You might know the name Rob Dolan from his illustrious football career, but it's more likely you associate the man with his second career as a winemaker. After working in various wineries around the Yarra Valley for almost three decades, Dolan struck out on his own, opening his own winery under his own name.
The winery uses fruit from all over Victoria to make a cracking range of cool-climate wines, from the entry-level, fruit-forward True Colours range through the White Label, Black Label and premium Signature Series drops. There are the traditional Yarra Valley pinot noir and chardonnay varietals here (including a spectacular malolactic fermentation chardy), as well as gorgeous cabernet sauvignons, which is a varietal with a long history in the Yarra Valley.
You can do a guided tableside tasting at Rob Dolan, or go on your own wine-and-cheese pairing adventure, with four Rob Dolan wines matched with specially chosen Stone and Crow cheeses, which are also made on site. Stone and Crow cheeses are only available at the winery and in local restaurants, so you should definitely stock up while you are there.
Real oenophiles (or those who want to learn more about wine) should book into a wine masterclass in the Wine Cube, a glass-walled (and temperature-controlled) space for wine education. The class covers characteristics of Yarra Valley wine and helps drinkers decide what works best for their palates. There's also a visit to Rob Dolan's barrel room, for a behind-the-scenes look at a working winery. Private functions are also available at the Wine Cube.
Oh, and the best bit – many of the staff bring their dogs to work, so you might get to scratch an ear or two as you taste your way through Rob Dolan's fantastic drops.