After Yarra Valley it was family time and headed out to the Mornington Peninsula. We woke early and Mr. M and I decided to hunt down St Ali’s coffee, the highly notable coffee place in South Melbourne, just blocks from our hotel.
Once we got the kids in the car, it was a quick drive out to the Peninsula. I drove and Mr. M navigated. We had decided that this day would be more kids, less wine tasting, but I couldn’t resist getting some of my indulgence in this stunning wine region.
Our first stop was Moorooduc Estates (prounounced “Murduck”) (thanks to Steven for the recommendation). Jeremy, one of the winemakers, greeted our car at 10:30am, however the tasting room wasn’t open. We wouldn’t have time to come by later, so the owner Kate came to meet us and said she would take us in. We left the kids in the air conditioned car, their choice, and went in to taste with Kate. (It really was a kids day in the end! I promise!). J We ended up spending an hour tasting with Kate. She is so greaet!!! Her father was a surgeon in Melbourne, but he loved the peninsula so he started the winery out here. Kate grew up working at the winery and has done a ton of wine education and has truly done most jobs in the winery. She has earned her place and it is certainly well deserved.
The first super cool thing about Kate was that she is a WSET teacher. Since I am taking the tasting portion of the exam in a few days, it was exciting to hear that. She explained the soils and how the Mornington Peninsula is a cool, maritime climate, impacted by the ocean breezes and weather on the cool coast. They are gaining a wonderful reputation for Semillon, Chardonnays that were outstanding and we especially enjoyed their complex Pinot Noirs. We tasted vineyards vs. vineyards, and vintages vs. vintages. I love when you can taste single vineyard same vintage wines up against the same from a different vineyard. It really gives you a sense of what the soil and different climates can do. Kate talked about how they try to let the wine do its own thing and make its own way, using natural fermentation methods and naturally occurring yeasts. Their wines are truly special. I had a really hard time choosing between their Chardonnay and their Pinot Noir, but ultimately chose the Pinot Noir (or Shiraz) as that was one the region is truly known for… plus a really adorable t-shirt to go home with me as well. The t-shirt, “Wild Yeast” is a hoot, but I went for the Moorooduc with a little duck on it instead. After inquiring about shipping, Kate suggested that she had found that it can take 6 months for the wine to recover after shipping to the US. She suggests letting the wine rest for 6 months before drinking it to experience the true taste. She shared her distributors’ information in the states. In the end, we met Kate and her parents’ four adorable dogs and really felt quite at home at Moorooduc. Thank you for an outstanding experience, Kate.
Next we headed decided to take the kids out to lunch. Steven had recommended St. Leo’s Cellar Door for its sweeping ocean views, and we arrived there to learn that they were fully booked up. My husband and children protested as only about half of the tables were full, but I did a quick $5 tasting while the kids reviewed the ocean views and sculpture garden. It’s too bad they didn’t have room for us that day. I asked the hostess for suggestions of where to try, and she neglected to mention Ten Acres by Truck, which I had on my list, was literally right down the street from St. Leo’s.
We left there and headed to Sunnyhill Strawberry Farm. The kids were delighted to have scones and strawberry jam and fresh cream for lunch along with strawberry milkshakes. The food there was decadent and special and we then picked luscious strawberries out in the back that were out of this world.
Strawberries in the forefront, Ten Acres vineyards on the hillside
Once we left, we realized that Ten Minutes by Tractor Winery lands literally surround the Strawberry Farm. I was disappointed, as they had been highly, highly recommended to me for lunch, and I hadn’t made a reservation there and then we ended up snacking at the strawberry farm. We were fortunate to be able to at least stop in to taste while our children sat out in the garden with another family of children. The tasting was lovely. Their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs were very good. I ended up buying two really cool tasting tubes of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs from a variety of their vineyards. They are in sets of 4 tasting tubes and will be delightful to taste head to head with friends when I get home. They are names Ten Minutes by Tractor as all of their vineyards are within a 10 minute tractor ride.
We next headed out to the Peninsula Hot Springs Spa. That was a highlight!!! They have something like 25 pools that are fed from hot springs and are extremely rejuvenating. There are spas, baths, hot tubs with jets, sauna, steam room, cool plunge baths, showers. It was wonderful! After 2 hours there, we headed out to Sorrento and Rye, along the ocean, for a delightful meal overlooking the ocean. I was driving so no wine for me, but I did notice the labels I was starting to see often in the stores and restaurants. They love their local wines and Moorooduc was one I started to see over and over.
We then headed home and drove the Great Ocean Road the next day. Outstanding, but this is a wine blog not a travel blog, so that guide will need to rest until another time. This evening we flew out to Sydney for our last few days in Australia.
Recommended wineries/ places we didn’t get to:
Mornington Peninsula Chocolates
Red Hill Cheese
Arthurs Seat Lookout
Pt Leo Estate