Melbourne’s Wine Playground
A visit to the cellar door provides an in-depth tasting of wines…
Photos (this page): A view of the valley from Eldridge Estate cellar door; Opposite page (left-to-right): Craig Kegan serves Pier 10 wines; John Trueman at Myrtaceae serves wine; PTG 18 at Eldridge Estate
ornington Peninsula, Melbourne’s summertime playground, is also a thriving wine region on Australia’s East Coast. You can be on the beach in the morning, and twenty minutes later, with sand still stuck to your flip flops, be tasting wine in the afternoon.
Surrounded by ocean on three sides, the Mornington Peninsula is one of Australia’s few true maritime wine regions. Similar to Burgundy, France or Oregon’s Willamette Valley in climate, soils and wine produced in this cool region means that early ripening varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir do well here. Vineyards grow from the gentle, undulating countryside of the north through the rich fertile wooded uplands, tumbling down to the southern plains. Here 200 vineyards and close to 50 wineries produce some of the most desired, cool climate wines in the country. It was here in this green and still very much rural hinterland that the Mornington Peninsula wine renaissance started back in the 1970’s. Today almost 50 percent of the plantings are Pinot Noir, around 25 percent Chardonnay, and about 11 percent Pinot Gris, a grape recently introduced to this region. Here are five cellar doors (Australia’s term for tasting rooms) that showcase the brilliance of this region’s wine.