Being a local I’m often asked by friends who are visiting the Mornington Peninsula, where should they go? Which wineries are worth their time? And it’s a difficult question as there are so many factors to consider. How much do they want to spend? Are they seeking a relaxed atmosphere or something a little more polished? What’s more important to them – the quality of the wine or the beauty of their surrounds?
Because here’s the truth – all of the Mornington Peninsula wineries have their pro’s and con’s. Some sport outlooks that greatly exceed their wine, others keep me coming back for their food alone and some are producing exceptional wines yet lack the atmosphere you find elsewhere. The reality is – there’s no right or wrong – it all depends on what you’re after and that doesn’t necessarily have to mean great wine just because you’re in a region that’s famous for such a thing.
There are days when I simply want to lay on the lawn and look out over Western Port Bay, occasions when I am taking a special someone for dinner and then there are the days I am with mates and I couldn’t care less what I am drinking – as long as the tucker and wine is affordable, atmosphere relaxed and staff friendly…
So, to anyone who has ever asked – here it is – a list of my favourite Mornington Peninsula wineries…
- Red Hill Estate, Red Hill
The views overlooking Westernport Bay are divine. Over the summer they scatter beanbags across the lawn and you can sit out there; order a glass, grab a cheese platter and take in the panoramic view.
Their cool-climate chardonnay goes down a treat whilst on site restaurant, Max’s, plates up a rather enjoyable meal…
- Montalto, Red Hill South
If this place had the views that Red Hill Estate does – I wouldn’t leave. The wines are on point, food exceptional and their grounds are scattered with impressive sculptures – so if you’re there, go for a wander.
- Élan Vineyard and Winery, Balnarring
In my opinion one of the regions best kept secrets. Élan is a family run vineyard making small quantities of premium estate grown wines.
With direct access to the winemaker you will leave with a greater understanding of what you’ve tried (and perhaps taken home with you).
Winemaker Selma Lowther has her finger firmly on the pulse; currently sitting ahead of the wine trend with her estate grown Gamay (known as Beaujolais in France) which is so delicious and versatile (for someone who likes their food).
They also produce an exceptional Blanc de Blanc…
- Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill South
Exceptional views, unbelievable Chardonnay! The once daggy variety is back on trend and for good reason – their single vineyard Faultline and Farrago are like nothing you’ve ever tried.
The establishment is up market and lacks the relaxed vibe many others possess but I believe it to be a wonderful venue for wedding’s and other significant events. I tend to just do tastings here (always leaving with a bottle of the above) although occasionally I take a glass out onto the deck and take-in the expansive views.
- Green Olive, Main Ridge
Relaxed atmosphere, unpretentious and child friendly – Green Olive is a small sustainable farm serving affordable, no fuss foods and wine. My friends and I come here – not for the wine – but a chat out in the sun, over a few shared plates of home made goods.
They also have a nifty little produce & gift shop on site!
- 10 Minutes By Tractor, Main Ridge
The perfect place to take that special someone for dinner! 10 Minutes by Tractor is very cute, the staff are always welcoming and their food and wine is to die for…
- T’Gallant, Main Ridge
I love the outdoor area here; long tables, bench seating – wines are really affordable by the glass and the place churns out delicious pizzas that are perfect to share among friends.
- Trofeo Estate, Dromana
Whispering Vines at Trofeo Estate is actually where I go for brunch (with a sneaky glass of something). Its so peaceful here, never over-run, and the surrounds are gorgeous. I have only just started frequenting this place of recent so stay tuned….