13 of Mornington Peninsula’s best cellar door restaurants
Tuck into delicious food and wine at these mouthwatering Mornington cellar doors.
It might have sparkling bay beaches, championship golf courses and pristine national parks but, if the Mornington Peninsula has become synonymous with one thing, it’s wine. And for good reason. The alluring hinterland, just 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne's CBD, is home to more than 200 vineyards, 60 wineries and 50 cellar doors, making it a tempting destination for a wine-soaked weekender.
So, if you’re looking for a sip-worthy short escape, or just a lovely spot for a leisurely Sunday lunch, where better to get your intrepid vino on than one of Victoria’s premier wine regions. From Sorrento to Red Hill, Moorooduc to Main Ridge, these are 13 of the best cellar doors with restaurants to check out on the Mornington Peninsula.
Slides: Laura at Pt Leo Estate; Pt Leo Estate Cellar Door; Trofeo Estate; Polperro; Dromana Estate; Mantons Creek. Pictures: Visit Victoria and Facebook.
1. Main Ridge Estate
Set against a backdrop of rolling hills framed by beautiful mature trees you’ll find family-run Main Ridge Estate, Mornington’s first commercial winery. Founders Nat and Rosalie White (who retired in 2015 after 40 years in the industry) were two of the region’s original pioneers, planting some of the peninsula’s earliest vines in 1976. Book in at the Larder for a seasonal, Italian-influenced lunch (hello prosciutto, garlic and buffalo ricotta flatbread), or make an afternoon of it with sundowner sips, tapas and cheeseboards from 3-5pm. Open weekends. Bookings required.
2. Yabby Lake
It’s all about simplicity and elegance at Yabby Lake, an understated cellar door with some seriously impressive views. Inside, warm timber beams frame the rustic-meets-refined restaurant, where unclothed tables and bentwood chairs set a convivial scene. There's even a fireplace for cosy, lakeside dining. The seasonal menu showcases local produce, with each dish designed to pair perfectly with the estate’s gorgeous single-vineyard and single-block wines. Open daily for tastings and lunch. Bookings required.
3. Mooroduc Estate
For a rustic cellar door experience with a difference, look no further than Moorooduc Estate. Pull up a chair at the dog-friendly winery and settle in for a guided tasting through a selection of divinely crafted drops. Moorooduc Estate is also the home of Cameron Russell’s Mushroom and Lunch Tours. Book ahead for a fungus-picking adventure through the estate’s grounds, then head back to the cellar door where your fresh-picked shrooms will be cooked up in the wood fired oven and fed to you with a glass of Moorooduc Estate wine. Open daily. Bookings recommended.
4. Foxeys Hangout
If you’re all about the views, Foxeys Hangout has them in spades. Add to that an oh-so-sipworthy wine selection and some seriously sumptuous (and locally sourced) tapas-style eats and, well, what more could you want in life? We’re talking burrata with roast capsicum, spiced meatballs with yoghurt dip, homemade mushroom sausage rolls and jamon-wrapped figs drizzled with vincotto. Everything is designed for sharing and washes down a treat with the estate-made wines (it helps when your winemaker is also a qualified chef). You can even make your own sparkling wine over a hands-on class with winemaker Michael Lee. Open Fri-Mon for lunch, and daily for cellar door sales. Bookings recommended.
5. Pt Leo
Get your food, wine and sculpture fix at Pt Leo Estate. The expansive winery meets open-air art gallery is situated on 135 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds and offers sweeping views across Westernport Bay. It boasts a Hatted restaurant, all-weather wine terrace and award-winning fine diner, Laura, which recently took out the Best Country Restaurant List at the Gourmet Traveller Wine Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2020. The sculpture park is open daily and includes works by both major Australian and international artists. Check website for restaurant opening times and bookings.
The smell of burnt butter and wood-fired bread float on the air as you walk up the gravel driveway to Montalto’s industrial chic cellar door. Pull up a picnic on the lawn (weather permitting), plonk down at a table in the piazza and relax over a glass of estate-made vino and a slice of pizza, or join award-winning chef Matt Wilkinson for a set menu of seasonal, local and estate-grown produce in the rustic restaurant. And don’t forget to head over to the cellar door for a guided tasting of their award-winning range. The sprawling estate also boasts its own olive grove, a 1km sculpture trail and the oldest kitchen garden in Victoria. Open daily.
