History of the Mornington Peninsula Region

The Mornington Peninsula was largely settled by English migrants with expertise in sheep, cattle and apple trees. 

The Mornington Peninsula was largely settled by English migrants with expertise in sheep, cattle and apple trees.

The first record of wine from the Peninsula is in 1866 when a wine from Dromana won a gold medal at the Intercontinental Exhibition held in Melbourne. Little more is known of the wine or the vineyard. The Royal Commission on Fruit and Vegetables in 1891 revealed there were six registered vineyards on the Peninsula.

It is believed these vineyards were either uprooted or abandoned during the recession or ravaged by the then rampant vine louse phylloxera.

In 1950 or thereabouts one of the Seppelt family purchased 100 acres in Dromana and decided to ‘experiment’ with 3 acres of vines in a mixture of varieties. However, before a crop could be harvested the property was sold. The purchaser maintained the vineyard and took the harvest to Melbourne and fermented, bottled and matured the wine there. In 1967 a devastating bush fire destroyed the vines.

Following this vines were planted in the Mornington Peninsula area in 1972. The first commercial winery was built at Main Ridge in 1978, however, cellar door sales were illegal under the Shire Planning Scheme, but by the time the first vintage was picked in 1980 the Scheme had been amended to allow sales from the cellar door with enthusiasts having to travel along unmarked, unmade roads to find the winery.

Geography of the Mornington Peninsula region:

The Peninsula consists of a ridge of granite rocks and strata flanked by volcanic’s and sediments. Outside the granite areas the Peninsula rarely exceeds 150m in elevation with the north-east mainly between 30-75 meters.

The Peninsula wine region is defined by Western Port Bay to the west, Bass Strait to the south and Port Phillip Bay to the east. The Peninsula can be divided into three parts:

  1. Mornington Uplands – consists of a ridge of hard rocks with a thin cover of marine and terrestrial sediments.
  2. Port Phillip Lowlands is represented by two formations, the Nepean Peninsula in the south which is a sandy bar separating Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay, and the Carrum swamp in the north.
  3. Western Port lowlands consist of flat undulating country which has bedrock covered by sand ridges and sheets.

The Mornington Peninsula drains via numerous small creeks and rivers to Port Phillip and Westernport Bays on either side. The region is a cool area and is not subject to frost during the growing season because of its proximity to large bodies of water. The area enjoys good winter rainfall and has dry summers. Its southerly position and the moderating influence of the bays result in its being an area with perhaps the longest/slowest ripening conditions on mainland Australia.

The first record of wine from the Peninsula is in 1866 when a wine from Dromana won a gold medal at the Intercontinental Exhibition held in Melbourne. Little more is known of the wine or the vineyard. The Royal Commission on Fruit and Vegetables in 1891 revealed there were six registered vineyards on the Peninsula. 
It is believed these vineyards were either uprooted or abandoned during the recession or ravaged by the then rampant vine louse phylloxera. 

In 1950 or thereabouts one of the Seppelt family purchased 100 acres in Dromana and decided to ‘experiment’ with 3 acres of vines in a mixture of varieties. However, before a crop could be harvested the property was sold. The purchaser maintained the 
vineyard and took the harvest to Melbourne and fermented, bottled and matured the wine there. In 1967 a devastating bush fire destroyed the vines. 

Following this vines were planted in the Mornington Peninsula area in 1972. The first commercial winery was built at Main Ridge in 1978, however, cellar door sales were illegal under the Shire Planning Scheme, but by the time the first vintage was picked in 1980 the Scheme had been amended to allow sales from the 
cellar door with enthusiasts having to travel along unmarked, unmade roads to find the winery. 

Geography of the Mornington Peninsula region: 
The Peninsula consists of a ridge of granite rocks and strata flanked by volcanic’s and sediments. Outside the granite areas the Peninsula rarely exceeds 150m in elevation with the north-east mainly between 30-75 meters.

The Peninsula wine region is defined by Western Port Bay to the west, Bass Strait to the south and Port Phillip Bay to the east. The Peninsula can be divided into three parts:

1. Mornington Uplands – consists of a ridge of hard rocks with a thin cover of marine and terrestrial sediments.

2. Port Phillip Lowlands is represented by two formations, the Nepean Peninsula in the south which is a sandy bar separating Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay, and the Carrum swamp in the north.

3. Western Port lowlands consist of flat undulating country which has bedrock covered by sand ridges and sheets. 

The Mornington Peninsula drains via numerous small creeks and rivers to Port Phillip and Westernport Bays on either side. The region is a cool area and is not subject to frost during the growing season because of its proximity to large bodies of water. The area enjoys good winter rainfall and has dry summers. Its southerly position and the moderating influence of the bays result in its being an area with perhaps the longest/slowest ripening conditions on mainland Australia. 

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