Tastings in Healesville: Four Pillars Gin, Badger Creek Blueberry Winery, Jayden Ong Wines, Innocent Bystander Wines

When my husband and I went away for 3 nights in the Yarra Valley recently, it was our first time in two years since we’ve been away without kids. Therefore, for my birthday, I wanted to do all the things we were far less likely to do if the kids were with us.. and what better way than to taste what the region has to offer!

Our first stop was Four Pillars Gin Distillery, a very popular spot for both locals and visitors. Four Pillars have done really well for themselves, and are one of the most well known Australian gin makers around. The distillery in Healesville I believe is currently going through an expansion, and they offer group tastings and masterclasses onsite. Hubby and I popped in for a quick tasting of their gin and tonic Tasting Paddle with three of their most popular gins plus a bonus tasting of their Christmas Gin. My favourite was the Bloody Shiraz gin, but I also wanted a bottle of the Christmas Gin as my take home souvenir. In the end, I opted for my favourite as my take home bottle – but much to my surprise and delight, just a few weeks later my boss gifted me their Christmas Gin bottle so win!!

Our next stop was Badger Creek Blueberry Winery less than 15 mins away. I was intrigued by this place and wanted to try it out because I have never had blueberry wine before. This winery also offered ciders, homemade jams, toppings and condiments – and everything sounded so delicious. We were not disappointed. It was a lovely and quiet warm afternoon, and we were pretty relaxed. We enjoyed the Tasting Paddle with 4x 100ml pours of the Draught Apple Cider, Mid Strength Pear Cider, Blueberry Wine and Blueberry Moscato. Paired with the White Chocolate Cheesecake and housemade blueberry and pistachio ice cream – it was a delightful treat. We quite enjoyed our visit and would highly recommend this place!

Next up, we made it to Jayden Ong Winery just around the corner from where we were earlier that day at Four Pillars. This spot was a place I discovered a bit later on, it didn’t really show up anywhere obvious other than on the Google Map as I was searching for interesting places in the area. We got there at 5pm on a Friday, just in time for their Friday Night “Sunset Vibes”. We were welcomed by Jayden Ong himself, and he took us through 5 different wines for our tasting experience. We also had some light snacks (because we were still quite full, and we had another booking afterwards for dinner) and just enjoyed the casual vibes with the DJ spinning some tunes.

Finally, our last stop of the day was none other than Innocent Bystander – another popular place in Healesville. We arrived early for our 7pm booking, but the restaurant was kind enough to accommodate us despite the restaurant being quite busy and tables almost completely filled. There was a wide range of customer demographics there for dinner at the time – from the older senior couple, to families with kids, to the very young early 20s couples, to mid-aged professionals there for after work drinks. We were promptly seated, and enjoyed yet another wine tasting and ordered the Corned Roast Lamb Rump and Mixed Paella for dinner. It was a satisfying end to our boozy foodie day – the way birthdays should always be celebrated!

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