Victoria’s first vineyard was planted at Yering Station in 1838. The Scottish-born Ryrie brothers ventured into the Yarra Valley as they moved their cattle south from Sydney. Taking up a grazing license of 43 000 acres, they named the property ‘Yering’, its Aboriginal name. The Ryrie’s planted two varieties, the Black Cluster of Hamburg and a white grape variety called Sweetwater. During the early 1850’s they returned to Sydney and Paul de Castella took ownership of Yering Station, developing the property from what remained primarily a cattle station into a landmark of winemaking in Victoria.
Paul de Castella arrived in the Yarra Valley after traveling from his home town- the Neuchatel district in Switzerland. Many Swiss settled in the Yarra Valley around this time due to the sympathetic presence of the Victorian Governor’s wife, Sophie La Trobe, who also came from the region. Without them, the story of wine in the Yarra Valley would have been very different.
During the 1850’s Yering Station began to take shape. Paul de Castella extended the vineyards and cultivated the varieties with new cuttings imported from France. The winery was built to accommodate brand new equipment imported from the 1859 Bordeaux Exhibition in Paris. A new house and garden were constructed and an avenue of 330 elms was planted along the driveway to welcome De Castella’s bride.
In 1861 Yering Station won the Argus Gold Cup for the best Victorian vineyard. De Castella advocated for strong communication between vineyard and winery.
For years the Yering Station vineyard was one of the largest in the area and as visitors and holiday makers to the Yarra Valley began to increase, wines from this new region began to make their mark on the world.
In 1889 Yering Station won a Grand Prix at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Only fourteen such awards were ever granted internationally. The winery received the sole award for a wine produced in the southern hemisphere.
By the early 20th century, the Yarra Valley wine industry was in decline. The phylloxera epidemic had destroyed many Victorian vineyards and although it never reached the Yarra Valley, economic and social factors (such as palate preference) impacted upon cool climate viticulture in Victoria. The Yarra Valley area returned to dairy farming. It was not until the early 1970’s that, in response to the changing cultural demands of the new generation, coupled with the growing success of other Australian regions, the Yarra Valley vineyards began to thrive once more.
Yering Station Modern History
After changing hands several times throughout the early-to-mid 1900’s, Yering Station was purchased by the Rathbone family in 1996. A further 100 acres of vines were planted and that same year a joint venture was signed with Champagne Devaux, a leading Champagne house in France, to make the now famed Yarrabank sparkling. The Rathbone family made plans for the development of a state-of-the-art winery to accommodate and complement the anticipated increase in winemaking standards. John Evans moved across from nearby Yarra Ridge to manage the expanding vineyards.
Melbourne architect Robert Conti was appointed and designs were laid to recreate Yering Station as a landmark tourist destination and key contributor to the international wine community.
Yering Station Today
Today Yering Station remains true to its heritage as a family-owned and operated winery dedicated to producing wines of quality and distinction. The Rathbone family is committed to providing an environment that allows its passionate young team to thrive.
In recent times, this vision has culminated in some exciting recognition, with the ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ at the highly coveted International Wine and Spirit Competition, London in 2004. As well as the property’s induction into the Australian Tourism Awards ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2006.
In 2008, the winery team welcomed into the fold new Chief Winemaker - Willy Lunn. It is a great boon to Yering Station that Willy has taken over the role as Chief Winemaker marking a new, exciting chapter for the Rathbone family’s journey in the wine industry and the unsurpassed quality of their regionally acclaimed wines. Willy’s commitment to encouraging a strong team spirit throughout the winery will continue to allow the passionate team at Yering Station to thrive.
The importance of our proud heritage is still a visible feature of the property today. Historical icons such as the original avenue of elms, the heritage-listed barn and early winery building, now home to our cellar door are reminders of the achievements of the past. The stunning new architecture is designed to reflect the superb natural surrounds and provide visitors with exceptional facilities in which to experience the finest in wine, food, and sensory experience.
The Yering Station philosophy is founded on the bridging point between old and new. In every aspect of our workings, and especially in the making of our wines, we employ and respect traditional, age-old techniques, and enhance them with our own band of new world style and sophistication.
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