Having return guests on tour is more like spending a day out with friends, and on Saturday we took the lovely Janene on her third Tour the Valley Yarra Valley wine tour in 2 years. She always brings wine-loving friends with her and they buy up half the Yarra Valley’s wine stock and the poor tour bus ‘pulls a wheelie’ all the way home, it’s so laden at the back!

This time Janene brought Dee along for her first tour with us, alongwith previous repeat offenders Craig and Allan!  They had had some great ideas for their own itinerary and Joan was simply there to be their personal driver for the day.

Joan collected them from their fabulous accommodation at Meletos where they were staying and so they were at Punt Road cellar door just over the road sipping on their first wine tasting by 10am! Being the first customers of the day, they had the cellar door to themselves and enjoyed a great tasting while learning heaps about the wines, about how old Punt Road winery is and the history of the Yarra Valley.

Their next stop was the stunning TarraWarra Estate with its underground cellar door and were so impressed with the wines they tried, that they bought dozens, so much so we had to cart them out to our vehicle on a trolley!

We fitted in a quick trip to Yarra Yering to taste their sensational wines some of which are over $200 a bottle and they agreed they were quite beautiful.

Lunch was at Coombe Yarra Valley – Dame Nellie Melba’s former home.  The group thoroughly enjoyed their food, loved all the Nellie Melba memorabilia and were delighted to be served at Coombe’s cellar door by ex-Levantine Hill wine pro Kelly who sold them on Coombe’s range of wines – so much so I had to make room in the boot for more purchases, as by then it was nearly full!!

After their long, leisurely lunch it was time for a visit to Four Pillars Gin to round off their day with a refreshing Yarra Valley gin cocktail and a martini or two.

When Joan dropped them back at Meletos and helped them unload their vehicle full of wine, there were hugs all round and promises of a fourth wine tour when their stocks run low next!  They said ‘see you next year’ but Joan has so many cellar doors to take them to (there are currently 39 Yarra Valley cellar doors listed as open for tastings on Wine Yarra Valley’s website that she recommended they do a tour of the Yarra Valley with Tour the Valley every 6 months!!