Last weekend was an opportunity for Soph and I to get out of the city and visit another region of Victoria that we have, as yet, not had too much time to explore. So with a Saturday off from work, I booked us onto a Wine, Cheese and Cider tour of the Mornington Peninsular with the Café Bus. We had previously spent a short amount of time in Mornington during a visit back in September, however as I was driving last time, I was unable to indulge in the local alcoholic delights.
So, 3 things to take from our day tour of the Mornington Peninsular:
- The Wine is a bit average! Shock… (In the more commercial wineries we visited, anyway) – My recommendation to anyone visiting and wanting to taste some nice wine, head to a place called ‘Main Ridge Estate’, where we went on our first trip to Mornington a couple of months ago. It’s a bit more expensive, but family owned and generally much, much better!
- Cider in Australia sucks compared to good old English country cider. Ain’t no West-country scrumpy, that’s for sure!
- The cheese is pretty good.
So, the order of the day was wine, wine, cheese, cider and a bit more wine, oh and some chocolate thrown in there for good measure. You would think that on a winery tour we would’ve ended up pretty toasted, however due to the staggered timings of the winery visits, with (in my opinion) far too long between each alcoholic beverage, we seemed to sober up between each pit-stop. Oh well, can’t complain, I didn’t exactly pay for the tour and Soph got 50% Off (work perks in full force again), and we did get our fair share of tastings throughout the day.
From cider tasting led by a girl with possibly the world’s most irritating voice, strawberry wines, strawberry liqueurs and my body weight in free strawberries (Please try ONE! – The sign said. Ha) at ‘Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm’, to tasting some disappointingly average wines (opinion shared by quite a few members of our group) at ‘Green Olive at Red Hill’ – for an award winning farm, restaurant and vineyard, the food was tasty, but come on… buck your ideas up on the wine front.
It really wasn’t all that bad though. ‘T Gallant’ winery definitely took the crown for the day, with (for Australian wine standards – which I have found to be a little too big for their boots) a pretty fine selection of reds, whites, Moscato and some sort of sweet “Port style” red that I genuinely almost bought – Soph talked me out of it, then into it, then I talked myself out of it again. I should’ve bought it.
Mornington Peninsular itself is a beautiful spot, with wineries and boutique farm shops dotted throughout the rural landscape, coastal views back across Port Phillip to the high-rises of Melbourne CBD, and also out over the Bass Strait to the famous Little Penguin haunt of Phillip Island. What it may not necessarily pack in the wine department, it certainly makes up for elsewhere.
Cheese – Whoever that man or woman is who left milk so long it went off and curdled, and then thought it would be a good idea to find a way to eat it, take a bow! (I’m sure cheese production is probably a bit more complex than this, so apologies for my lack of real knowledge on this matter, haha!) For a real cheese lover, which I confess I most certainly am, I take great pleasure in sampling a range of different cheeses, deciding which I should spend my hard earned dollars on. ‘Main Ridge Dairy’ and its array of goats cheese didn’t disappoint – there is a lot you can do with goats cheese apparently. For more variety (branching away from solely just the goat), I would advise any visitor to the region to head to ‘Red Hill Cheese’ – again, this is somewhere we had visited on our previous trip to Mornington in September – to sample a wider range of cheese from all the usual suspects; Goat, Cow and Sheep.
Although the day was long, with a bit of an early start (for a Saturday) – pick up at 8am, and not returning home until 7pm; it was well worth the time to explore the amazing Mornington region.
One thing that I did find amusing… Melbourne is “famous” for, and very proud of, its historic bathing boxes. Bathing boxes? You may ask… don’t get excited, they are just Beach huts. At the end of the tour we visited said beach huts so we could take some photos. This did not impress me. It’s just a fucking beach hut; big whoop! We’ve got them on Torbay, in much larger numbers.
Anyway, waffle over. Here’s some more photos (not of beach huts).