Cellar doors

By Ben Thomas

A range of new cellar doors that opened recently have turned tasting into an experience. Have a brewer take you through the beer-making process, be guided at your own pace with a tablet, or take in history before tasting – the days of standing at a bench with a few wines

look to be numbered. With the Labour Day long weekend approaching, here’s a few new places, and a couple of old favourites, worth a visit.

Crittenden Wine Centre

Just before Christmas, Mornington Peninsula pioneers opened the Crittenden Wine Centre in Dromana. It’s a pioneering move 32 years after first planting vines, with a go-at-your-own-pace tasting experience that’s guided by tablet. Experts are on hand to guide the less tech-savvy among us and to answer questions.

With up to 26 wines open, you can taste the Mornington Peninsula’s major grapes, pinot noir and chardonnay and get an insight into the region.

There’s a restaurant, Stillwater, and accommodation – self-contained bungalows on the edge of the property’s lake and overlooking vines.


Napoleone Brewery and Ciderhouse

Set in a former orchard that has been half planted to vines, this cellar door has evolved as the winery has. It added Napoleone & Co cider a few years ago, made from Australian apples grown on the Coldstream property.

Having conquered wine and cider, it has turned its hand to beer. They have turned a derelict 19th-century dairy into a brewery and restaurant. The result is the Napoleone Brewery and Ciderhouse and Meletos café a few hundred metres down the road from the Punt Road cellar door. It’s open seven days. At 11am on a Saturday, brewer Ben Waymouth takes tours through the brewery.



Coombe – The Melba Estate

A few minutes’ drive towards Coldstream from Napoleone is the estate where Dame Nellie Melba lived, Coombe Farm. Established as a winery 13 years ago, Coombe Farm has two cellar doors – at the property’s old stables and in Dame Nellie’s old home.

The new Melba Estate has a tasting room, restaurant, gardens and a gallery of Melba memorabilia, including artwork commissioned by her.