In its relatively short life, the Mornington Peninsula wine region has realised what it does best and is now overwhelmingly devoted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with Pinot Gris a solid minor variety.
This is a cool climate region with a heavy maritime influence – the peninsula is expose to Port Phillip Westernport bays and the wild ocean of Bass Strait.
Sea breezes moderate conditions year round; winters and summers are generally mild, though heat waves are common. Spring frosts are unheard of, but inclement weather can adversely affect flowering and fruit set. Other risks include late season rain and high humidity that increases fungal disease pressure. The wider Melbourne region is infamous for unpredictable weather and its residents are always prepared for “four seasons in one day”.
Soils vary from the red volcanic earth on the spine of hills running down the centre of the peninsula to grey clay loams on the plains. Vineyard holdings are generally small and winemaking on the Mornington Peninsula is very labour- and capital-intensive. Mornington Peninsula vignerons host a biennial International Pinot Noir Celebration that attracts speakers and visitors from around the world.
With its family-friendly bay beaches and rolling ocean waves, the Mornington Peninsula is a favourite weekend and holiday spot for Melbournians. They can choose from 50 winery cellar doors, many with excellent restaurants. Recreational pursuits include sailing, surfing, fishing, kite surfing, walking, horse riding, golf, wildlife viewing and bathing in thermal springs.