Way down south in the state of Victoria, Mornington Peninsula wineries are bottling some incredible vintages. But visiting these cellar doors gives you much more of an experience than just a wine-tasting. Here are a few Mornington Peninsula wineries you must visit.
Less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula feels like you’re in a different country. It’s a popular holiday destination for many Aussies, and understandably so.
Dramatic coastlines, cosy villages and picturesque landscapes are about here. There’s a great mix of safe bayside and rolling surf beaches, the pace of life is relaxed and most importantly, the produce in the Mornington is abundant and renowned.
And although they’ve been here for generations, the wineries of the area are only just now being discovered. And their wines are superb.
With Port Phillip Bay on one side of the peninsula and the turbulent Bass Straight on the other, influences from the ocean are important to this lesser-known wine region.
But apart from turning out iconic Pinot Noirs and some delicious Chardonnays, the wineries themselves are worth experiencing.
Here are 5 Mornington wineries we visited that we really enjoyed, though there hundreds more offering unique experiences.
6 Mornington wineries
There seems to be a theme running through all the wineries of this region. They love their big art and most have sculpture gardens that encourage a stroll. So be ready for a walk before or after your wine tasting.
An impressive, stately edifice in Red Hill, Port Phillip Estate is a broad, sweeping, sleek building that sits overlooking the rolling hills of the peninsula and its beautifully tended rows of vines.
Through huge glass doors, the space opens out onto an expansive run-around tasting bar that you think would never fill up. This is not true at all and staff all recommended getting here early to avoid the crowds.
The tasting is a quick run-through of four wines, but if you can score a seat out on the deck, you’re better off buying a bottle and relaxing with the view. Make sure you check out the magnificent feature staircase too.
Perhaps the most dramatic, impressive cellar door you’ll ever visit, Point Leo Estate in Merricks overlooks the entrance to Port Phillip Bay from its elevated position. Its views are stunning, its Pinots are on point and its tasting is a fun experience.
But that’s not why you come here.
Rumour has it that Pt Leo Estate has spent in the realm of $50 million on its cellar door and grounds. And you can really see where the money went.
Curving concrete walls – 8m high – create an open tunnel feel to the entrance. The roof, which gradually sweeps rounds and slopes down to ground level, has grape vines growing on it, so you’re kind of underground at this cellar door.
Through the huge glass doors, your eye is immediately caught by the sculpture garden beyond. People are encouraged to wander along the path between artworks and take the one-hour walk, exploring the Mornington’s most iconic gallery.
Tucked away in Red Hill, Montalto has a few real treats in store. Not only does this winery have an incredible sculpture park on its grounds, it runs an annual competition where artists are in the running to take home a $40,000 acquisitive prize.
As for its wine, Montalto specialises in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And if you do nothing else while you’re in the Mornington, try the Pennon Hill Pinot Noir.
We were lucky enough to chat with Montalto’s GM Anthony Jones, who took us through a tasting of this wine, which only added to this exquisite wine.
Perhaps the most modest cellar door you’ll find on the Mornington Peninsula, especially when you compare it to the likes of Pt Leo and Point Phillip, Stonier Wines is a charming little winery.
But in spite of its humble frontage, Stonier has an important history going back over 40 years. In fact, this estate was one of the first to introduce wine making to the region.
The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay here are excellent, and the blanc de blanc sparkling – a style hard to come by in the Mornington – is exemplary.
Just across the road from Stonier and more of a cafe-deli, Merricks General Wine Store also offers an excellent wine tasting. With a focus on supporting small local producers, the store stocks all kinds of delicious morsels. Come here for everything from spicy cured sausage to blocks of sweet nougat.
And of course an interesting selection of wine.
We stopped here for lunch, but because there was a bit of a wait for the backed-up kitchen, we decided to have our wine tasting.
Half way through the whites, our food came – a delicious spread of ceviche, mussels, steak tartare and caprese salad. After lunch, we continued our tasting, which offers people a chance to taste wines from places too small to have a cellar door of their own.
Again the Pinot Noirs here were excellent, but we walked away with a bottle of aged Chardonnay from Portsea Estate at the very end of the Mornington Peninsula.
This winery is more of a wedding venue than an actual cellar door you can visit. But if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a wedding – or even better to have your own wedding here, you’re in for a treat.
We were guests here of our friends Emma and Charles’ wedding and the grounds of this cellar door and extraordinary.
It feels like you’re tucked away in a little woodland wonderland. The reception restaurant is a magnificent barn and the beautiful heart-shaped lake out by the lawn sets the scene for a very memorable day.
Through the giant gum trees surrounding the property, giant sculptures peer from between the trunks. Though the art on these grounds seems much more part of the scenery rather than a major feature.
A beautiful winery in a stunning setting.
We came to the Mornington Peninsula as part of an Empty Esky roadtrip we were doing to support areas of regional Australia affected by bushfires.