The Mornington Peninsula wine region has two great geographic assets. It has a benign maritime climate due to being surrounded on three sides by water.
Secondly, the proximity to Melbourne has allowed boutique wineries to thrive. The region includes many seaside towns, beaches and golf courses which have for a long time been the weekend retreat and summer playground of city folk needing a break from the rat race. There are picturesque rolling hills, spectacular coastal scenery, bay and ocean beaches, historic buildings and many fine country properties.
All this adds up to a discerning and affluent clientele who support boutique cellar doors and winery restaurants. The proximity to the city has also brought seachangers who have planted vineyards, and in some cases have graduated to become winemakers.
A short ferry ride from Sorrento across the entrance of Port Phillip Bay is the Bellarine Peninsula and the Geelong Wine Region. There are also vineyards on nearby French Island in Westernport Bay but they are not in the region as defined by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.
The Mornington Peninsula was developed for viticulture quite recently. Previously there were apple and cherry orchards, livestock and mixed farming.
There were intermittent attempts to grow wine in the region dating back to the Nineteenth Century, but continuous commercial viticulture dates back to the early 1970s. After a few frustrating years with Cabernet, which ripens poorly all but the most favoured sites in this region, Pinot noir and Chardonnay are now the most commonly used varieties.
The Mornington Peninsula Wine region is a good case study of why careful site selection and appropriate varies are needed in new wine regions. The diversification of varieties grown in this region owes much to the pioneering work by winemaker Kathleen Quealy in championing Pinot gris; and to Gary Crittenden who has long advanced the cause of Italian wine varieties, both on the Peninsula and in other Victorian regions.
There are now well over a hundred wineries on the Peninsula, and as you can see from the list below, the region has the greatest concentration of growers of Pinot gris in Australia. Over the past few years Tempranillo and Savagnin have become more popular in this region.
The climate is not as cool as some may imagine. There is Durif successfully grown on the Peninsula. See this article Cool Climate Durif – You Must be Kidding!
This wine region is a delight to visit. Many wineries have cafes and restaurants, while some have accommodation. The region has a myriad of other accommodation facilities ranging from full scale resorts to simple bed and breakfasts.
If you tire of tasting wine there are plenty of other activities including golf, fishing, boating, surfing, swimming, bushwalking, visiting some amazing open gardens, weekend markets or just lazing on the beach.
Vinodiversity's Hotel Booking Service can help you find somewhere to stay .