The mofo guide to | Mornington Peninsula

Vinomofo
By Vinomofo
about 1 year ago
4 min read

In the grand scale of Aussie winemaking, Mornington Peninsula is tiny - accounting for 1% of vineyards nationwide, and only 4% of the total in Victoria. But what is it they say about great things coming in small packages? Never has it been more true when used to describe this little gem, hidden down in the south-east. Here’s a lil’ rundown on what’s so great about it.


The location

Originally planted up in the 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that winemaking in the Mornington Peninsula started to get its disco dancing shoes on. 

One of the unique features of the region is that it’s more maritime than Captain Haddock, surrounded by three bodies of water (Port Phillip Bay on the west side, Western Port Bay on the east, and Bass Strait to the south), providing the vines with crisp, cooling breezes and a long growing season. But don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s also somehow a one-trick “cool-climate” area. Oh no no no.

Maritime as it may be, a spritely 60 million years ago it was covered in volcanoes, with further geological upheaval giving rise to distinct undulating terrain that offers an array of soils and elevation for vignerons to work with. Although the south (locally referred to as “up the hill”) has greater elevation than the north (conversely known as “down the hill”), the diversity of soils and climates you’ll find here means that distinctions between vineyards are far more apparent, with winemakers really embracing the opportunity to express their own unique terroir.


Grapes

There’s only 200 or so small-scale vineyards making home here - many of which are a family affair, with a focus on producing premium fruit that forms the basis of exceptional wine. 

The star here is that heartbreaker grape, pinot noir. It’s got a reputation for being notoriously difficult to grow (hello “heartbreaker” nickname), but in Mornington it excels, contributing close to half of production. Chardonnay is another name up in lights, representing about a third of production, with pinot gris/grigio also nabbing a 15% share.

But that’s not all! Variation in the growing environment means that other varietals have taken root, with shiraz, riesling and sauvignon blanc (plus several more) also found from winemaker-to-winemaker in small pockets too, depending on vineyard conditions.


The wines

Because of that focus on terroir, more and more Mornington Peninsula winemakers are experimenting with their winemaking to try and find that purest expression of site - including harnessing wild fermentation (allowing naturally occuring yeast from the skins of the grapes and within the winery to naturally ferment the must) and whole bunch ferments. You’ll also find them playing with alternative fermentation formats too, from small terracotta amphora to large oak foudres. 

So… how do we go about describing wines where such distinct variation can be found? Truly a thankless task, so excuse us for painting with broad strokes - here’s what you can expect.

Pinot noir

Choose your own adventure with Mornington Peninsula pinot noir. Achieving a full range of expression, - from light and fruit forward, to structured, complex and rich - you’ll find everything great about pinot here, including that bright acidity and supple tannins.

Chardonnay

Similar to its Victorian cousin further north in the Yarra Valley, Mornington is renowned for premium, pure-fruited, chardonnay - tight, restrained and modern. Expect it to showcase a range of site specifics that are unique to where it's grown, and what the winemaker has sought to create. 

Pinot gris/grigio

Pinot grigio loves the fertile soils here - reminding the vines of their Venetian origins. Crisp and delicious like a vibrant pear, you’ll find it has a bit more body than what you’d normally expect, underpinned with a stony, mineral character. You might even see some of that winemaking flair thrown in, as barrel ferments are being employed (in place of steel) to add a bit more texture and oaky pizzazz into the mix too.


Hey Kids!

Under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act 2015 it is an offence:

  • to supply any liquor to a person under the age of 18 years;
  • for a person under the age of 18 years to buy or attempt to buy liquor.

No person under the age of 18 will be permitted to purchase wine from Vinomofo Asia Holdings Pte. Ltd.

Name of Licensee: Vinomofo Asia Holdings Pte Ltd

Class 4 licence No. L/LL/047229/2023/P

Class 3A Licence No. L/LL/047228/2023/P

Seriously

At Vinomofo, we love our wine, but we like to also lead long and happy lives, and be good to the world and the people in it. We all try to drink responsibly, in moderation, and we really hope you do too.

Don’t be that person…