Sometimes the best trips don’t involve any planning at all. We’re in Australia visiting my family, and this morning we decided to spontaneously head over to the Mornington Peninsula.
There are two ways you can get to the peninsula. 1) Drive around the city from the east, and go past Frankston. 2) Drive past Geelong to Queenscliff, and get a ferry across.
We chose option 2 this morning because it’s a ferry, and being in landlocked Arkansas we don’t spend much time on the water. So we drove our hire car to Queenscliff, and paid the exorbitant price of $74 for a one way 45 minute ride on the ferry to Sorrento.
It was really, really bright. So we took some squinty selfies, and then got ourselves back inside to enjoy the view with some shade.
The ferry stopped at Sorrento, then we drove east toward a beautiful town called Red Hill.
Although the Mornington Peninsula isn’t the most acclaimed wine region in Victoria, some of its vineyards could rival the Yarra Valley (in my humble not-an-expert opinion). Red Hill, despite its name, is very green, and beautiful.
We wanted to visit a couple of the wineries here because we’ve already done Yarra Valley a couple of times. I opened Apple Maps on my phone, and zoomed into the area we were driving, and randomly picked a winery – Montalto.
We arrived at Montalto, in Red Hill, about 2pm to some muddy gravel, and a very light mist coming from the grey clouds. The trees, and grass were a lush green you don’t see often in Australia. The hills rolled in just the right way, as if parting to give you the best possible lookout. The vineyard framed the foreground, with some fancy red cars a very stark contrast to the green grass. If you looked far into the distance you could see a lake surrounded by trees, and more grape vines.
No reasonable person could resist partaking in some wine, and food, after a view like this one. With a red for Addam, and a white for me, we ordered the pickle plate, the cheese plate, and a skewer of meat each.
When our food arrived, so did a couple of unwelcome guests. These wasps completely ruined a postcard moment come to life. They hovered like flies, swarming around our food, and around us. The fact that they could sting made it hard to shoo them away like you would the common fly. We hopped from table to table but they just followed us around. So in the end, we ate as much as we could, and left the rest to them. 🙁
We picked one more Red Hill winery to visit. It was another random choice selected from the maps. Around the corner from Montalto was Paringa Estate, another pretty little vineyard. (But they had some surprise geese hiding amongst the vines!)
We did a tasting here, which costs $4 pp unless you purchase some wine. I really liked the Estate Viogne. Having had two glasses of wine (including the tastings) at this stage, I was feeling brave enough to ask dumb questions like, “What is a Viogne?” The lady serving us wasn’t perplexed at all, and kindly explained how it was a type of wine that is usually only made in France, and rarely sold in Australia. It had a nice oak flavor that brought to life its time in the barrel.
We also visited a small brewery but it was boring, and I don’t want to bore you with a boring recount of our boring time. So let’s just say we went home after this, and felt like we had a very successful unplanned outing to the Mornington Peninsula!