The Mornington Peninsula

[Please click on the above image to download an A4 pdf]

The cool climate Mornington Peninsula is now internationally lauded for producing much of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Australian Geographical Indication "Mornington Peninsula" was entered in the Register of Protected Names on 18 March 1997.

John Gladstones, in his definitive book ‘Viticulture and Environment’ says the region...

“...has arguably the best ripening climate in Victoria for light to medium bodied table wines...this would appear to be one of the few regions of Australia where the precise characteristics of the great Burgundy wines (both red and white) might reasonably be aspired to.”

Andrew Caillard MW says...

“Mornington Peninsula is probably doing more for Pinot Noir than anywhere else. In a good vintage, this region is capable of making some of the most aromatic and silky Pinot Noirs in Australia...Without question, some of the most seductive and beautifully made Chardonnays in Australia come from around Melbourne...Again, the Burgundian model is often on show. The best producers make classically proportioned Chardonnay with complex, cashew nut and tropical fruit aromas and plenty of new oak vanillin.”

Almost half the vines planted on the Mornington Peninsula are Pinot Noir, followed closely by Chardonnay. A smaller amount of Shiraz and other cool climate varieties are planted, but it is the more recently introduced Pinot Gris which is fast creating an exciting reputation for fine quality and regional distinctiveness.

There are now more than 200 vineyards, 60 wineries and at least 50 cellar doors on the Mornington Peninsula. Most are concentrated around Red Hill, Red Hill South and Main Ridge, with clusters at Moorooduc and Tuerong in the north, and Balnarring and Merricks towards Western Port Bay.

Top Five Varieties 2010 (by area)
Variety Bearing
Area (ha)
  Tonnes
Pinot Noir 325.4 43% 1598.4
Chardonnay 190.4 25% 946.4
Pinot Gris 88.6 12% 590.3
Shiraz 42.4 6% 158.9
Sauvignon Blanc 24.9 3% 120.8
Other 80.2 11% 386.9
Total 751.9 100% 3801.7


(More information on Mornington Peninsula vineyards can be obtained from the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association)

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Main Ridge

There are no official sub regions on the Mornington Peninsula though locally there is a clear understanding of the differences between the northerly, "down the hill" and the southerly, "up the hill" areas.

Key differences between the two are altitude, soil and climate...

Sub Region

"Down the hill"

"Up the hill"

Altitude

Generally <100m

Generally >100m

Soil

Poorer, sedimentary
soils

Richer, volcanic soils

Climate

Warmer, drier

Cooler, wetter, greater exposure to cool sea breezes from Bass Strait


The difference can be very easily summarised in the fact that all our Main Ridge Pinot Noir is harvested, on average, 23 days later than that of our colleagues "down the hill" at Moorooduc Estate at about 90m elevation; our lowest Pinot Noir block on the Wallis Vineyard (about 120m) is harvested 21 days later than Moorooduc Estate.

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