The Australian state of Victoria is heaven for the wine lovers out there. With wine regions scattered all over the state, you could visit a different winery every day and not run out of choices for months. Living in Melbourne, we are lucky to have several wine regions just over an hour’s drive from the city centre. The closest one to us is the Mornington Peninsula. The Mornington Peninsula has a lot to offer, with wildlife spotting, gorgeous surf beaches, and stunning coastal walks. But one of the highlights of any trip to the peninsula is visiting its boutique vineyards. This scenic peninsula is renowned for its cool climate wines and is home to fifty cellar door wineries.
As you drive around the area, you will be bombarded with field after field full of grape vines, tempting you to stop and try a glass or two of vino. In the eleven years that we have lived in Melbourne, we’ve visited the peninsula numerous times to try out new wineries. But being regulars, we also have our favourites, the ones we love going back to.
Here are our five favourite Mornington Peninsula wineries. Give them a try the next time you’re planning a leisurely lunch or a day of wine tasting:
Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove
Montalto is one of the most popular places to visit on the peninsula, especially in summer. It has some top-notch Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I personally give their Pennon Hill Pinot Noir a five-star rating.
Not only is the wine good, but the estate has unsurpassed views out over rolling hills, and is home to a trail of twenty-six permanent sculptures that are dispersed throughout its grounds.
The outside Piazza is a great place for lunch. It serves delicious wood-fired pizzas and platters, including ingredients sourced from the garden next door. But get there early for lunch as it fills up really quickly.
With a glass of wine in hand, a delicious meal in your belly, as you gaze out over those rolling hills, you’ll quickly feel like you’re in Tuscany!
While you are there, try the Olive Tapenade; it’s to die for!
Location: 33 Shoreham Road, Red Hill South
Yabby Lake Vineyard
Yabby Lake’s cellar door and restaurant is newly renovated and offers both an indoor dining room and an outdoor dining terrace. Surrounded by a native garden, it has stunning views out over the vineyards and the nearby hills. They also have some unique large-scale sculptures and a few interesting pieces of art inside the restaurant.
The vineyard focuses on single vineyard wine, and visitors to the cellar door can taste single vineyard Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, along with my personal favourite, the Pink Claw Grenache Rose.
The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, and is great for families, with plenty of space for the kids to run around.
Location: 86-112 Tuerong Rd, Tuerong
Even though at weekends, Foxey’s rustic cellar door will no doubt be jam-packed with visitors, it is not a very commercial winery, but rather a place where you’ll want to hang out with friends for a long lazy lunch.
Nestled amongst gum trees, and with a deck that overlooks the vineyard, it certainly is a fantastic place to spend a few hours. The restaurant has an open kitchen, with a blackboard menu of tasty dishes. Prices are quite affordable, and the whole place has a very relaxed vibe. In summer, lunch on Foxey’s outdoor deck is the best!
Of course, the views over the vines are delightful, and their award-winning wines are truly delicious.
Location: 795 White Hill Road, Red Hill
We love Quealy because unlike many wineries on the peninsula it is quiet and relaxed; so you don’t have to fight your way through to the tasting table. You get an intimate service and even a short tour of their cellar, along with detailed information about all the wines you try.
Not only this, but Quealy is all about experimentation. They have a few surprising wine varieties that we had never tried before, such as the Friulano and Pobblebonk. Quealy only has a cellar door, so you can’t lunch there, but their interesting and tasty wine makes them nonetheless worth the detour. One final thing, their wine labels are really cool!
Location: 62 Bittern-Dromana Road, Balnarring
Tucks (previously TucksRidge)
Tucks is located right next door to Montalto (you can walk between the two) and is our all-time favourite winery. It’s our favourite because it’s where we were married, eight years ago. Back then, it was under the name Tucks Ridge. We chose to get married at Tucks Ridge mainly because it’s an ideal setting for a wedding. It has beautiful, green lawns that flow down the hill towards rows of vines, with lovely landscaped gardens surrounding a rustic weatherboard restaurant and cellar door.
The restaurant closed for a while but late in 2017, Montalto bought Tucks Ridge and the name changed to Tucks. The restaurant reopened with a new menu and everything is back in business.
Location: 37 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South
Merricks Creek is a popular winery with an awesome cellar door with both a rustic and a modern feel to it. The cellar door opens up to the vineyard with plenty of natural light streaming in. The best part is that with its lovely fireplaces, you can visit in any season.
Merricks Creek is another great winery to head to for a casual lunch. There you can share a few grazing dishes that are delightfully fresh and lovely when pared with their Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect place to go for a lazy afternoon.
Location: 44 Merricks Rd, Merricks
What are the best wineries for lunch on the Mornington Peninsula?
All of the above wineries (apart from Quealys) have great restaurants where you can stop and enjoy a nice long lunch after a morning of wine tasting. That’s also the reason why we like them so much; it’s not just about the wine!
However, there is another restaurant and winery I’d like to mention that has become extremely popular in the last couple of years.
The Rare Hare
The Rare Hare is home to Willow Creek Wines and is attached to the rather pricey boutique hotel Jackalope. It has some amazing views of the Willow Creek vineyard. But it’s not just about the views, the menu is modern and seasonal, featuring fresh and mainly local produce. It’s a shared plate kind of restaurant and although it can be noisy and very busy, it’s definitely worth the detour. Just make sure you book ahead to make sure you get a table.
So those are our favourite wineries on the Mornington Peninsula, but there are many, many more to choose from. If you’ve been wine tasting down the peninsula, comment below and let us know your own favourites wineries. We always love to hear about new places that we can try.
Where to stay on the Mornington Peninsula?
Why not make your wine tasting day a wine tasting weekend? A few wineries on the Mornington Peninsula offer accommodation, letting you make the weekend all about wine!
The Villas at Polperro are set on 25 acres of vineyards and offer an on-site, award-winning cellar door and bistro. All of their apartments have an open fireplace and patios with stunning vineyard views where you can relax with another fine glass of vino! Located in the heart of the Red Hill wine region, it’s within a 10-minute drive of many wineries. Find out their latest prices here.
Port Phillip Estate
Port Phillip Estate offers Vineyard Suites with stunning views over the estate. They offer different packages such as their Naughty Long Lunch package, which includes lunch at their onsite restaurant. If you prefer dinner, go for their Romantic Retreat package. Find out their latest prices here.
Lindenderry at Red Hill
The Lindenderry vineyard is set on 30 acres and offers 40 elegantly designed and spacious guest rooms. Lindenderry also caters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meals can be served to guests indoors in the colder months or outdoors on the terrace in summer. Find out their latest prices here.
Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate
Situated on the Crittenden Estate Vineyard, the Lakeside Villas offer cozy fireplaces, balconies with lake views and private bathrooms with spa baths. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of wine tasting. Find out their latest prices here.
Alternative Ways to Enjoy the Mornington Peninsula
Wine tasting on the Mornington Peninsula is so much fun that it can be tough being the designated driver! One way to avoid having to draw the short straw is to take a guided tour. That way everyone can enjoy their day out safely. For a tailored, private group tour of Mornington Peninsula wineries, check out Wine Compass.
Accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula
If you’d like to spend more than just the day on the Mornington Peninsula, there are plenty of good options available. Use the search box below to find your accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula: