A bright Sunday morning during the Winter Wine Weekend saw us pulling on sturdy walking boots and venturing into the Endeavour Fern Gully in Red Hill South. Amongst the remnants of this cool temperate rainforest, we saw giant ferns, peppermint gums and southern sassafras trees surviving in a deep glade made more spectacular by a feast of local cheeses and chilled Willow Creek sparkling.
Later, we walked the Bridal Trail (the old railway track) from Red Hill to Merricks. Where, on the Merricks ridge, we met David Chapman in his vineyard with 2015 Allies wines. This beautiful vineyard (planted in 1983) produces fragrant and complex Pinot Noir and bone dry Chardonnay full of grapefruit and stonefruit flavours. The Allies Merricks site is unique, producing wines David attributes entirely to terroir. Later, we visited Stonier, the Merricks General Wine Store and finished the day enjoying wine in the barrel room at Willow Creek. The weekend had the Mornington Peninsula humming with thousands of visitors out and about in cellar doors but on this day, scenic walking allowed us to taste alone.