An hour south of “the world’s most livable city”, Mornington, the Mornington Peninsula has enormous charm and appeal, with a plethora of romantic options including excellent wineries with award-winning vineyard restaurants, quality art galleries, hot springs and spa facilities, and world-class golf courses. There’s also fabulous regional produce, and endless surf and bay beaches – edged with those wonderful, brightly coloured bathing boxes that are so… well, Victorian.
So bountiful is the region – with myriad small producers, quality gardens and farms, fresh produce markets, gourmet brewers and wine experiences – that the clever people at Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism have come up with a user-friendy, fold-out Wine Food Farmgate Trail map and guide, with directions and relevant details. Fortunately for food and wine-lovers, many of the 100-odd farmgates are concentrated around Red Hill – the ridgetop village centrally located between Dromana on Port Philip Bay and Shoreham on Westernport Bay. You can even visit several on a fun Horseback Winery Tour. You can also pick your own berries and cherries, make your own gin and charcuterie, buy top local goats’ cheese and fresh organic produce, sip wine with winemakers, savour cider and beer with local brewers, and choose rare-breed meats, salamis and produce to take home. Some of the stops on the farmgate map include:
“You can pick your own berries and cherries, make your own gin and charcuterie, buy top local goats’ cheese…”
Mock Red Hill
At Mock Red Hill, Sheryn Mock runs a cider lounge in a former apple cool-room. The property has been an orchard for more than 200 years, and in the Mock family since 1960, when Sheryn’s great-great-grandfather (and orchardist) moved from Blackburn to escape the threatening suburban sprawl of Melbourne. Today, the 50-acre property of 8,500 apple trees and 150 pear trees produces a range of excellent ciders, from dry, classic and sweet to non-alcoholic sparkling apple and pear juices – even a cherry liqueur blended with a 10-year-old brandy. Take home flavoursome freeze-dried fruits and naturally fermented apple cider vinegar that’s been oak-aged for 12 months.