The scenic resort region of Mornington Peninsula is just over a one-hour drive south of Melbourne. It’s part of the Pinot Coast, from Melbourne down to Port Phillip Bay to a patchwork of bushland, pasture, hills, vineyards and National Parks. Its maritime southern ocean weather brings consistency to the area’s climate. The region is wealthy, rich in wineries, golf courses, restaurants and art galleries and best known for its cool-climate Pinot Noir.
Yabby Lake Vineyard is in a beautiful setting with a light and welcoming cellar door featuring high recycled timber beams and floor to ceiling glass windows that showcase the lush vineyard setting and outdoor deck.
The winery features the first Pinot Noir ever to win the Jimmy Watson trophy, the most prestigious and sought-after wine award in Australia. The vines were first planted in 1998 with a single vineyard Pinot Noir whose production made its debut release in 2002.
Yabby Lake buys only 500-liter (bigger barrels) French oak barrels from different makers in France that are valued at $3000/barrel and have a life span of 7-8 years. The cellar door offers an exceptional range of wines for tasting – from the rare Single Block Releases, to the popular Red Claw label and everything in between.
The restaurant, helmed by Chef Simon West, focuses on simple yet refined, seasonal food for lunch such as Aylesbury duck, trout rillettes, local whiting, confit and local cheeses. There’s a tasting bar at the end of the dining room made of recycled timbers and complemented by industrial-style steel fixtures, polished concrete floors and a central fireplace. They have an engaging collection of art both inside and outside the cellar door.
Montalto produces award-winning Mornington Peninsula wine with real character from six vineyard sites across the Peninsula. Montalto estate is a stunning setting offering beautiful food and fine wine. The food comes from the estate’s own gardens as well as locally sourced foods keeping the menu seasonal. The restaurant and cellar door overlooks the 50-acre property of lush vineyards, olive groves, orchard, kitchen gardens and a contemporary sculpture trail.
Montalto Restaurant serves chef’s hat rated (Australia’s version of a Michelin star) produce-driven food in an elegant setting with floor to ceiling windows taking advantage of the stunning outlook of vines, olive groves, sculpture, lakes and wetlands, with pasture, and a hint of the ocean as the backdrop.
Its adjoining Piazza Cafe offers casual and relaxed produce-driven food amongst the kitchen gardens or in the courtyard featuring floor to ceiling windows.
Stonier Wines was established in 1978 by Brian Stonier, and today is run by Winemaker, Mike Symons. The brand is located on the Mornington Peninsula in Merricks.
From the beginning, Stonier has embraced an unwavering commitment to the production of premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay nurtured by the peninsula’s cool climate. Stonier also buys the larger French barrels which create more delicate wines. Stonier wines have a cherry and raspberry scented pinot that is created from some of the Peninsula’s oldest vines. The wine stays in barrels up to 10 months and then in the bottle 6-9 months before releasing, so the vintage takes 18 months to reach the market. The Cellar Door is open every day from 11:00am to 5:00pm, with cheese platters available in addition to their wide range of wines for tasting.
Merricks General Wine Store is a sweet country store “inspired by the rustic charm of farm life.” It can be found in the town of Merricks between rolling hills and beautiful coastline where guests can enjoy and buy fine wine, food, art and produce at this much-loved charming general store.
Jackalope is a five-star luxury hotel in the area. Its contemporary comfortable and spacious suites offer sunset views over Willow Creek Vineyard. The rooms are called “Lairs” and come with an open floorplan, loft ceilings and an expansive terrace. The bathrooms have a chic deep-soak Japanese bath, double rain showers and double vanities creating a spa-like experience. The house is known for its unique artwork, such as a crystal and copper Christopher Boots lighting installation and black leather Autoban Nest Chairs in the rooms.
Doot Doot Doot is Jackalope’s fine dining restaurant that features a lighting fixture with 10,000 lamps, representing the number of bubbles in a Prosecco. They serve a five-course meal with an option to match wines with each course.
Rare Hare is their casual dining restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the vine-laced hills and Jackalope Hotel’s modern silhouette. A hand-crafted wood-fired oven is the centerpiece in the dining space, adding character to the mood and food.