Wineries and cellar doors in the Mornington Peninsula

Today, the whole family went down to the Mornington Peninsula for wine and liquor tasting, lunch, and fresh local produce. The thing I always love about visiting wineries in Australia is how relaxed and casual they are. There’s no stuffiness or pretense. There’s no air of arrogance that they know far more about wine than you do (even if they do since they work at and/or own the winery). The tasting pours are usually generous (unlike the sad, tiny drops you get at the snotty and overrated wineries in Napa). They talk about the wine, the tastes, the flavors, and scents as though we’re all just everyday people looking to share something delicious together.

We visited one winery, one distillery room, a cherry farm, and in the middle of that, we shared a bottle of red and enjoyed lunch on the sunny patio at Abelli Estate Winery, which had a semi-outdoor kitchen setup and cooked up a delicious Greek-inspired feast for us. Another thing I’ve noticed that is common in Australia: a lot of the wineries here are not only beautifully constructed with large floor to ceiling windows that allow you to see all the vineyards, but they are also known for their gourmet, multi-course meals. Reservations are often required weeks if not months in advance for some of the most popular ones. Oftentimes, individuals and couples will have their special birthday or anniversary celebrations at a winery and share a bottle and a multi-course lunch or dinner. You rarely see that in wine regions in the U.S.: people go to wineries to taste and buy wine, then leave to go elsewhere to eat.

Wine doesn’t have to be an elitist interest or drink. It can be for everyone if wineries in the U.S. treated wine and wine drinkers the way Australians do.

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