Mornington Peninsula: Wine Food Farmgate Trail

Produce

Disclosure: Food and accommodation on this trip was courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies

Places mentioned in this post:
Main Ridge Dairy
Mock Red Hill
Horseback winery tours
Max’s Retreat
Darling Park Winery
Bass & Flinders Distillery
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
And see the end for a giveaway!

The Mornington Peninsula is one of my favourite day trips from Melbourne. It’s such a nice part of Victoria and only about 60-90 minutes drive from the city. There’s good food, lots of wineries, craft breweries, a couple of excellent cheeseries, and other produce producers.

Mornington Peninsula Tourism has recently launched Wine Food Farmgate, a program to help visitors discover all the great food and wine producers on the Peninsula. The program consists of a book, the website, a trail map, mini cooler bag and regional recipe cards, and features restaurants, wineries, produce growers and gourmet stores.

The other weekend, Alastair and I got together with Shellie, Haz, Gaz, Thanh and Michelle for a trip through our own Wine Food Farmgate trail.

Our journey started on Saturday, when we gathered for lunch at Yabby Lake Vineyard. After a lovely lunch (coming up in Part 2) our group split up to tackle a few different locations.


Main Ridge Dairy

Main Ridge Dairy


The first stop for Alastair and I was Main Ridge Dairy, a goat cheese dairy and factory. They milk about 200 goats and make a range of different cheeses from the milk.

They sell cheese to take home or for tasting at their cheesery, plus they also run farm tours and cheese making workshops.

Goats

But look at what caught my eye as soon as we arrived. Hai!

Goats

The kids were right there in the paddock next to the cheesery, so naturally we HAD to stop and say hello.

Cheese

But when I was able to tear myself away from the kids, we headed inside for some cheese tasting.

At Main Ridge Dairy the cheese tasting plates start from $10, and contain a small sample of all the cheeses they have available that day. The cheeses we tried that day ranged from a very slow set lactic curd, to a delicate chevre, to a hard Romano style goat cheese, to haloumi and then to feta, plus several others.

They really have something to suit all tastes.

Goats

And if you don’t like cheese, you can always give their friendly kids a pat.

Main Ridge Dairy
295 Main Creek Road
Main Ridge VIC
Phone: 03 5989 6622
Web: mainridgedairy.com.au

Mock Hill

Mock Red Hill


After farewelling the goats, Alastair and I headed to Mock Red Hill, a bio dynamic orchard. Mock Red Hill have a cider lounge and farm gate where you can taste the different ciders and juices they make from the apples and pears they grow.

Mock Hill

The ciders range from dry through to sweet (with a very good classic cider in the middle), plus some excellent sparkling apple and pear juices. The ciders contain different apple types to get the desired sweetness/dryness.

I particularly liked the classic cider and the sparkling apple juice. They also sell a range of freeze dried fruits – I highly recommend the freeze dried apple crisps. Amazing.

Mock Red Hill
1103 Mornington Flinders Road
Red Hill VIC 3937
Phone: 03 5989 2242
Web: mockredhill.com.au

Horse

Horseback Winery Tours


Upon leaving Mock Red Hill, I saw horses and naturally had to go over and say hello. This is Bugsy. :) We got to feed him – he was very friendly!

Horseback winery tours leave from near Mock Red Hill, and it is basically what it sounds like – you visit a couple of wineries on horseback. It was such a shame we didn’t have enough time for a ride, I would’ve loved to have spent more time with Bugsy and his friends.

Horseback Winery Tours
356 Shands Road
Main Ridge VIC 3928
Phone: 03 5989 6119
Web: horsebackwinerytours.com.au

Max's Retreat lounge and dining

Max’s Retreat


We then met up with the others at Max’s Retreat, our accommodation for the evening.

Max’s Retreat is located in Red Hill, very close to Red Hill Village, and is a lovely cottage containing four bedrooms.

Max's Retreat bedroom

Alastair and I arrived first, to find the wood fire already lit and warming the place up.

Since we were first, we got first pick of the bedrooms. Though to be honest, they are all good – all of them have queen beds and ensuites.

Max's Retreat kitchen
Max's Retreat kitchen

There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, which we made good use of to cook up dinner that night.

Max's Retreat

Dinner that evening was mostly done on the BBQ – Haz and Gaz were in charge of the meat buying. They did an excellent job, bringing us back sausages, beef eye fillet, lamb chops AND a butterflied chicken at Prime Cuts, and we supplemented the meat with produce from 2 Macks Farm and Green Olive that Shellie and Thanh gathered.

Sausages
Braised sausages
Beef

Dinner was massive and delicious. There was definitely no problem with too many cooks in the kitchen – we all had our own tasks and coped very well in the one room.

Afterwards we did singalong to Shellie’sParty Playlist and played board games.

Max's Retreat lounge

After a good night’s sleep we packed up the following morning, with a couple more stops to make before heading back to Melbourne.

Max’s Retreat
9 Station Road
Red Hill South VIC
Phone: 03 5989 3007
Web: maxsretreat.com.au

Darling Park

Darling Park Winery


On Sunday we started off with breakfast at Somers General Store (coming up in Part 2). After breakfast we had a couple of spare hours until it was time for lunch.

There are lots and lots of wineries on the Mornington Peninsula, so we decided to stop by Darling Park Winery, hanging around until their cellar door opened at 11am. Because 11am isn’t too early for wine tasting. Really.

Darling Park Winery is a family owned winery that produces wines that reflect the cool climate of the Peninsula. They also serve lunch everyday. A few of us tasted our way through a range of their wines: sav blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, rose, shiraz, cab-merlot and a sweet cane-cut pinot gris.

(By the way, 11am is possibly too early to taste ten or so wines. Just FYI.)

Darling Park Winery
232 Red Hill Road
Red Hill VIC
Phone: 03 5989 2324
Web: darlingparkwinery.com

Gin

Bass and Flinders Distillery


Next to the Darling Park cellar door there is also a small space for Bass & Flinders Distillery.

They make gin, limoncello, and grappa and (I’m pretty sure) they’re the only distillery on the Peninsula. You can try a small sample of their products at their cellar door.

(11am is also too early for gin and grappa. Just FYI.)

Bass and Flinders Distillery
232 Red Hill Road
Red Hill VIC
Phone: 0419 548 430
bassandflindersdistillery.com

Strawberries

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm


Our last stop before lunch was the famous Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm.

You can pick your own strawberries at Sunny Ridge, but unfortunately we didn’t have time, and just browsed the shop. I made sure to buy some strawberries to take home – they were super sweet and delicious.

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
244 Shands Road
Main Ridge VIC 3928
Phone: 03 5989 4500
Web: sunnyridge.com.au

Giveaway time


There’s a Part 2 of this post, but before I get into that – do you like cherries?

I have a voucher to give away that will allow a family (2 adults and 2 children) to pick (and eat!) cherries at Red Hill Cherry Farm, as well as receive a kg of free cherries to take home.

The season for cherry picking is very short, and only runs from late November to early January. I went cherry picking last year at a different location and it was fun (and delicious).

To enter, leave me a comment on this post. Make sure you include a valid email address when you comment – it won’t be published, but I’ll use it to contact you if you win.

This competition is open to Australian residents only and entries will close in a week at midnight Monday 16 December. I will draw the winner randomly.

Update:

cherries

Congratulations to Jess! Your voucher is on its way. :)

To be continued… coming up in Part 2: Yabby Lake Winery, Somers General Store and Mornington Peninsula Brewery.