The London-based Bibendum Hunting Party visited the Mornington Peninsula after touring wine regions throughout Australia. These lads were wined and dined by the nation's most iconic wine brands, so how does the Peninsula go about entertaining six wine buyers who sell over £20 million worth of wine annually?
Before they arrive, regional wine marketer, Arthur O'Bryan engages Captain John Wrout, a local fisherman who owns property on Flinders Island, to fly crayfish to his secluded beach-house hideaway that overlooks Balnarring Point. Here, eighty-meters offshore, in Western Port Bay the Captain keeps the giant crays alive in a submerged holding pen.
A glorious day greets the Hunting Party on Balnarring Beach as they roll-up their trousers and sip Stonier sparkling cuveé while splashing about in the shallows. Out on the water, bare-chested Captain Wrout (every bit the relaxed mariner in his budgie smugglers) rows his wooden dinghy out to hunt and gather lunch. After locating the wire pen, he untangles the scaly crays from their watery lair before returning to the beach with four massive creatures splayed out on the bottom of the boat.
The lads enjoy a flight of Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay as Chef Guy Mirabella cooks these orange crustaceans over an open fire, then serve them alfresco on a linen-draped table festooned with regional cheeses, roast potatoes salads and local chocolates. Feasting on fresh crayfish while watching a rolling swell on a sun-dappled ocean must be the Peninsula's finest hour.
During summer, the Mornington Peninsula is a most glorious location for winemaking. The Southern Ocean wedges this crab-claw of rolling hills, volcanic soils and leafy vineyards on three sides so it's constantly cooled by a maritime breeze. Occasionally we need to share this secret spot with the rest of the world. The UK Bibendum Hunting Party left the region with three pallets of Mornington Peninsula wine bound for high-end British department stores like Sainsburys and London restaurants like Hibiscus, Sketch and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen.