Whether you’re a total novice looking for a fun day out on the road with friends, or a total oenophile plotting a serious, wine-focused itinerary, these five Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula wineries will stand you in good stead.
With its cool maritime climate, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula are known to produce low yields of high-quality fruit that makes for some award-winning wines. The region is known for its pinot noir, chardonnay and shiraz varietals, as well as its abundance of boutique, family-run wineries and warm hospitality. Whether you’re after a show-stopping lunch venue, a quirky cellar door, or a tasting in quaint countryside surrounds, these five wineries deliver.
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Not only is Provenance rated a 5 Red Star Winery by the illustrious Halliday Wine Companion – a title that also awarded it Best Value Winery of the Year back in 2019 – but the winery’s setting in the old, heritage-listed Fyansford Paper Mill is wildly beautiful. Located on the banks of the Barwon River, the refurbished bluestone buildings date back to the 1870s, and now house galleries, studios and a cafe, as well as the Provenance winery, restaurant and cellar door.
Swing by for a Tasting Experience, and sample six or eight wines, either by themselves, or matched with bite-sized chef-prepared food pairings. Or make an evening (or afternoon) of it, with dinner or lunch at the winery restaurant, where there’s a strong focus on native ingredients and seasonal produce, with veggies sharing as much of the limelight as meat and fish.
The winery’s grapes are sourced from the Geelong, Ballarat, Macedon and Henty regions, to produce a range of pinot noir, chardonnay, shiraz and riesling that showcase crisp natural acidity.
From vineyard to glass, Provenance preserves the identity of place.
Address: 100 Lower Paper Mills Rd, Fyansford, Vic, 3218
Phone number: +61 3 5222 3422
A small, family-run winery and restaurant, situated just on the cusp of Geelong, Nicol’s is known for its warm hospitality, whether you’re here for a sit-down dinner of shared small plates, or simply popping by to enjoy a tasting in the boutique winery’s cellar door. Formerly known as Saint Regis, Nicol’s has been in the same family since the first plantings back in 1997. Original vigneron Peter Nicol is still tending to the winery’s chardonnay, pinot noir, and estate-grown shiraz grapes, grown in Waurn Ponds’ rich limestone soil, but now the second generation of the Nicol family has also jumped in to helm the Nicol’s Paddock Restaurant.
The winery itself is totally charming, its entrance framed by a vine-wrapped pergola blanketed with string lights and scattered with picnic tables, parasols and wine barrels repurposed as tables, that offer prime views of the estate’s shiraz vineyards. The rustic and cosy ambiance continues inside, with simple brick and timber interiors.
Join Nicol’s Paddock for a taste in their cellar door.
Address: 35 Waurn Ponds Dr, Waurn Ponds, Vic, 3216
Phone number: +61 432 085 404
A stalwart of the Bellarine Peninsula’s wine scene, Scotchmans Hill has been pleasing punters with its cool maritime climate wines since its first vintage in 1990, and has consistently featured among the pages of the Halliday Wine Companion. Housed within the cosiest and smartly furnished environs of what feels like a country cottage, you can take a seated wine tasting from the comfort of one of the sofas, and feel as if you’ve popped round to a friend’s house for drinks (albeit one with impeccable taste). Try five of the winery’s current vintages for $10pp, or six wines from Scotchmans back vintage cellar reserve for $15pp (tasting fees waived with the purchase of takeaway wine). And if you’ve already reached peak wine indulgence then take the edge off with one of the winery’s platters, take-away picnic boxes, or a long lazy lunch at Scotchmans’ patio bistro.
Address: 190 Scotchmans Rd, Drysdale, Vic, 3222
Phone number: +61 3 5251 4431
Scotchmans Hill has been producing premium cool maritime climate wines since 1982.
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If you like your wineries with plenty of character then schedule a visit to Oakdene. For starters, the cellar door at this Bellarine Peninsula winery is unconventional, constructed to resemble an upside down house. And Oakdene’s gardens and grounds are dotted with items that would otherwise have been destined for the bin (old bicycles, rusty farm equipment) and have instead been upcycled into sculptures and decorative features.
But don’t be deceived by this winery’s quirks – it takes the science and art of winemaking seriously: Oakdene has in fact been named an ‘outstanding’ winery by the James Halliday Wine Companion. And its small team of knowledgeable and friendly staff showcase Oakdene’s premium wines without pomp or pretence.
Oakdene Vineyards is the ideal romantic getaway.
Address: 255 Grubb Rd, Wallington, Vic, 3222
Phone number: +61 3 5255 1255
For sweeping views over both Port Phillip Bay and a carpet of pinot noir and cabernet vines, it doesn’t get much better than Jack Rabbit. You can gorge on both by taking a seat on the modern winery’s restaurant deck, or peering out of the floor-to-ceiling windows inside. There’s an ambitious modern Australian menu, lined with dishes such as oxtail and local ricotta salata tortellini with parsnip cream, savoury oil and parsnip crisps, or Hiramasa kingfish crudo with Davidson plum, finger lime, coconut, verjuice and karkalla. The winery also houses a more casual all-day cafe, the House of Jack Rabbit, which is open for brunch and lunch and also boasts sweeping vistas over the blue of the bay and the green of the vines from its deck.
Jack Rabbit offers unrivalled views across the bay to Geelong.
Address: 85 McAdams Ln, Bellarine, Vic, 3221
Phone number: +61 425 750 655