2018 Truffle Season finished in mid September
Next Truffle Season, July 2019

Welcome to Yarra Valley Truffles

We are currently Victoria's biggest producer of black truffle, as well as producers of Victoria's biggest Perigord Black Winter Truffle 1.5kg, in August 2016 (also a world record)

Located one hour from Melbourne, in volcanic red soil amongst the undulating hills of Victoria's Yarra Valley, and surrounded by vineyards, the cool climate is similar to the Perigord region of France from where the Black Winter Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) originates. Cold winters, warm summers and high rainfall of the Yarra Valley region are beneficial to both truffle and wine production. The truffiére was planted in 2006 and commenced initial production in 2011 at 5 years of age.

Since then, harvest volume has continued to increase annually, reaching commercial (full time workload) quantities in 2015, at 9 years of age. With observation and research into all aspects of truffle growing, the productive areas/trees of our truffiére are continuing to expand each year.

Our goal is to produce and market the highest quality truffles possible. Ripening truffle is first located, then further monitored until reaching peak quality. Although labour intensive, this approach ensures the truffles are harvested at peak aroma and flavour. The best description of this process is that it's equivalent to frequently monitoring, then harvesting a vine ripened tomato. With 3-5 weeks from the initial first aroma's, the often used method of simply harvesting once there's a smell or a dog reaction does not result in good truffle. Waiting for peak ripeness does result in significant losses, as everything wants to eat it, animals, insects and even other fungi. Hopefully other growers will eventually choose to do this for best quality, rather than produce max volume at a low price point, which frankly does not produce truffle worth eating.

Our truffiére is maintained organically, promoting a fully natural, healthy soil & environment. No fertilisers or herbicides are used.

In July/August/September: Click here for further harvest observations and truffle availability

2018 Season

SEPTEMBER: Early September continued with cold soil temperatures finishing some good quality truffles at depth, and final harvest was on the 20th.

AUGUST: Early August had a couple of frosts, but damage from July continued for the first half of the month. Second half of August had proper winter weather at last and production improved substantially.

JULY: July trended far warmer than June, there were no frosts and this resulted in many truffles spoiling before being fully ripe. Enough good truffle remained for orders, but losses were substantial, and production unpredictable.

JUNE: Interesting data from the weather bureau, the past 12 months July to June were the second warmest on record, 1.5C above average. Only behind 2015-2016 which saw Winter fail to start until July and Spring came early, this wiped truffle season from both ends.
Thankfully, amidst that, it has also been the coldest June in Melbourne for over ten years. This is seen in a slightly slow start to this season, which is about to take off. So >5weeks of cold weather appers to be required preseason. Hopefully there'll be no repeat of 2016's warm spells.

MAY: Early season has progressed similar to 2017, with a green Summer lasting until Mid January. Rainfall from 14Jan2018 was nearly non-existent until May, so irrigation was of great importance.

Truffle sign has been great. There is a significant reduction in surface truffles due to various successful experiments, and pre-season losses have dropped to <3% vs 10% in 2017. (40% in earlier years). Continued research on the few remaining truffle rot issues has progressed significantly {the mysteries are now mostly resolved as valuable trade secrets, -rather invaluable, as noone would be prepared to pay for the research}

Cold weather in May, intensified by the start of June which repeatedly saw nights in the 2-5Celsius range, colder by far than many other truffle growing areas in Australia. (WA suffered warm weather a week into June)
This resulted in a slightly earlier onset of ripe truffle post winter solstice, but still not as early as other regions/growers commence selling early truffles, so there's other factors involved than night time minimum temperatures.
The difference appears to be primarily individual quality standards, but also possibly ripening truffle flushes from earlier irrigation, another experiment for next season.

2017 Season

Truffle season commenced after winter solstice, with decent quality from the 25th of June. July production was excellent, followed by a spell of warm weather at the start of August which destroyed a large percentage of the vulnerable ripening truffles. Production recovered somewhat in second half of August, and truffle continued to be found well into September.
Unfortunately the markets we had access to were saturated with cheap truffle from a few Western Australia producers, wiping out out both local & export sales with undercutting and dumping tactics. This meant it became apparent that it wasn't worth expending the effort to harvest all ripe truffle in August, so existing orders were satisfied, and the remainder lifted for spore, or left to rot in soil and spread by soil cultivation. The overall impact was as bad as the weather damage in 2016.

A cool summer with reasonably frequent rainfall saw a greener than normal season. This meant the trees were more active and supplied a greater amount of carbohydrates for truffle size increase throughout Feb-April(May).
Near surface signs first commenced a little earlier in mid-January, and by April it was apparent overall harvest volume had again increased, (assuming it would survive to maturity). Trees in previously non-active areas of the orchard responded to a change in management, taking overall truffle bearing trees to 33% of the truffle orchard.

2016 Season

The 2016 season was severely delayed and affected by a late winter and high median temperatures compared with previous 5 seasons. Full volume harvesting was did not occur until late July, yet still concluded in early September.
Overall truffle production was close to triple 2015 volume, but this increase was fully negated by the season's abnormal weather.

A very dry December/January was followed by high rainful in Autumn. Developed management techniques from past seasons dealt with this, and 90% of the crop was intact at start of season (compared with past average of 40% to 60% intact). However the warm winter ultimately caused further 75% losses with final ripe harvest only equaling the 2015 volume.
The number of producing trees increased to 29% of the orchard, with clear signs of further improvement in future.

2015 Season

The 2015 truffle season ran throughout July & August, with a few final truffles for Father's Day in September. Cold May/June weather had surprisingly little effect on season start, with properly ripe truffles again commencing in early July. Weekly production continued to increase through July, and tapered off sharply after a mid-August warm spell.

A cool start to summer with sufficient rain kicked off the growth cycle well. February/March saw surface truffles start appearing and there was a 50% increase in the number of productive trees to 24.9%. There was also a nice harvest of hazelnuts.

Previous Seasons 2011-14

Initial production commenced in 2011 at Year 5 with a couple of kilograms of saleable truffle, outweighed by rot/insect/surface damaged. The next few years saw an improvement in harvest amounts, with saleable yield approximately doubled each year for 2012/13/14/15. Different rot/damage issues with insects and weather presented each season, leading to development of cultivation techniques. There was continued improvement of both canine and human skills with both locating truffle & identifying optimal ripeness.