Unwinding and indulging is an easy feat on the Mornington Peninsula, where endless winery experiences are ripe for the picking.
From passionate pinot noir lovers to chardonnay connoisseurs and everyone in between, the Mornington Peninsula covers all bases for every type of wine lover. Home to over 200 vineyards responsible for producing exceptional cool-climate and coastal wines, more than 50 cellar doors, a vibrant dining scene, soul-stirring coastal scenery, bubbling hot springs and opulent accommodation, it’s the true definition of an adults’ playground, all within an easy hour’s drive from Melbourne.
Not sure where to start? Here’s our pick of the winery experiences you simply cannot miss.
Indulge with Montalto’s ‘Estate-to-Plate’ experience
If you only have time for one stop, look no further than Montalto’s ‘Estate-to-Plate’ experience, where a half-day of indulgence and epicurean marvels await. Start your adventure with a guided walk through the sprawling kitchen gardens, learning about the winery’s estate-to-plate philosophy and sustainable harvesting practices. Let the bite-sized pieces of knowledge sink in as you sample grapes from the vines, pluck fresh herbs straight from the soil and admire the towering olive groves and teeming fruit orchards – all with a glass of sparkling wine in hand. Next, deepen your understanding of cool-climate and coastal wine varietals with a side-by-side tasting of single vineyard and estate wines, from a Montalto Estate riesling to a single vineyard Tuerong syrah.
Then comes the moment you’ve been waiting for – a multi-course lunch with matched wines at the Montalto Restaurant, helmed by Culinary Director Matt Wilkinson. Guided by the daily garden harvest, the menu is constantly changing, but the wine pairing remains perfectly matched, forming a delicious companion to each bite. Every experience will differ from the next as the rotating menu is inspired by the daily garden harvest, and matched wines from the estate are the perfect companion to each bite. One day might be a decadent squid ink risotto with cuttlefish, tempura eggplant with agrodolce or pork with faro and green beans. And the next day? Only the chef knows… Afterwards, stretch your legs with a stroll through the estate’s impressive sculpture trail…we wouldn’t blame you for never wanting this experience to end.
Treat yourself and someone special: Book a Montalto experience with Ultimate Winery Experiences.
Take a seat at Paringa Estate’s two chef-hatted restaurant
With two hats to its name, Paringa Estate’s winery restaurant is an essential stop on any gourmand’s tour of Mornington Peninsula. With floor-to-ceiling windows framing the undulating grape-laced hills perfectly and Toulouse geese waddling through the vines, it’s a postcard-perfect setting to enjoy a menu of locally sourced and seasonal produce.
Settle in for Australian scampi with kumquat vinaigrette, paired with 2019 Paringa Estate riesling, or saltgrass lamb loin accompanied by the 2018 Paringa Estate ‘The Paringa’ pinot noir. Should you time your visit right, you might even be able to try the wild mushrooms and sea herbs that the team forages from the local area.
Sample mouthwatering bites and perfectly paired wine at Red Hill Estate
There’s nothing better than a winery lunch with matched wines – but if you don’t have time for a multi-course degustation, Red Hill Estate’s Matched Food & Wine Experience is for you. Allow the expert team to take you on a tasting journey, with six iconic wines perfectly paired with six delectable bites from the on-site venue, Max’s Restaurant.
Each bite may include a seasonal rotation of local scallops, oysters or sweet bites paired with wines from Red Hill Estate, local vineyards and beyond, such as a bubbly prosecco, a perfectly balanced sauvignon blanc and a ruby-red shiraz.
Unleash your sweet side with a chocolate-fuelled
affair at Mont Rouge Estate
Once you’ve had your fill of pinot noir and chardonnay, why not switch things up and make time for a visit to Cocoa Rouge? Located at Mount Rogue Estate, the artisan chocolaterie combines local Peninsula produce with the finest French and Belgian chocolate. Stop by for a nibble on their hand-made chocolates and ice cream, then meander past rows upon rows of chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir and shiraz grapes.
Be amazed by Pt. Leo Estate’s incredible sculpture park
Make your way to the Western Port side of Mornington Peninsula to discover over 60 large-scale installations peppered across over 330 acres of immaculate grounds at Pt. Leo Estate. Wander along the 1.9km short walk or 3km long walk to admire the pieces from local and international artists, all with a postcard-perfect backdrop of glimmering ocean.
Keep your phone close – you’ll want photos of works by KAWS, Tomnakatsu Matsuyama, Barry Flanagan, Julian Opie, Bruce Armstrong and Lenton Parr, among countless others. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, vibrant culinary wonders can be unearthed at Laura or Pt. Leo Restaurant.
Watch the sun set at Main Ridge Estate
Before you make the journey back to Melbourne or check into your accommodation nearby, make time for one last stop at Main Ridge Estate – one of the oldest, coolest and highest altitude vineyards on the Peninsula. From 3pm, the deck of The Larder is where you want to be – the cosy, yet inviting spot is the perfect antidote to the larger, more extravagant corners of the Peninsula.
Pull up a chair and enjoy the winery’s offering, accompanied by a selection of artisan cheeses or a tapas board with Main Ridge marinated olives, stracciatella, seared baby chorizo, piquillo peppers and Olasagasti Cantabrian anchovies.
Planning a trip? Discover our curated collection of Victoria escapes.