Glamping At Balgownie Estate, Bendigo

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MELBOURNE | Balgownie Estate Bendigo has been around since 1969, when renowned winemaker Stuart Anderson helped reinvigorate the central goldfields wine growing region. They are best known for their red wines, inspired by the classic wines of Bordeaux and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Balgownie also make some fantastic white wines – they have a second vineyard in the Yarra Valley where cooler climate grapes are grown before being transported to the wine making facilities in Bendigo.

The vineyard, set across 80-hectares on a gentle slope overlooking Myer’s Creek at Maiden Gully, is beautiful and has long been popular as a setting for functions and events, but there was never much in the way of accomodation. Balgownie Estate recently upgraded their offering, and now offer a range of accommodation from single, twin, and safari tents, to homestead rooms and suites. We were invited to spend a night glamping in the safari tent, and, having never been glamping before, were keen to try it out.

A safari tent is the ideal choice for amateur non-campers like Lauren and myself, and is more like a hotel room than a tent. The 50 square metre tent has a queen bed and large couch that can easily sleep another two people. It comes with a kitchen tables and chairs, kitchenette, wardrobe, and ensuite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. There’s a minibar fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and a split reverse system air conditioner as well. Out the front there’s furniture and an outdoor bathtub on the deck with views across the vineyard. Don’t worry, the configuration of the tents means you won’t have people walking in front of the tent while you’re bathing.

The bell tents are a lot smaller (20 and 24 square metres for the single and twin respectively) but still offer a lot of amenities. The main thing you’re losing out on is the bath with both, and bathroom with the single (there are shared bath and toilet facilities on the grounds). These ones actually look like tents rather than cabins, but we had a peek inside and they’re still very nice.

Food is taken care of by head chef Travis Rodwell, who has put together a menu full of provincial French style dishes that pair well with the wines. We enjoyed a charcuterie board to start, which was packed with cured meats, terrines, rillette, chutney, pickles, brioche, croutons and fresh bread. It was all very tasty, and quite filling. To go with the charcuterie we enjoyed a 2017 Balgownie Black Label Pinot Gris.

For mains we opted for the 250g “Everything Wagyu” porterhouse served with green beans, Dijon mustard and hand cut chips. This was the highlight of the meal. The steak was cooked medium, just right to get the most out of the luscious wagyu fat. We could have used a butter knife to cut through the steak as it was that tender and each bite burst with flavour. It was paired with Balgownie’s 2013 ‘Old Vine’ Shiraz. We also went for some lovely duck fat roasted Dutch cream potatoes and a braised lamb neck and tomato orecchiette which were also fantastic. The pasta was paired with a 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

For dessert, which we somehow managed to squeeze in, it was a decadent Calebaut chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and praline parfait, which was also fantastic.

Breakfast is a simpler affair, with a small selection of classic breakfast dishes. Poached eggs on toast, avocado on sourdough, fruit toast, muesli, an omelette and crepes. We opted for the poached eggs on toast – one with avocado and one with bacon. Simple and delicious, with some coffee to help wake us up.

The cellar door is in the restaurant, and allows visitors to sample the full range of Balgownie’s wines, including their flagship White Label Cabernet, White Label Shiraz and the Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We met up with Liam Carney, Cellar Door Manager, who gave us a behind the scenes tour of the barrel storage and wine making facilities. It was fascinating to learn about the end-to-end process, and to taste direct from the barrel several wines at various stages of ageing.

Finally, we got to take one of the venue’s buggies for a ride around the wineries 2.4km bush track. If you’re lucky you might even get to see the family of kangaroos that lives at the winery.

We enjoyed a lovely night at Balgownie Estate and would highly recommend a stay here to anyone looking to explore the central goldfields wine growing region, and Bendigo itself.

Balgownie Estate Bendigo

46 Hermitage Road
Bendigo
Victoria 3551
Australia

Telephone: (03) 5449 6222
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

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Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences.Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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