Every year The Age newspaper seeks out 52 great weekends away and this year Ainsworth Estate has been featured. It was published in the Good Weekend Magazine on 26th October.
Seville sits at the Yarra Valley's less noticed southern end, which is now starting to come into its own as a tourist destination. The beautiful, gently rolling hills are still home to the grape and fruit crops first planted by 19th century European settlers, many of them French speakers from Guernsey, in the Channel Islands (the Rue de Garre sign in nearby Wandin is a subtle marker of this rich heritage). Many of these families remain in the area.
Ainsworth Estate sits away from the main township. Perched above the vineyards, its three apartments command sweeping views over the rows of vines - stark and skeletal in winter months, verdant green in spring and summer, russet in autumn. The spacious villas make a sleek, modern statement, with vaulted ceilings that meet at interesting angles, polished floorboards and stainless-steel bannisters.
The season determines the Ainsworth Estate experience for visitors. In winter, when there's a bite in the Yarra Valley air, the best place after a day of touring is behind the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame a picture-postcard view of the vineyards and mountains beyond. In warmer weather, the private balcony is the place to drink in the serenity and, just as importantly, the wine of the estate - in our case an excellent 2003 chardonnay found nestling in the breakfast provisions. The estate's wines have collected more than 100 medals and the cellar door is open by appointment in warmer months.
The wines, of course - not only at Ainsworth but at the surrounding estates. The Mont de Lancey homestead in Wandin is a must. The house is the original home built by immigrants from Guernsey, who settled in the 1850s. The French influence begins with the name - Mont from the high outlook, de Lancey from a lane in Guernsey.
Need to know
Cost: From $460 for a two-night weekend package.
Distance: 1 hour's drive (53km) east of Melbourne.
Children: Yes, by prior arrangement.
Shane Green The Age