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Friday, 9 May 2008

Winter destination idea


The Mornington Peninsula in winter:

log fires, refreshing beach walks, fine Pinot Noir


With its cosy log fires, refreshing beach walks and more than 50 snug cellar doors serving sublime Pinot Noir, the Mornington Peninsula is an enticing winter destination. From June 10 to August 31, there's an extra big incentive: the Winter Wine Passport will see one lucky traveller win a $3000 cellar of Mornington Peninsula wines.

Forty local wineries, restaurants and accommodation houses are involved in the event, and will stamp visitors' wine passports every time they make a purchase.

Completed passports go into a draw for the wine cellar, a luxury weekend package at Lindenderry at Red Hill and a set of Luigi Bormioli fine glassware plus a decanter.

Ten accommodation houses are participating in the Winter Wine Passport, and travellers who stay with them receive a passport stamp plus a voucher for a complimentary bottle of wine at a nearby winery.

They include the 1850s Cape Schanck Lightstation ($175 per couple per night for an historic museum cottage), the new B&B at Morning Sun Vineyard ($200 per couple per night), George's Boutique B&B and Culinary Retreat ($295 per couple per night in a luxury upper level suite), Lindenderry at Red Hill (from $280 per couple per night)  and the grand Woodman Estate (Garden Rooms are $350 and the sumptuous Lakeside Chalets are $695 per couple per night).

For a free passport, and to book accommodation, call the Mornington Peninsula Visitors Centre on 1800 804 009 or 5987 3078, or visit  www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org.

Passports will also be available at the Winter Wine Fest at Red Hill Reserve on Saturday June 7, and from participating operators from Tuesday June 10:

Last year, 3500 passports were distributed and 19 wineries and accommodation  houses participated. Such was the success, and with double the number of local participants this year, Mornington Peninsula Tourism expects to distribute up to 5000 passports.

Alva Hemming, Executive Officer of Mornington Peninsula Tourism, says: "Winter Wine Passport has become firmly established in just two years as a Mornington Peninsula-wide promotion.

"People are realising that this is a delightful and romantic winter destination where they can relax in front of a fire with a glass of excellent Pinot Noir, or rug up for a brisk walk along a peaceful beach or a game of golf on one of our outstanding courses."

Last year's winner of the wine cellar, Melinda Duggan of Kew, says she has been sharing the wine with friends at dinners, but still has almost half of the 14 dozen left.

Once almost exclusively a white wine drinker, she's fallen in love with the Peninsula's Pinot Noir, ranks the Pinot Grigio very highly and has sampled some wine styles for the first time.

"I went to five wineries the weekend I won the cellar, but I'm going back to visit some of the others whose wine I enjoyed," Melinda says. "This has really made me interested in wine."

Sydneysider Tony Gye clocked up the biggest sales total of seven dozen wine in just one day of tasting, and won a bottle of wine from each participating cellar along with Luigi Bormioli Bourgogne glasses.

Travelling with friends from Blairgowrie, Tony was escorted around the wineries in a local hire car with driver.

"The people who were serving the wines were happy to spend time with us, and they were very knowledgeable and interesting. The Mornington Peninsula is so relaxing and hidden – it was great to be driven around by someone who knows all the people in the wineries," he says.

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