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Urban winery offers Yarra Valley corporate wine and food experiences

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Yarra Valley winemaker Jayden Ong in the barrel room
There’s a very good reason Jayden Ong chose to establish an urban winery in the Yarra Valley township of Healesville – there’s phylloxera – a grapevine pest – in the Yarra Valley and it can be carried into a vineyard on people’s shoes.

The winery that bears his name is popular as an off-site dinner venue for group meetings in the closest wine region to Melbourne. He says it can cater for 150 seated.

Ong told micenet the decision to move the winery away from his four local vineyards was a quarantine measure completed during the pandemic.

One downside of his move is that his Mount Toolebewong vineyard, at 700 metres elevation is the highest vineyard in the Yarra Valley with views to match, but it is not open to the public.

However the silver lining is that the mountain vineyard enjoys temperatures five degrees cooler than the floor of the Yarra Valley, making it ideal for cool climate chardonnay production.

Ong expects this vineyard to come into commercial production in the next one to two years.

“We want to produce internationally-competitive quality chardonnay,” he says.

He already sells his range of four wine brands to six export markets. He says he had a solid business selling into China until the tariff war, but he received a call from China this week after the announcement that authorities there were looking to relax the tariff restrictions.

Ong says his winery is popular with Chinese visitors, especially those from Singapore and Malaysia who are curious to see what wines are produced under an apparently Asian brand. Ong himself is Australian-born and educated at Charles Sturt University in wine science.

Already an acclaimed winemaker, Ong was twice nominated as a Young Gun of Wine and his Healesville Winery and Cellar Bar has already won a food award at the 2022 Gourmet Traveller Wine Awards and scored one hat from The Age Good Food Guide 2023.

Apart from hosting business events at the winery, Ong takes his wines to corporate education events at clients’ offices or at meetings venues in the region.

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