Nowadays, the Bellarine Peninsula is renowned as one of Victoria's finest wine regions alongside the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. But that wasn't always the case, and much of that prestigious reputation is owed to Scotchman's Hill, a 40-year-old winery that was among the first to land in the region.
With chief winemaker Robin Brockett at the helm, Scotchmans has been responsible for cool-climate maritime drops that have been rated among James Hallidays' Top 100 Australian wines. It didn't take long for Brockett, who started at Scotchmans as a vineyard manager back in 1988, to be recognised for his work – and for several other wineries in the region to tap him to make their wines.
The cellar door is housed in a French provincial-style building offering sweeping views of the estate's vineyards. It feels old-world, and upon embarking on a tasting, you'll soon realise this philosophy applies to the wines, too. While Scotchmans does produce some entry-level wines (Swan Bay) to feed the current Australian appetite to consume young drops, Brockett is dedicated to crafting wines for the cellar. Visitors can choose between a basic tasting of five current vintages or a premium tasting of six wines that includes selections from the back vintage cellar reserve.
After you've whetted your appetite with a few wines, you can pop over to the Bistro for lunch. The menu champions produce from the Bellarine, with highlights being a flakey mushroom and walnut filo turnover served atop a sweet pumpkin mash and a slow-cooked red wine and vanilla beef cheek that pairs well with a medium-bodied and spicy shiraz.
The cellar door is open daily from 11.30am to 4pm for tastings and wine sales, and the bistro is open from Thursday to Sunday from 11.30 to 4pm.