If you're visiting the region for a day-trip, or maybe for the night, these four luxury producers are a must-visit.
Crittenden Estate was one of the first family-owned and operated wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. It was established in 1982 with an ethos of creating quality cool-climate wines that embody the region and the family's commitment to minimal input viticulture. This year Crittenden celebrates 40 years since planting the family vineyard, which is located at the foot of the northern slopes of Red Hill. Second generation winemaker Rollo Crittenden says now more than ever Crittenden wines showcase "a true sense of place." This is especially evident in their pinot noirs, which are elegant and a true expression of the region.
The recently renovated Crittenden Wine Centre is an innovative way to experience wine tasting guided by knowledgeable staff who invite guests to explore a wide range of wines that are crafted on site, while overlooking the property's incredible lake. If you're looking to turn your day trip into a weekender, book a vineyard stay at the Lakeside Villas – each is self-contained and situated close to all the Mornington Peninsula has to offer.
Rollo's wine of right now is the Crittenden Pinot Gris, a style that has been honed and perfected over the last 15 years – a clean and fragrant, textured and complex wine.
Find out more | 25 Harrisons Rd, Dromana | (03) 5987 3800
A hidden gem on the Mornington Peninsula – Mike and Hollie Aylward launched Ocean Eight in 2006. Mike fell in love with winemaking at his family’s previous Peninsula winery, Kooyong. The cellar door is surrounded by stunning garden setting and vineyard views, with an intimate tasting room where guests can enjoy a glass or two.
Mike says the key to Ocean Eight’s wines is letting the region shine through. The maritime climate provides outstanding conditions for growing cool-climate wines – specifically pinot gris, chardonnay and pinot noir. Passion radiates when he talks about the region, especially when talking about growing pinot noir: “There aren’t many places in the world where you can grow pinot noir, so we are very lucky. I love making wines on the Mornington Peninsula – they’re beautiful, elegant styles, which are the wines I love to drink.”
Mike's go-to wine is the Ocean Eight Pinot Gris, which matches beautifully with Australia’s love of Asian cuisine. He says the pinot gris can handle ginger, coriander and chilli, where other varieties can struggle against the spices. When in the region, he also recommends Many Little, a bar around the corner, which serves Sri Lankan cuisine alongside an incredible wine list.
Find out more | 271 Tucks Rd, Shoreham | (03) 5989 6471
Down the bitumen road in the heart of Red Hill is Eldridge Estate. Combining its cool-climate, some of the oldest vines in the region and excellent soil, winemaker David Lloyd says the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect place to grow chardonnay and pinot noir. On the tasting deck at Eldridge you can enjoy wines by the glass, with a selection of olives and cheese, while absorbing the panoramic views of the valley where the vines are at the forefront. David, who has been the winemaker for 27 years, says "I love the ambiance of a quiet place with stunning views that provide an ever-changing palette of colour as the sun moves across the valley during the day." He describes Eldridge as a small winery with a big heart and says his goal is always to produce hand-crafted wines that remain true to the grape variety and Eldridge's unique site.
A champion of chardonnay and pinot noir, Eldridge is also a gamay producer, which David says is rare on the Peninsula. Noted to be some of the best gamay in the country, the style is deep with flavour, and graceful in texture – a must-try when visiting.
Find out more | 120 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill | 0414 758 960
Celebrating 20 years in 2022, Montalto invites connection, with each other and with the surrounding environment. There really is something for everyone: a welcoming cellar door, Australian architecture, and vast grounds that host an olive grove, acclaimed restaurant and piazza, fruit and nut orchard, rose garden, sculpture walk and wetlands, as well as Victoria's oldest, and largest, kitchen gardens. The grounds are also home to the Montalto Sculpture Prize, a natural backdrop for each piece of art, the award encourages artistic pursuit in a public forum. The Vineyard Sculpture Trail winds through the property – you might notice the works in open spaces, or carefully curated among the vines.
Winemaker Simon Black says Montalto's wines are drawn from five vineyards across the Peninsula, each a product of meticulous attention to detail and "balanced vine physiology" across the up-hill and down-hill vineyards, each embodying individual characteristics informed by the microclimates of the region. Simon says the result is wines that offer "a true reflection of the expression of each site under the expert hand of our award-winning winemaking team."
The team at Montalto is currently drinking the Pennon Hill Sparkling Rosé. Made from 100% pinot noir, it pairs perfectly with seafood such as prawns and shellfish, smoked salmon, caviar, fried calamari, oysters, and brie-style cheese.
Find out more | 33 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South | (03) 5989 8412
Learn more about the Mornington Peninsula in our essential guide.
Here are some favourite local spots selected by our featured winemakers for your next trip to the Peninsula: Visiting the region with your furry friend? Try Tucks, Montalto's sister estate. Those seeking adventure should check out Arthurs Seat State Park mountain bike trails, Wombat is a local secret cafe, distiller Bass and Flinders for all things gin, Many Little for Sri Lankan cuisine, Cook Street Collective for contemporary art and you can even catch some fresh mussels down at Flinders pier and stop off at a couple of fresh produce suppliers – Mock and Torello Farm – on your way home.
*This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
Top image credit: Crittenden Estate