MORNINGTON PENINSULA TOP 10 SMALLER WINERIES
THE PENINSULAS BEST HIDDEN GEM WINERIES
These wineries are off the main roads, usually down unmade roads but when you arrive, you are instantly taken back by the views and warm hospitality of the owners. We love to support some of the smaller boutique wineries that have incredible views over their vines..
Here are our TOP 10 on the Mornington Peninsula
FENIAN WINERY RED HILL
STUNNING WINES AND STUNNING SETTING
Fenian Wines is located on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, producing fine wines in small volume.
We concentrate mainly on Estate grown Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, what the Mornington Peninsula grows best! Fenian Wines are produced to allow full expression of the character of the variety.
Fenian wines are made using grapes sourced from a small vineyard in Dunns Creek Rd., Red Hill. Eammon (Ed) Donnellys philosophy of winemaking is a belief that quality starts in the vineyard. Getting the ideal fruit and then ensuring the winemaking process is expressing the best out of that fruit.
“All our fruit is single vineyard and hand picked. The Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed and fermented in a mixture of new and old French oak barriques, using indigenous yeast. I try and just let nature do it’s thing from start to finish and not interfere too much.”
Many of our processes are based on handcraft rather than mechanisation, minimising the use of pumps, ensuring gentle processes and conserving as much character and flavour as possible.
“Our Pinot is crushed/destemmed into open fermenters. I tend to vary the percentage of the whole bunch in ferments, depending on the vintage and other factors.”
To date , our Pinot Noir is still pressed in a basket press by hand. Again maturation is a mix of new and old French oak for a year or so before going to bottle.
YAL YAL ESTATE MERRICKS
GREAT SETTING AND QUALITY WINES
Another very popular quality winery where you are best advised to book ahead
Established in 1997, the vineyard focuses on low yield, single estate Chardonnay, Rose, and Pinot Noir, reflecting the unique character of Yal Yal Estate’s terroir. In addition, Liz and Simon source excellent fruit from carefully selected Mornington Peninsula vineyards for the Pinot Gris.
The vineyard is tucked into the valley amongst the rolling hills of Merricks. A five-minute drive to the beach, the vineyard gently slopes down the hill and abuts 20 acres of the untrammeled bush – which is largely impenetrable and full of native animals and birdlife. The vineyard resounds with the sounds of kookaburra’s calling and koalas seeking their mates. An old wallaby can often be found at dusk hopping between the vines.
(Photography courtesy of Timothy Kaye
NAZAARAY WINERY FLINDERS
GREAT WINERY WITH A GREAT STORY
This Winery is the epitome of a "Hidden Gem With A Unique Story And Presentation".
Nazaaray Estate is owned by winemaker Paramdeep (or Param) Ghumman and his doctor wife Nirmal, who emigrated to Australia in 1981 from India .In 1991, while still living in Melbourne Param and Nirmal bought 50 acres of cattle farmland onVictoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It was on a hillside, exposed to the wind from all directions and overlooked the verdant landscape and wildlife haven of Greens Bush which is part of the State Peninsula forest reserve.
"The land exceeded our budget and our wildest expectations. We had no idea what we would do with it," says Param. They looked at crops such as olives, fruit trees and specialty produce such as pomegranate, but Paramdeep kept coming back to the dream of creating his own vineyard. The Mornington Peninsula is a region becoming known throughout the world for the cool maritime climate wines of great elegance, finesse, and intensity of flavour.
Nazaaray Estate is the southernmost vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula with sweeping views, wildlife and superb sunsets. Its location and largely North South orientation encourage a long, slow ripening season which produces fruit of outstanding quality and high natural acidity.
In 1996, Param planted 10 rows of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris (he was one of the pioneers of this variety in Australia), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, tried different trellising methods and vine spacing, and buried himself in research about cool climate varieties.
Nowadays just six acres are planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, and approximately 900+ cases of wine are produced each year.
Param opts not to irrigate the rich red basalt clay soil once the vines reached three or four years of age, wanting to force the roots deep into the ground in search of water and a true expression of the terroir. “That’s what extracts the real flavours from the minerals in the soil and the volcanic deposits that lie under it,” he says. “Our roots go down about three or four metres, but in Burgundy, some of the roots go down 100 metres.”
Pinot Noir is one of the most temperamental of grape varieties and it is Param’s prime focus. Multiple clones have been planted. Due to the vineyard’s cooler location at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula and its long, slow ripening season The natural acidity of the grapes is usually high at harvest.
Make sure you keep an eye out for when these guys throw an Indian Picnic Soiree- and you will find out why the Peninsula locals flock to this Winery.