7. Dromana Estate
A beautiful white weatherboard bungalow welcomes you to Dromana Estate, where a rustic restaurant and charming cellar door are housed in the heritage-listed Tuerong Homestead. Sit out on the sun-drenched patio and tuck into Pernod-steamed mussels with fresh fennel, chilli and butter sauce or twice-cooked pork belly in a creamy yellow curry, before heading into the cellar door for a guided tasting. If you’re a fan of dessert wines, the Dromana Estate botrytis sauvignon blanc is an absolute treat, while the gold medal-winning 2019 Pinot Noir is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party. If you’re a real pinot noir enthusiast – book in for their hands-on Heartbreak Grape Course, where – over 12 months – you’ll get to experience the pinot production process from vine to bottle under the expert guidance of experienced winemaker Peter Mitchell. At the end, you’ll even get to keep whatever you bottle (so keep your fingers crossed for a bumper crop). Cellar door open Wednesday to Sunday. Bookings recommended.
Discover the epic platter situation at Trofeo Estate. Photo: Facebook.
8. Mont Rouge Estate
Forget fancy fare and stuffy cellar doors. It’s is all about fuss-free basics done beautifully at Mont Rouge Estate, where old-world winemaking and generous hospitality combine to create a cellar door setting that imbues the warmth and bonhomie of a French family kitchen. Head down to the boutique winery on a weekend for a gourmet barbecue lunch. Sit out on the sprawling back deck, overlooking the vines, and feast on superbly cooked meats and house-made salads washed down with a glass of estate-made pinot gris. Sweet tooths will also love sampling some of the finest hand-made French and Belgian delights at on-site ice cream and chocolaterie, Cocoa Rouge. Open Thursday to Sunday. Bookings recommended.
9. Trofeo Estate
You’ll want to arrive with an empty stomach to Trofeo Estate. Housed in a strikingly refurbished passionfruit cannery, surrounded by 20 hectares of pristine vineyard, the relaxed winery offers the ideal spot to unwind over a glass of wine and a grazing platter of locally sourced goodies. Choose from a selection of salumi, seafood and even vegan-friendly harvest boards, which come arranged with everything from eggplant rolls stuffed with cashew fetta and petit vegetable tarts to tuna ceviche and fresh prawns. Pair them with a bottle of traditional method sparkling et voila – you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven. Open seven days.
10. Barmah Park
Situated just off the Mooroduc Highway you’ll find Barmah Park, a laidback winery housed on the site of a converted cattle farm. Inside the contemporary cellar door, polished concrete floors and black, steel-framed floor-to-ceiling windows are juxtaposed with warm timber accents, while cosy leather lounges add a touch of vintage charm. The mouth-watering menu features all all-star line-up of seasonal ingredients, with delectable dishes – such as barley risotto with Tyabb mushrooms, hazelnuts, heirloom tomatoes, thyme and macadamia feta, or roaring forties lamb shoulder with parsnip, heirloom zucchini and barbecued capsicum – showcasing local produce and producers. Pair them with a glass of estate grown pinot noir or the 2016 reserve cabernet sauvignon and you won’t be disappointed. Open Wednesday to Sunday.
11. Polperro Winery
Treat yourself to something just a little bit fancy with a visit to Polperro Winery. Here, a focus on sustainable, organic and biodynamic practises underpins everything from vineyard management and winemaking methods to the restaurant menu. Eexecutive chef Michael Demagistris (whose impressive resume includes cooking in globally acclaimed kitchens, including now-closed Jacques in Melbourne and Noma in Copenhagen), shows off his culinary prowess with a constantly evolving menu of seasonally inspired plates using ingredients harvested from the on-site kitchen garden. Sit under twinkling fairy lights on the sun-drenched deck and wrap your tastebuds around hand-made spanner crab ravioli washed down with a glass of crisp chardonnay. And, if you really want to get into the flow, book in for a class at boutique on-site studio HotHut Yoga. Open Wednesday to Sunday. Bookings recommended.
12. Willow Creek Vineyard
Wile away an afternoon over fine wine and scrumptious fare at Willow Creek Vineyard. Skip the cellar door and head straight to the winery's first-class restaurant, Rare Hare, where contemporary picnic tables are dotted around a log fireplace overlooking the estate's rolling, vine laced hills. Don't leave without trying the braised pork belly with a sticky pineapple and chilli caramel (washed down with a glass of the estate-grown pinot gris), or the Rare Hare lamington. Open Thursday to Sunday. Bookings recommended.
13. Mantons Creek Estate
Prosciutto, pizza and pinot noir: what's not to love about a trip to underrated Shoreham winery Mantons Creek Estate. The relaxed, rural setting belies a sophisticated cellar door, where uber chic eatery Quattro (by The Epicurean Group) is dishing up simple fare that is superbly executed. On the menu are go-to favourites including gnocchi bolognese, lamb shanks and salt and pepper calamari, as well as plant-based and child-friendly options, with every dish impeccably cooked and plated to perfection. Open weekends. Bookings recommended.