3. Polperro Wines
Sam Coverdale’s Polperro Winery is the coolest new spot on the Peninsula. The classy restaurant, decked out in charcoal and cream, grey mohair wraps on the chairs, is buzzing with a long table of friends enjoying lunch. Clusters of people relax on the deck shaded by a row of stately Angophoras. Others soak up the sunshine on the lawns that overlook rows of vines descending to a wetland pond.
“We don’t shut the kitchen at 2:30pm. You can hang out all day if you want to,” laughs Sam, whose easy-going charm sets the tone. “Some people have been known to come for lunch, lounge on the deck all afternoon, and then stay on for dinner. We own Saturday night down here. It’s a bit of a crab trap; it’s hard to get out!”
And, if you can’t bear to leave you can curl up in one of the beautiful villas and do it all again the next day. Sam’s wines are nothing to sneeze at, either. His salmon-coloured rosé makes a great aperitif, while his Even Keel syrah goes down a treat with any of chef Daniel Kerekes’ meaty selections.
4. Bass & Flinders Distillery
The Stingray sports car out front alerts us that it’s not all bucolic business as usual at Bass & Flinders Distillery. Silver-haired founders Wayne Klintworth and Bob Laing have a passion to deliver on the premise that you can never have too much good booze. They saw the Peninsula was awash in fine wines but no distilled spirits, so they invested in a traditional Alembic copper pot still and fast-tracked their skills with a French master distiller.
Their love child is Ochre, an Australian aged eau de vie. “Let’s not use the C word”, says Wayne, referring to cognac, which was released in March after maturing in Taransaud oak barrels for four years. In the meantime, their artisanal gins have tapped into the current zeitgeist.
Even more popular are their gin masterclasses, where you can create your own botanical blend with the likes of coriander, lemongrass, and, best of all, grains of paradise. Now we’re talking.
5. Epicurean Red Hill
A hungry AT team, with cover (issue 64) star Marion Grasby in tow, pulled into Epicurean at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula just in time for pizza day. Housed in The Shed, the restaurant is kept cosy with log fireplaces and, of course, a wood-fired oven, which was hard at work during our visit, pumping out delicious, thin-based pizzas.
As well as the considered, local wine list, we loved the bar-side chesterfields and the adjacent homewares shop housed in a 1900s cold store.
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