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If you love wine and your visiting Melbourne then you have the opportunity to try some of the best wines in Australia. Melbourne has two renowned wine regions, the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. Both are home to some really great wineries and having visited many from both regions I have to say I prefer the Mornington Peninsula. Not solely because of the wine but also because of the scenery and the number of wineries in a relatively small area.
Famous for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and located just over an hours drive from Melbourne the Mornington Peninsula makes for a perfect day trip. Here are 5 great wineries to visit on the Mornington Peninsula.
Red Hill Estate
Red Hill Estate could well have the best view of any winery on the Mornington Peninsula and this is a big call because many wineries in this region come with an amazing view. Located in Red Hill the winery offers vast vistas of Western Port Phillip Bay and not to mention some really great wine. There is also a restaurant on the property that is a separate business. I haven’t tried the food but the restaurant makes the most of the view.
Having first tried their mass produced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dan Murphy’s and liked them we we’re interested to see what else the winery had to offer. Boasting a wide range of varieties including chardonnay, pinot noir, sparkling, pinot grigio and shiraz Red Hill Estate has something for every wine lover.
We tried them all and liked them all. The 2011 Cellar Door Chardonnay was particularly interesting with really strong notes of melon.
Also located in Red Hill Darling Park is a boutique, family owned winery with lots of character. Tucked in amongst the trees Darling Park is a perfect spot to enjoy some food with your wine. With a strong focus on local produce it is hard to go past their platters stuffed full of local cheese, meats and more. This is a top spot to stop for lunch when winery hopping and the wine is really good too.
Darling Park has a vast range of wines from viognier to shiraz, with strong chardonnay’s and pinot noir’s as well as some interesting blends. Try the PGV (pinot gris/viognier) for something a little different. I would definitely recommend a tasting here as the wines are great and the staff are friendly and accommodating.
You can also try some fine liqueurs from Bass and Flinders Distillery if you wish to venture beyond the grapes.
Sculptures at Montalto
Montalto is a popular winery in Red Hill that has great food options to go with a glass of wine. With a fine dining restaurant and a casual piazza cafe Montalto is another great winery to stop at for lunch and of course another tasting. On a nice warm day you might find it difficult to get a table at the piazza cafe but there are many tables spread over a large area so if you have to wait it won’t be for long.
Montalto also has a wide range of wines that are all produced from grapes primarily grown in the 50 acre vineyard. As with most of the wineries in the region Montalto’s range of chardonnays and pinot noirs are particularly good.
Montalto is located on a stunning property that has been dotted with sculptures that are equally stunning. Be sure to take a walk around the property to see them up close. The estate is also home to 1500 olive trees and other produce grown in various gardens across the property.
Merricks celler door
For a truly boutique and unique wine experience you can’t go past Merricks Estate. However, you’ll have to get lucky with the timing of your trip to the Mornington Peninsula because Merricks is only open on the first weekend of every month, every weekend in January and public holiday weekends.
Located down a dusty dirt road in the suburb of Merricks, you’ll eventually arrive at the rustic cellar door, a wooden shed steeped in the history of the area.
Well known for older vintaged wines, Merricks Estate has some of the most unique wines I have tried and I would recommend a visit to anyone with an interest in wine. The Estate Shiraz is well recognised as being an impressive drop and the other wines on offer are equally impressive.
Ten Minutes By Tractor, tractor
Ten Minutes By Tractor has some of the best wine on the Mornington Peninsula (in my opinion of course). Their whole range is great but for me the chardonnay’s are the pick of the bunch. If you’re going to do a tasting at any one of the wineries we’ve talked about I would start here.
The restaurant at Ten Minutes By Tractor is also highly regarded and has been ranked number 27 in Australia by the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide 2014. The prices reflect the quality of the food so if you’re on a budget it might not be right for you.
There are many more great wineries on the Mornington Peninsula to explore. For a full list visit morningtonpeninsulawineries.com.au.
Make sure you check out Melbourne's other famous wine region, the Yarra Valley. Here are our picks for the 5 best wineries in the Yarra Valley.