Australian Wine Regions: The Yarra Valley & Mornington Peninsula

When chatting to most international visitors on our tours, Australian wine is heavily linked to the big Barossa Shiraz that is found in supermarkets across the globe, either that or the really cheap bulk wine out of South Australia’s Riverland region (think cask wine and wines under £5). This article details 2 regions in Australia’s South-East that showcase cooler climate wines like Pinot Noir and are great places to visit.

The Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is the largest and most well known region in Victoria. It is classified as a cool climate region which means it is perfect for growing more delicate varieties, but also for producing more restrained versions of varieties like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Yarra Valley is famous for:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Sparkling
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz
  • Rose

There are also dozens of other varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Merlot, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

As well as producing world class wines, the Yarra Valley is a great place to visit. There are the larger more touristy wineries, but at Wine Compass we do love the smaller, boutique wineries, which are also in abundance if you scratch beneath the surface.  Combine top wines, with quality cellar doors and stunning scenery and it is a winning mix.  Two of our favourite stops are below.

Payten & Jones

Payten & Jones is a new favourite for Wine Compass, only having discovered it less than a year ago, it has now become a regular part of our tours.  It’s such a cool and different cellar door, it is one not to be missed. Enjoy minimal intervention wines in amongst the street art murals. It’s perfect for a wine tasting followed up by a glass of wine, beer or cocktail made with local spirits. Fun, friendly, great wines and super cool.

Killara Estate

Killara really has the wow-factor as far as the setting goes. The restaurant and deck look out over a large grassy area and the vines. This is backed up by their relaxed but attentive service, top wines and lovey Italian food. We recommend a tasting followed by woodfired pizzas and a glass or bottle of wine.

Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula isn’t as well known internationally and isn’t as old or well established as the Yarra Valley, but locals from Melbourne & surrounds know that this is the food and wine gem of Victoria.  Another cool climate classified region, it is actually quite a bit colder than Yarra Valley, meaning it is famous for:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Gris (the home of Pinot Gris in Australia)

But of course there are dozens of other varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Friulano, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as sparkling and rose style wines.

One of the main drawcards of the Mornington Peninsula (besides the amazing wines) is the location, there are beaches on either side meaning some spectacular views as well as the opportunity to combine some time at the beach with wine tastings and lunch.  The food on offer here is first class with many amazing restaurants, dairies, farm gates and chocolateries. Highly recommended for a day trip, or even better higher a local holiday home and take advantage of everything the Peninsula has to offer over a few days or a week.

Kerri Greens

As mentioned earlier, we really love the smaller, more boutique wineries where you get the best experiences.  This one is run by 2 couples in their 30’s, it has the small family feel that we love and the wines are simply stunning. A younger vibe with the wines, with minimal intervention and new takes on classic styles.  Unfortunately, it is only open from September to February, but we would very much recommend a visit if you are on the Peninsula during these times.  They also allow BYO picnics so you can bring some food and enjoy their wines on the lawn overlooking the vines.


Another spot with a breathtaking view, this is one of our favourite lunch destinations. The wines here are good quality and showcase the traditional best varieties of the Peninsula. We love to come and do a tasting followed by a share plate feast of modern Australian, casual fare, looking down the valley towards the vines. If you’re heading to the Peninsula, we can highly recommend a stop here, for it’s wines, the view and also the great value food.

If you’re in Victoria check out the following links for wine tours of these great regions:

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