The Cellar Door is open Saturday and Sunday- and Mondays by appointment.
From 26th Dec – 16th Jan (inclusive) the cellar door will be open everyday with food also available.
JIMMYRUM DISTILLERY AND COCKTAIL BAR IN DROMANA
TRENDY AND FLASH. WHAT A SETUP
Not really a Winery but a great Point Of Difference on the Peninsula. Fantastic Setting.
JimmyRum is a craft rum distillery with an audacious goal, to change the way Australians think about rum. Uncomplicated, unpretentious, and unruly, they've created JimmyRum's that are distinctive and downright delicious.
Visit the working distillery in Dromana where you can experience a guided tasting and enjoy a signature cocktail with a bite to eat in the outdoor rum garden.
With over 30+ cocktails to choose from, seasonal menu featuring local peninsula producers and award-winning spirits to taste and take home, a day at JimmyRum is one of Mornington Peninsula’s greatest finds.
Advance bookings encouraged, as they tend to hit capacity for popular weekend sessions, including their famous Sunday sessions with local musicians.
Find out more and book a table at jimmyrum.com.au
PRANCING HORSE RED HILL
GREAT PLACE TO LEARN THE WINE STORY
You will probably need to pre book a visit to this small Gem, such is its popularity. But you will not be disappointed.
THEIR STORY: We believe that terroir is implicit in the consistent style differences between ours and adjacent vineyards, the differences in aroma, flavour and most importantly, the structure of our wines. The horse is the inspiration behind our venture into the wine industry highlighting our strong connection and admiration for the animal and its long association with biodynamic viticulture. The Prancing Horse also embraces the qualities we seek to capture in our wines where a gentle approach in the vineyard and winery has led to wines of elegance, complexity, excitement, and power. In applying organic and biodynamic practices we seek to maximise the flavour potential and fruit balance in our vineyards.
MONT ROUGE ESTATE RED HILL
PICTURESQUE AND PERFECT VIEW AND SETTING
Mont Rouge Estate is set in picturesque Red Hill surrounded by acres of stunning vineyards and a French-inspired cellar door. The exclusive handmade estate-grown wines showcase the uniqueness of the Mornington Peninsula region, a cooler climate with rich soils. The moderate use of French barriques provides a subtle oak throughout the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The estate also offers a seasonal menu which complements the wine produced from the vineyard.
Open Weekends, Public Holidays - 11:00am-5:00pm with extended trading during January
Sophisticated vineyard wines of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. Traditional and technical, the wines are matured for 12 to 14 months before being hand bottled by the highly regarded winemaker Michael Kyberd. The old-style production method creates a special blend in which the locals and visitors appreciate all year round. A relaxing and enjoyable place to visit, the estate has a warm friendly environment to which visitors are always welcome.
AND FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE - WINE TASTING, WINE SALES AND GOURMET BBQ LUNCH $28PP WHICH INCLUDES WINE TASTING & A GLASS OF WINE. BEST TO BOOK VIA THEIR WEBSITE
BEAUTIFUL QUIET SETTING OUT THE BACK OF MERRICKS
A paradigm shift for Ruth and George Mihaly saw us surrender our established careers in food for Ruth and medical research for George to viticulture and winemaking respectively.
We have always been passionate about food and wine and our obsessive pursuit of quality and commitment to ecologically responsible practices led us to establish our ideal and environmentally sustainable vineyard/home site on the Mornington Peninsula.
The overriding focus is on achieving balanced healthy vines producing carefully selected, exceptional & low yielding fruit.
We therefore have only estate grown wines - showing elegance and intensity – but always a purity of varietal expression for each wine - Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir & Shiraz….. The journey continues….
AND IF YOU ARE OF A MIND TO BRING A RUG AND YOUR OWN FOOD THEN CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS.
Cellar Door open weekends only unless arranged directly with the Owners
RAHONA VALLEY RED HILL
A FAVOURITE AMONGST LOCALS AND THOSE IN THE KNOW
We don't aim to be everywhere. We don't aim to make everything. But we do aim to be seriously good.
We are passionate about what we do. From the care taken in growing the grapes, to sustainable farming practices and taking time to make the let wine develop in the bottle, through to creating a cellar door experience that allows us to share our love of wine with other people, we do things differently because it really does make a difference.
