with the winemakers before you start craving food (providing you had breakfast). If you’ve chosen your wineries correctly, there’ll be such additions as art galleries, winemaking classes, artisan groceries, and history tours to kick off your vino day the right way. 

Winery No. 2

The second winery has to have its chops in the restaurant department. Best time to visit winery number two – don’t leave it later than 2 pm; by the time you finish eating, you’ll be zonked, probably in a food coma with your sights homebound.

You want at least a dash of decadence –  get fancy for an hour or so; it’s important to vitalise that false mentality of having more money than you do. We’ve all been there, but the truth is, it’s ‘budget night’ every night for the following week (it’s a sacrifice we make almost every weekend…)

I would recommend avoiding too much seafood; a bit of ceviche, sashimi, or a plate of oysters is fine, but don’t let it dominate the theme. The only reason being that we’ve always thought that seafood swishing around the belly with multiple varieties of wine ends up forming a druid’s concoction for an afternoon sidewalk pizza (might take a second to picture that…).

Winery No. 3

Now, two vineyards might be enough, but the third stop is for those that don’t have kids (or you’re taking a break from babysitting your parents’ grandchildren). Two was fun, but now you feel like some live music, garden fairy lights, and a beer. Yes, It’s OK to have a beer at a winery; there’s only so much vino you can drink before it starts tasting like sour grape juice.

Best time to visit winery number three? It depends if you need a break. My thoughts are, if you go home, you’ll probably end up staying there. So solider on. Get there before sunset (around 5-6 pm), get a comfy perch, and enjoy the golden hour – providing the winery has a nightlife; it’s best to check before you rock up. 

Support Local Wineries

It doesn’t really matter if you visit one or manage the full hat-trick. Get out there and support local vineyard owners, winemakers and the thousands of employees that the industry employs – it’s the only way to keep it alive, oh and avoid Dan Murphies at all costs.

Happy trails!

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