The Mornington Peninsula wine region is located south of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria in Australia. The cool maritime climate is influenced by Western Port Bay and Port Philip Bay on either side of the Peninsula and Bass Strait. The area is a quintessential cool maritime, late ripening region ideally suited to growing aromatic and complex Pinot Noir, but has had success with other varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo.
The region is known for its medium bodied, dry wines and more recently sparkling wines that show structure and complexity - along with newer regional varietals, including Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The still wine versions of Chardonnay reflect a diversity of vibrant styles, all typically unoaked, from more citrus to more tropical fruit flavours.
The regions first plantings were in 1886 when wine produced from fruit planted at Dromana won an honourable mention at the Intercontinental Exhibition. An 1891 Royal Commission on Fruit and Vegetables states there were six registered vineyards in the region. By the turn of the century, with an economic decline, the threat of phylloxera and changing wine style preferences impacted considerably on cool climate viticulture across Australia and by the 1920s this regions vineyards had been abandoned.
The next endeavour came in the 1950s when Seppelt planted 40 hectares in Dromana, though it was destroyed by bushfire in 1967. Permanent wine production in the region finally began in 1972 when vines were planted at Mornington, with the first commercial winery at Main Ridge opening in the late 1970’s. Then by the 1990’s the Mornington Peninsula was recognised as one of the most exciting new regions in the world.
Across the region the soils differ greatly, ranging from sandy loam flatland round Moorooduc and Tuerong, pale brown alluvial soils at Dromana on the northern coastline to the deep weathered volcanic soils between Merricks and Balnarring and the south coast. The region is virtually frost-free and can be quite windy, with vineyards sitting between sea level and 240 metres and receive an average of 350mm rainfall during the growing season. Vines thrive in sheltered undulating valleys nurtured by a maritime cool climate creating elegant, personality-packed award-winning wines.
Mornington Peninsula wine region is home to 200 small-scale vineyards and more than 50 cellar doors offering visitors a personal warm welcome, with many open seven days a week. Allowing visitors to taste the regions diverse and impressive collection of fine wines - including the regions renowned Pinot Noir.
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 Mornington Peninsula wine region has spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches, fine food, impressive wines and magnificent accommodation, as you will want to stay a while.