Visit Re'em at Helen & Joey Estate

By J'aime Cardillo

9 May, 2024

Re'em at Helen & Joey Estate has reopened as a Yarra Valley wine tourism destination. We visited the boutique hotel and restaurant.

Re'em (pronounced Ree-em) is Helen & Joey's new tasting room, 16-room contemporary hotel, and Chinese-influenced restaurant. The relocated cellar door and hotel opened earlier this year and puts the Yarra Valley winery on the map as a wine and food destination.

Helen & Joey is a 200-acre estate that was established in 2010. It is the namesake winery of Helen Xu and Joey Zeng, who moved to Australia from China the year prior.

Helen & Joey is home to vineyards planted to sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, and chardonnay, and when it comes to reds, there's pinot noir, merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc. There's also one and a half rows of malbec planted. The wines are produced under three labels: Wayward Child, Re’em and Alicorn.

View of Re'em and the Helen & Joey wineryRe'em Yarra Valley is a boutique hotel complete with 16 rooms, a restaurant and tasting room.

Vineyard manager Darren Edwards (who was previously at Sticks and Punt Road) first met Helen when she took over the property back in 2010.

Helen's story is nothing short of impressive. She's a scientist, has led quality assurance at Nestlé, and has an importing and distributing company in Shanghai. But in 2009 she made the move to Australia; she was steadfast in wanting her son to attend school here. One year later she took over the reins at the winery and transformed it into Helen & Joey.

"For the first two years that Helen bought here, we were buying the fruit from here for Sticks. So I had that existing relationship coming in and overseeing the fruit, making sure they were doing the right thing in regard to looking after the vineyard and getting the quality," says Darren.

Helen XuHelen & Joey owner, Helen Xu.

After taking stock of the varieties, reassessing and replanting, Darren says Helen & Joey is about 52-acres under vine. "We pulled off just under 110 tonnes this year, which was really good. So if you're a wine drinker, a bit of a heads up, the '24 vintage is going to be very strong quality and quantity."

Before the relocation, the cellar door sat at the top of the estate, boasting outstanding views of the patchwork of vineyards. While the building is currently sitting idle, Stephen Powell (business development and relationships manager) says there are plans for a more casual dining experience in the works. 

The old cellar door is also the home of Bruce, the iconic gold life-size unicorn statue. Bruce is stamped with the Helen & Joey name and has been dubbed 'the guardian of the Yarra Valley'.

If you've opened a Helen & Joey wine, or been to the winery, you are probably familiar with the recurring motif of the unicorn. Not to mention, Re'em quite literally translates to 'unicorn'. The mythical creature is dotted around the property, and in Chinese culture is the symbol of determination and persistence.

Re'em RestaurantInside Re'em Restaurant.

Back down the hill and inside, Re'em Restaurant is led by head chef Abe Yang (previously Levantine Hill and TarraWarra Estate). When planning the menu, Helen and Joey also called in the expert advice of culinary consultant, Mark Ebbels. Mark has previously worked at the Michelin-star restaurant Bacchanalia, Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, and TarraWarra Estate. 

The Re'em menu states, 'no matter where you go, food can always bring you home', and it's clear that the dishes reflect elevated familial memories of food.

Served Thursday to Monday, each dish pays homage to Helen and Joey's Chinese heritage, and at the centre of the kitchen is a wood-fired grill. While the menu is seasonal, right now you can expect dishes like the mouth-watering lamb belly skewer with housemade sriracha, handmade shiitake mushroom dumplings, chargrilled octopus with gochujung mayonnaise, roasted Aurum duck breast, and to finish, the caramelised pineapple tart. And, of course, all dishes have been designed to pair with Helen & Joey wines. 

The view from the soak tub in the Re'em roomsThe view of the estate from the Alicorn suite.

The 80-seat dining room is complete with intimate booths and balcony seating. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the sprawling vineyards and ensure the room is filled with light during the day, and in the evening, the halo-shaped lights take over.

Once you've toured the vineyards and winery, enjoyed a wine tasting, and experienced the three-course set menu, which includes snacks (be sure to add the wine pairings), you'll be ready to check into your suite.

Inside the boutique hotel rooms, almost everything is embroidered or marked with the gold Re'em logo, in a way that isn't in your face. Instead it feels like Helen and Joey have considered every tiny detail in the rooms.

Each room overlooks the estate's vineyards; we were lucky enough to take in the view of the ornamental lake from the comfort of a very plush king-size bed (and the deep-soak bath tub).

Re’em Restaurant is open for lunch from Thursday to Monday 12–3pm, and for dinner Friday and Saturday 5:30–9:30pm. The cellar door is open Monday to Sunday (May through September 10am–5pm and October through April 11am–6pm).

For more information or to book a stay at Re'em or cellar door or dining experience visit 

J'aime Cardillo was hosted by Helen & Joey Estate and Re'em.

Image credit: Re'em/Helen & Joey Estate.