Why visit this region: The Mornington Peninsula grows some amazing cool climate wines and, although their offerings appear on paper to be very similar to the Yarra Valley wineries, their proximity to the ocean and quite different soils make for a very different experience. There are a lot of wineries quite close together, so you can pack a lot into a day.
Getting there: From Melbourne the best option is the Eastern Freeway, Eastlink to Frankston and then keep following the road through Arthur’s Seat and down to the peninsula. It is not a short drive, but in good weather the scenery improves the closer you get to your destination. For those with a bit more cash to splash, a number of tourism operators offer helicopter flights or even sea-plane rides which reduces the time considerably!
The big players: Yabby Lake vineyard supplies wines to Village Cinemas for their Gold Class experience – a relatively large winery with pleasant views and multiple tasting bars.
Ten Minutes By Tractor is another rather large winery of the region that makes a number of different styles of Pinot Noir as part of its extensive menu. The restaurant here is also high-class but, like many, tends to fill up quickly on weekends.
Some dark horses: Foxey’s hangout offers visitors a “make your own wine” experience. At the time of writing, the tasting bar was not separate to the restaurant area which made quiet contemplation of the wine a bit difficult.
We particularly liked their dessert Pinot Gris as something a bit different in this area.
Another dark horse winery is Phaedrus Estate which has a substantially smaller range but two amazing Pinot Noir wines, one of which is our favorite Pinot Noir from the region.
Phaedrus also makes a range of cheaper wines under the Mister Wolf label. Of these, we found the Sauvignon Blanc to be particularly good value for money.
Overall, we found the Mornington Peninsula wine region to be a very popular tourist destination and given its relatively small size, it was rather crowded in many places. Wines tended to be more towards the expensive end of the scale compared to the Yarra Valley, but some value could still be found.
If you are pushed for time, visit a local independent supermarket in the area – they will have a decent selection from most of the wineries and you can do your own tasting at home at your own pace!