The Highest Quality Wineries on the Mornington Peninsula
Located on the southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the Mornington Peninsula is a spot of many attractions, beaches, and scenic sights. The calm waters of its ports, especially Port Phillip and Western Port, make it a prime location for water sports and relaxation on the shore– but its lush valleys and mild climate also make it ideal for vineyards.
Because of its idyllic environment, the Mornington Peninsula boasts many high-quality wineries which the area has become well-known for. The region has a deep history of wine-making, stretching back to the late 19th century. Altogether, the wineries, attractions, and beautiful sights make the Mornington Peninsula one of the prime locations for tourism in Australia, bringing some $1.2 billion to the country every year from tourism alone.
Welcome to Wine Country
Although Mornington Peninsula has a rich culture of winemaking today, it has gone through some hard times in the past century. One of the earliest mentions of the region’s winemaking comes from the Intercontinental Exhibition in London where the 1886 Dromana wine won an honorable mention. However, many of the wineries on the Mornington Peninsula fell into disrepair from the 1920s onwards due to increasing competition from South Australia and British imports.
Though, since the 1970s, the peninsula has experienced a significant wine-making boom, establishing itself not only as a tourist haven but also as a premier wine-making region of Australia and the world. It’s an impressive story that adds to the allure of the beautiful peninsula.
The most common types of wine produced on the peninsula are generally Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, since these are most suited for the cool maritime climate. Driving through the sheltered valleys where the vineyards are located is a treat in and of itself, and the plentiful choice of wineries to choose from will certainly leave you satisfied.
How to Get There
Mornington Peninsula is about an hour’s drive south-east of Melbourne. The fastest way would be to take the M1 and join the Eastlink toll way. Then, take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and then the Moorooduc Freeway to quickly reach the winemaking heartland.
Each of Mornington Peninsula’s villages has local buses that pass through it. On weekdays, the buses depart everyday 45 minutes from Frankston. Frankston can be reached by train from Melbourne in a quick 15-20 minutes. There are also ferry options if you want a different, more-scenic way to travel. They depart daily from Sorrento Pier and Queensclif Harbour.
There is also an international airport in Melbourne which makes transportation much easier if you’re arriving from another country.
Wineries in Mornington Peninsula
With so many wineries, it may be hard to pick which one to try out first. So, we’re going to make things a little easier for you. Here are some of our favorite wineries in Mornington Peninsula – along with all the perks and special treats that offer, since most often a bottle of wine is even better surrounded by beautiful scenery. So let’s take a look.
Old Apple Shed
One of the newer cellars in Mornington Peninsula, it looks unimposing from the outside. However, it’s a hidden gem – a down-to-earth place with the widest selection of wine and ciders in the area. All their wines are locally sourced. When driving to the Old Apple Shed, you’ll intentionally pass through their many vineyards which are gorgeous. The vibes are casual and the taste of their wines are always authentic and quality.
Crittenden Estate is a vineyard, winery, and wine center all in one located right in the epicenter of the peninsula. First established in 1982, its located along the northern slopes of Red Hill. For those on wine tours on the peninsula, the estate is a must-see. The estate is one of the few producers of wine in the area that embrace styles from both Italy and Spain, and they are best known for their award-winning Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
Yet another winery inspired by Italy, T’Gallant fashions itself as “pioneers” of Pinot Gris and Grigio wines. They have a wide variety of choices – from various sparkling wines to special wines meant to be paired with particular foods, the variety is what makes T’Gallant special. It is the so-called ‘Australian twist’ that gives it its unique flavor, despite taking influence from Italy.
Panton Vineyard is a family-owned and boutique vineyard in a picturesque location on the peninsula. Their cellar door showings during the spring are known for their premium wines. Some of the most popular bottles include the 2017 Rose made from Sangiovese and their 2016 Pinot Gris. The vineyard only operates seasonally in the Spring so plan ahead if you’re interested in visiting.
Rahona Valley Vineyard
Fancying themselves as passionate and committed to what they do best (which is make wine), they’re not bluffing. Rahona Valley Vineyard is the full wine-tasting experience. One can walk through their beautiful vineyards which are surrounded by lush, green forests. The cellar door experience also adds to the entire intoxicating effect, offering you the full package in an environment that has to be experienced to believed. All their vineyards are farmed in a sustainable way as well, which is evident in the amount of care that is put into them.
Quealy Cellar Door
Owing itself to decades of refinement, Quealy Cellar Door has cultivated a reputation for themselves as regional winemaking connoisseurs. Their own Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are what they are best known for, which are sourced from some of the oldest areas on the entire peninsula. They have inspired other wineries in the area, offering wine-tasting in their cellar and even a friendly koala named Kooky. The place is definitely unique, to say the least.
Mont Rouge Estate
A café and a winery also located on Red Hill, Mont Rouge Estate is inspired by a French-style architecture. The handmade wines are cultivated on the estate and exemplify the soil and cool climate of the peninsula. The subtle oak of their cellar is tasted in the wine which complements their season menu quite wonderfully.
The last one on our list, Polperro Winery is 25 acres of vineyards with its own staying area where guests can accommodate themselves. Boasting a hotel, the vineyard is a tourist attraction for being not only an exemplary wine-maker, but also a gracious host. Located at Red Hill, the vineyard stands out amongst its many wine-making competitors in this beautiful area.
These are just eight of some of the best wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. Many of them, as you’d expect, are located at Red Hill which remains a top location for vineyards due to its uniquely rich soil. However, other vineyards and wineries in the area have their own special attributes that set them apart, so you shouldn’t limit yourself to just Red Hill. To understand the full scope of this lovely peninsula, you have to not only taste the various quality wines – but be sure to go swimming, visit the many scenic walkways and attractions, and be sure to try more than one variation of local wine. With so many varieties to choose, you’re going to have to savor every taste.