Mornington Peninsula is Victoria’s answer to the Margaret River. Both regions have an extraordinary number of restaurants, many of them winery affiliated, and an abundance of accommodation in all styles. Although the wineries are relatively small, Mornington Peninsula’s many different sites and mesoclimates produce an exotic array of wines – and is a short 70km from Victoria’s capital Melbourne.
In 1972 some aspiring vignerons independently recognised the potential of the Mornington Peninsula for producing high quality, cool climate varieties. These pioneers were quickly joined by others and the region now has 200 vineyards, 60 brands and around 50 cellar doors. Viticultural and winemaking experience and a highly developed professionalism have allowed vignerons to use their terroir to produce premium quality wines which are held in high regard.
Surrounded by Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay and at a latitude of around 38°, Mornington is classified as a cool climate region. This unique combination allows particular wine styles to flourish without many of the problems sometimes associated with a cool climate. The landscape is open, with gently undulating hills, rolling green pastures and tranquil vineyards. While the vineyard holdings are usually small, significant tracts of land are being given over to viticulture.
The maritime influence provides relatively high summer humidity, vine stress is low, sunshine hours are abundant, and rainfall is plentiful during winter and spring. The coincidence of late ripening and a prolonged gentle autumn result in fully ripe grapes with outstanding fruit flavours, high natural acidity and fine tannins.
The cool, green rolling hills and valleys of the Peninsula provide a perfect home for the region’s flagship variety, Pinot Noir: ranging from a haunting elegance and lingering intensity through to the more complex, structured and rich expression of the land. And Chardonnay, more than any variety, benefits from the extraordinary natural acidity that the cool Mornington Peninsula climate can produce and accentuates the restraint and tight structure for which the region is renowned.
Mornington Peninsula produces outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with excellent examples of pinot gris, pinot grigio and cold climate shiraz.
Acknowledgement: Wine Australia