Monday, 18 April 2016

Oxley, Victoria

It's 'O is for Monday' and today I'm taking you to the scenic North-East of Victoria, as part of my Wander Victoria* April A to Z challenge. We're a three-hour drive from Melbourne in the semi-rural community of Oxley, with a population of just over 500 inhabitants. Come with me, I can't wait to show you around, we're going to meet some really nice locals.

Oxley Post Box
Let's be honest, not many people are going to drive three hours just to go to Oxley, but it is my pleasure to take you off the beaten track. And whilst you are here you can always pop into Brown Brothers winery, or indeed if you have your own aircraft you can land it at their private airstrip. 

Brown Brothers is one of Australia's most renown and respected wine businesses, and I know from the comments already made, how many of you love our Aussie wines!

We will start our day at Brown Brothers, Milawa and if you look very carefully you will see lots of little wrens hopping about everywhere. Now sorry to be a tease but that stretch limo below is not for us! No, let's leave that to the 1920 Flapper girls on a hen party weekend. We're going to be cycling. There, I knew you'd be excited at that thought! Brown Brothers have a fabulous scheme and you can borrow a bike to explore the local Milawa Gourmet Region.

Hats on and follow me!

Wrens, bikes and limos at Brown Brothers winery.
There is so much to see in the local area and I have to say it didn't take me long to have my basket full to the brim, stuffed with fabulous local produce, cheese and bread, olive oils, Milawa mustard and the like. 

Off we set, I'm slightly unbalanced with all that extra weight in my front basket, wobbling behind Mr. Wren on the 6 Km cycle path ride to Oxley. 

'enough olive oil, let's find the wine!' 

He yells as he sets off like the clappers with the lure of wine tasting ahead. We pedal alongside pretty fields full of sheep and cattle and happily despite being at the base of the Victorian Alps, Snow Road, the main road into Oxley is relatively flat. Phew!

We can't help but notice how dry the area is, but obviously, this sun-drenched King Valley climate is great for wine. Yesterday, was a perfect Autumn day at 24 degrees centigrade, 6 degrees warmer than Melbourne.

Arriving in Oxley we have a dilemma as both the vineyards have been recommended to us. In the end, we opt to visit Ciavarella Oxley Estate wines being slightly closer. Tucked away at the back of the village, we soon find ourselves whizzing through the vines towards the cellar door. 

Oxley Estate is a family run business and despite it being a Sunday lunch time we are given a very warm welcome and are offered a glass of water as we clearly looked like we needed it! 'Water?' Says Mr Wren?! 

We enjoyed the private tasting, yes surprisingly we were the only ones there! Mr Wren asked lots of questions about the grapes, reads all the tasting notes and then carefully chooses a few wines for us to enjoy back in Melbourne. We look at our purchases and are wondering how many clinking bottles of wine will fit in our baskets when they suggest we leave all our shopping behind for later collection returning with the car - brilliant idea!

We stop off at the Oxley Pantry for a fabulous coffee. It's a one-stop shop with a friendly welcome for sure. It's the ultimate corner store, with the Post Office, a bottle shop and some amazing bacon and egg rolls ,so they say,  all in one.

I hope you have enjoyed being off the beaten track today on our tour de Oxley. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow when we will be joining the rich and famous at Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula. Hey, I wonder if that limousine still there, maybe we should ride in style?

As always, thank you so much for joining me. Remember 

'Not all those who wander are lost!' J. R. R. Tolkien 

PS: * Wander Victoria is an initiative of our Victorian State Government to encourage us to explore the charms of regional Victoria. You can find out more on my previous post here

Linking with thanks to all the hosts at Our World Tuesday
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