Crisp temperatures mellowed by crackling fires, locally made wines enjoyed under starry skies, comfort food at cosy cellar doors – there are a few things that winter in Melbourne doesn’t offer.

Enter Fireside Yarra Valley, a 16-day festival that’s a toast to all that’s great about winter in this cool-climate wine region.

Join some of Melbourne’s top chefs as they up sticks to the Yarra Valley for one-off collaborations with the region’s wine-making maestros, cooking over fire at the area’s spectacular cellar doors.

The crew at Oakridge Wines is going full throttle on the fire theme, lighting up the Argentinian–style asado fire pit for a four-course dinner cooked over hot coals by executive chef Aaron Brodie. To match, the winery will open some of its best-loved wines – including rare back-vintage magnums.

Meanwhile, over at Jayden Ong Wines, join Melbourne’s master of Middle Eastern cooking, Tom Sarafian, for a wintery Persian feast with matching wines. Across two nights, plus a barbecue lunch, Sarafian and co will dish up woodfired flatbread, barbecued duck leg and smoked rice with saffron-spiked butter, all paired with Ong’s wines.

Or perhaps five courses of deeply comforting food by Matilda 159 are more your speed – warm truffle gougères, Westholme wagyu bavette spruced up with horseradish, and hay-smoked potatoes with saltbush and smoked butter included, matched with Rob Dolan’s signature chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons.

Fans of Bar Liberty should beeline for No.7, where Liberty head chef Zackary Leon Furst will work in cahoots with No.7 chef Joel Bowers on a five-course long lunch. Furst’s fermenting, pickling and preserving obsession will work in tandem with Bowers’ fire-, smoke- and spice-wrangling skills, while drinks come courtesy of No.7’s cracking organic-leaning wine cellar and Liberty cocktail whiz Josh Begbie.

Still want more? Winemakers are going matchy-matchy, pairing their signature drops with food designed to perfectly complement them. Five of Boat O’Craigo’s museum cabernets will be paired with canapés; the sweetness of Sutherland Estate’s 20-year-aged muscat will be countered by a helping of crumbly Roquefort; and Domaine Chandon is getting retro, pairing its bubbly with bubbling pots of gooey fondue made with local cheese.

If gin’s your sip of choice, Four Pillars in Healesville is getting involved, too: it’s teaming up with neighbouring Payten & Jones winery for a cocktail class bringing together Four Pillars’ cult favourite Bloody Shiraz gin and Payten & Jones’ red wines. Make winter-friendly cocktails including Bloody Hot Negronis, Hot Gin Toddies and mulled wine while grazing on snacks made with gin.

Events aren’t just happening on weekends – amp up your getaway by making an extra-long weekend of it (there’s a selection of lodgings around the region that’ll be the cork on the top of your stay, from hotels to vineyard estates and cottages). And if you want to avoid being appointed designated driver, there’s a range of transfers and hop-on hop-off services to help you wriggle out of your duties.

Fireside Yarra Valley, 8-23 July 2023,