Yarra Yering releases 2022 wines

By J'aime Cardillo

2 May, 2024

Yarra Yering has just released its wines from the 2022 vintage, including the iconic Dry Red No.1 and Dry Red No. 2, along with four Carrodus wines. We spoke to winemaker and general manager Sarah Crowe about the new-release wines, and about why Yarra Yering isn't just a red wine producer.

Yarra Yering has released its wines from the 2022 vintage. The 'core four' include the 2022 Dry Red Wine No. 1, Dry Red Wine No. 2, Underhill, and Agincourt Cabernet Malbec, and from the Carrodus range, the four wines include the Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaker and general manager Sarah Crowe says that while Yarra Yering is known for its dry red wines, the Carrodus range – which you could call reserve – includes small-batch wines that were introduced to honour founder Dr Bailey Carrodus. "He passed away in 2008 and the first Carrodus wine was made from that 2008 vintage," says Sarah.

"I think in the few years after that, we worked out what they actually meant to us, and what I'm making now is because he was so well known for blending. So these are actually the straight varietals that he chose to plant in 1969 and [the Carrodus wines] almost always come from those original 1969 plantings."

Yarra Yering vineyardYarra Yering's 2022 wines include the Dry Red Wine No. 1, Dry Red Wine No. 2, Underhill, Agincourt Cabernet Malbec, along with the Carrodus range.

Sarah moved to Yarra Yering in 2013, after 12 years in the Hunter Valley, and her first release weekend came six months after moving to the Yarra Valley winery. The release was the 2012 vintage, which Sarah hadn't made. "I had bottled most of them, but already, these lovely members were looking at me, while they were looking at the wines, and saying 'they look different'. Which in a way gave me permission to start to play around a little bit, because what I was seeing and hearing was that people were expecting there to be a shift and they weren't necessarily upset by that.

"And then each year after that, it would be the same. It was usually the same members, and they'd come and taste, and they would say 'yeah, they look different again.' By then they had started to be a little bit different. After four years they'd say 'they're different, but I think I like them better', so it was this real evolution."

Sarah says that evolution was slow, measured and took a lot of trial work to understand the capabilities of the vineyard and how slightly different techniques would work. "Some of that stylistic shift involved upgrading of equipment, so then we had more choices and more options."

While known predominately as a red wine producer, Yarra Yering recently introduced a third chardonnay – the Crécy Chardonnay. Into its third vintage (the first two were predominately for export), Sarah says she wanted to produce the Crécy because there are a few skeptics who think Yarra Yering, being on a warmer site in the Yarra, can't produce chardonnay or pinot.

Andrew George and Sarah CroweAndrew George and Sarah Crowe.

She says chardonnay production at Yarra Yering has alway been pretty small. "For a long time we didn't actually make that much chardonnay, so people didn't really think of us because they didn't know we made it. People said things like, 'oh, so you are a red site?' And it's like, 'well, that's how the vineyard is currently planted, but technically we aren't just reds. But let me show you this, because it's pretty tasty.'

"And so I kind of wanted to hone and polish the Yarra Yering Chardonnay. I had these barrels that I liked a lot, but they shifted the style of where I wanted the Yarra Yering Chardonnay to go. So, I thought, 'what if I keep these?'. [The Crécy] is a little bit richer in flavour, often has a higher percentage of new oak, and so I thought, 'well, what if I put these together?'"

Sarah says by making the Yarra Yering Chardonnay that little bit tighter she's been able to make a more generous chardonnay in the Crécy. It's one she says is slightly more approachable sooner, and means the Yarra Yering Chardonnay can sit in the cellar a little bit longer.

For Sarah, splitting her time between winemaker and general manager is about 50:50. She's even moved her desk into the middle of the winery. "I have an awesome assistant winemaker [Ben Buckingham] who's worked with me since 2018. So that also gives me great confidence in everything that's been executed, as it is being executed 100 per cent how I would like it done."

Yarra Yering cellar doorYarra Yering's Yarra Valley cellar door.

Working alongside Sarah and Ben is vineyard manager Andrew George. Yes, the 'George' from the Crowe X George Yarra Yering release. "Our owner was kind of teasing me one day, and said, 'do you think you can take the Dry Red Wine No. 1 and can you amplify it? If I say to you, you have no limitations here, can you make something even more sensational?'

I said, 'oh, I could have a think about it'. The brief was to make 200 magnums of something super special with Andrew George. So the two went to work on the eastern end of the block where the Carrodus wines come from. Sarah describes it as the "Dry Red Wine No. 1 on steroids."

And while the 2018 is still available from Yarra Yering, Sarah says it will be an ongoing limited-edition release. "We've made a couple since then, not every year. The plan is to release them when I feel they're ready, and just starting to hit their straps... We're doing at least five years bottle maturation before we release them, which is what we say to people all the time. 'You can cellar these wines for 20-plus years, if you like.' And so I decided that if we're going to do something that is super special, we need to be showing and proving that it has longevity."

When it comes to the 2022 wines, Sarah is most looking forward to seeing the Underhill shiraz evolve in the bottle. She says the Underhill is usually the wine people immediately enjoy on the tasting mat. "I think this year is a little bit of a surprise package."

So, what's next? Sarah says there are a couple of new white varietals in the vineyard that she's excited about. "We've just had our first crop of grenache blanc, and we're probably two years off our first crop of aligoté."

They've been planted partly because Sarah is keen to expand the white wine offering at Yarra Yering but also, with climate change in mind, Sarah wants to be sure the winery is planning for the next 50 years and beyond.

For more information and to shop the 2022 wines visit

Image credit: Yarra Yering.