Where to go after you get your city coffee fix
Where to go after you get your city coffee fix
- By Kurt Ganapathy
- | Jun 14, 2018
If you live for good food and drink, Melbourne will come up in conversation frequently. With world-class restaurants, influential coffee and a cocktail scene that’s been thriving since the average Singaporean cocktail enthusiast was still drinking lychee martinis, Melbourne is where some of the planet’s best produce is gathered. And you don’t have to go very far to see where some of it is made. In part two of our trip to Melbourne with the travel experience gurus at Klook and Visit Victoria, we check out eight farms, orchards and wineries on the outskirts of the city.
Main Ridge Dairy
Promising an adventure for any cheese aficionado, Main Ridge is touted as Mornington Peninsula’s only large commercial dairy. The 130-acre farm is home to a herd of around 200 goats and they produce high-quality milk that’s turned into a variety of cheeses—all of which have received Royal Melbourne Fine Food and Australian Fine Food awards.
There’s the traditional feta, the creamy Cashmere and the nutty six-months-aged caprino, just to name a few. And yes, you can feed the goats and give them a pat for their efforts.
Mock Red Hill
Certified biodynamic and fifth-generation family-owned, Mock Red Hill is an apple orchard that ticks all the right boxes. Using their dessert apples and pears, they make a range of ciders and juices that are crisp and all about fresh fruit flavors. The classic cider is the highlight—it’s like biting into a Pink Lady apple—and is a deceptively easy-drinking drop considering it weighs in at 7% alcohol by volume. Pick up a few bottles (and some fresh apples) to take home on your way out.
Green Olive at Red Hill
Green Olive manages to squeeze a lot into its 27 acres. Grapes, vegetables, herbs and, of course, olives are all grown here and the family that runs the farm, Greg and Sue O’Donoghue and their children Sam and Sophie, also raises sheep, chickens and ducks.
You can savor some of the produce tapas-style at their on-site restaurant and buy Green Olive products ranging from soap and lotion to wine, jam, relish, olive oil and coffee.
With rolling hills of Pinot Grigio vines as a backdrop, the T’Gallant Cellar Door is dedicated to serving up a slice of “la dolce vita”— the good life. They draw on grapes produced across their various properties to produce something for everyone, whether you’re big on bubbly, clean-cut white wines or luscious red wines (if you’re a fan of the latter, don’t miss out on the Cyrano Pinot Noir).
Holding court in the tasting room is Tyce Light, who will provide you with a memorably entertaining wine tasting experience. If you’ve worked up an appetite by this point of your tour, T’Gallant’s wood-fired pizzas will sort that out quickly.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
If you eat a strawberry in Singapore, there’s a chance it was grown right here. As modern a facility as Sunny Ridge is, its story goes back to 1964, when the Gallace family moved out to the Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne. With initial plans to grow apples and cherries, the family planted strawberries as an interim measure—to ensure that money was coming in while they waited for the apple and cherry trees to mature. The strawberries did so well that they became the focus, and the apple orchard eventually made way for more strawberry plants.
You can pick your own strawberries at Sunny Ridge and buy every strawberry product you can think of: jam, syrup, candy, freeze-dried treats and non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Holder of a coveted five-star winery rating from the James Halliday Wine Companion, Rochford has three vineyards around the Yarra Valley with three different terroirs. Hand-picking their grapes—primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—they make wines that run the gamut from everyday-drinking to that big-occasion bottle. The Isabella's Vineyard Blanc de Blanc Sparkling, produced via the traditional method used for champagne, and the vibrant yet refined Dans les Bois Pinot Noir are must-tries.
Rochford is also a great place to stop for lunch—we can recommend the smoked ox tongue with pickled pear and buttermilk creme fraiche—and after that, take some time to explore their sprawling grounds on foot, or by Segway.
When the Portet family started making wine in Bordeaux, Captain James Cook’s arrival in Australia was still about half a century away—the eponymous Dominique Portet represents the ninth generation of his family, and his son Ben, the 10th. With experience in some of France’s key wine regions, and in the Napa Valley, Dominique has been involved with Australian wine since 1976, founding his Yarra Valley winery in 2000.
Their wines tend to have a sense of magnitude about them. It takes ten years for the Tasmanian Cuvee to reach you, and the Andre Cabernet Sauvignon—named after Dominique’s father—is only produced in years when their old vines in the Yarra Vallery and the Victorian Pyrenees produce exceptional fruit.
Yering Farm’s story is one of discovery and rediscovery, going back all the way to the first decades of Australian wine. In 1854, a Swiss winemaker, Joseph Deschamps, planted Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings here, and Yering Cabernet soon became the talk of the town. Over the years, however, this heritage was lost, and when the Johns family purchased the land more than a century later, it was to plant apple and pear orchards.
Aware of the property’s history, Alan Johns decided to bring the Cabernet vines back in 1989—starting with a mere five acres—and today, Yering Farm continues to produce remarkable wines like the rich Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tour information at a glance:
Visit Main Ridge Dairy, Mock Red Hill, Green Olive at Red Hill, T’Gallant and Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm on the Marvellous Mornington Peninsula Tour
Visit Rochford Wines, Dominique Portet and Yering Farm on the Puffing Billy Steam Train & Wine Country Day Tour