Rahona Valley is among one of the handful of boutique, small producers scattered throughout the Red Hill region. The vineyard is the most densely planted, in term of vines per acre, on the Peninsula. This helps control the vigour of vines as they have to compete for nutrients, resulting in high quality fruit. But producing the best wine requires care and attention to detail. Toby and Dianne purchased Rahona Valley in July 2014, and moved from an inner city suburb of Melbourne to the welcoming community of Red Hill. Their philosophy for Rahona Valley is to produce the highest quality wine through best practice vineyard management and sustainable farming principles including:
'Natural lawn mowers' and weed control in the form of miniature sheep.
Cessation of use of herbicides and pesticides
Mulching and composting of canes and other green waste to return vital nutrients to soil
Regular trimming and de-suckering of vines
Intensive canopy management including leaf plucking to promote ripening
Shoulder removal and bunch thinning to produce the highest quality fruit
Mulching and composting of canes and other green waste to return vital nutrients to soil
Water harvesting and retention
Improving the natural environment around the property through removal of invasive weeds and non-indigenous native plants.
Together these practices ensure the sustainability of the vineyard and the natural environment that surrounds.
OCEAN EIGHT WINERY SHOREHAM
NOT SO MUCH HIDDEN BUT A MUST SEE
The winery is located at 271 Tucks Road in Shoreham on the Mornington Peninsula. All grapes picked for this small production come from the Aylward's 17 Hectares of vines.
The winery is managed by Michael & Hollie Aylward whose passion originated over a decade ago with a part-time job at the family’s previous winery Kooyong. Ocean Eight has evolved into the couple’s full-time obsession.
Whilst the first crops ripened on the vine, to further cultivate their viticultural experience, the Aylward’s embarked on several tours of the renowned vineyards and cellars of the Burgundy region in France. These trips played an important factor in the style of wines now produced at Ocean Eight.
This passion-driven endeavour to bring the highest quality wine to the Mornington Peninsula saw Michael win the sought-after Australian “Young Gun of Wine” award in 2011.
Ocean Eight teams up with Melbourne legend chef Jerry Mai, offering Vietnamese food and perfectly paired wines, in an outdoor BBQ picnic setting.
The residency will feature a changing weekly menu of delicious dishes created by Jerry, who in partnership with winemaker Mike Aylward has developed a menu to perfectly complement Ocean Eight’s stable of wines.
Head down to the Ocean Eight cellar door from 7th November for the first ever Bia Hoi x Ocean Eight residency.
Friday 11am-5pm (BBQ closes at 4pm)
Saturday 11am-5pm (BBQ closes at 4pm)
Sunday 11am-3pm (BBQ closes at 2pm)
PENINSULA PIONEER ATTRACTING WORLD WIDE RECOGNITION
From its humble beginnings as a hobby farm, Stonier’s story begins with Brian Stonier (above), who was one of the first vignerons in the Mornington Peninsula. He planted Chardonnay in 1978, while his kids were surfing at the local beach. This viticultural hobby grew to become a great love for Brian, and in honour of his other great love, Champagne, he planted Pinot Noir in 1982.
Stonier and the Mornington Peninsula have subsequently built their world-renowned reputation on these two varieties, as the region’s cool maritime climate makes for the perfect canvas to bring these varieties to life.
After the first planting of Chardonnay in 1978, followed by Pinot Noir in 1982, Stonier released its very first Pinot Noir stamped with the 1986 vintage. In 1991, Stonier’s new winery and cellar door were completed, designed by renowned Melbourne architect Daryl Jackson. The building was officially opened by then Governor of Victoria, Dr Davis McCaughey.
In 2000, Stonier punctuated the beginning of its profound support of the Pinot Noir variety by hosting the inaugural Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting (SIPNOT). It was the first significant Australian event involving trade and media looking at Pinot Noir from an international perspective. Len Evans, Brian Croser and James Halliday became long-term panel members.
While Stonier encouraged Australian wine lovers to look beyond Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the world began to take notice of Stonier with Decanter’s accolade given to Stonier's 1997 Reserve Pinot Noir as Best New World Red Wine of the Year. This award was followed by the 2001 International Wine Challenge in London where Stonier won the Trophy for Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine of Show for its 1999 Stonier Reserve Chardonnay. Stonier’s focus on Single Vineyard Wines began to gain momentum at the turn of the new decade with the release of its 2000 KBS Vineyard Chardonnay.
Since then, Stonier has enjoyed taking SIPNOT all over the world every year, travelling to Sydney, London and Melbourne. This annual event has become a firm favourite on the wine calendar, with industry luminaries attending every year. Stonier's dedication to crafting premium Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wine has never been stronger. The wines distincly reflect the vineyards from which they come, expressing true varietal characteristics and Mornington Peninsula terroir.