10 Reasons to Visit Merricks Creek Winery this Weekend
Merricks Creek Winery is a popular and bespoke winery acclaimed by many and is one of the standout cellar door experiences in Victoria. I can't count the number of times I've bumped into people who have visited Merricks Creek Winery and who have given it a glowing report. From what I can gauge many people are tired of over commercialised wineries that lack soul and are keen to visit bespoke wineries for a personal unique experience. Here are 10 reasons to visit Merricks Creek Winery this weekend -
1. Modern funky cellar door
Merricks Creek cellar door is a triumph of design with a modern and rustic appearance that also blends beautifully with the landscape. Drive down a driveway with vineyards on either side to the car park and walk a few steps to the cellar door which is stylish and fashionable. Check out the art pieces, the textures, the various dining spaces. there's a joyful vibrant tone to this cellar door. Unlike some cellar doors which are dark, Merricks Creek has an open vista to the vineyard and natural light streaming in.
In winter there are several fireplaces, so it's great to visit in any season.
You will often see groups here enjoying themselves, the kitchen a hive of activity and attentive staff provide table service. All the doors and windows are bi-fold so there's a wonderful flow and open aspect to the cellar door experience.
2. Stunning Pinot Noir and Estate Chardonnay
Merricks Creek produces some of the best Pinot Noir in Australia. Says James Halliday, "The pinot noir vineyard established by Peter and Georgina Parker has consistently produced grapes of exceptional quality. It is planted to a sophisticated collection of clones, and includes a small planting at an ultra-high density of 0.5m spacing, which produces the Close Planted Pinot Noir." The Pinot Noir is made in the French Burgundy style and combines legendary French techniques with the superb terroir of the region. The close planted Pinot Noir is exceptional with intensity of flavour. Not to mention the premium Estate Chardonnay.
3. Amazing affordable gourmet share plates
What sort of food do you want at a winery? I want to enjoy food with wine and relax. I don't necessarily want formal. I definitely don't want a dull menu that appeals to the broad range of people who arrive on buses to some wineries. I have a gourmet palate and appreciate the affordable gourmet share plates at Merricks Creek Winery. I also want value for money, not inflated winery prices. The Parkers are gourmet foodie people with a penchant for fine wine and food. Their menu is exactly what I want at a cellar door.
You can sit down with a glass of Pinot Noir over a reasonably priced cheese plate or terrine, or go expansive and order several share plates such as the popular Swiss Raclette (spectacular for the price), the 6 hour slow cooked pulled Lamb Shoulder and mushy pear, the Osso Buco, and the list goes on. A wide variety of dishes at affordable prices is excellent for a bespoke winery. Georgina Parker is working wonders in the kitchen. And the dessert game has always been strong - check out the Passionfruit Curd Tart to die for.
4. Stunning vineyard setting
One of the highlights for me is the stunning vineyard setting. (Image Robert Hamer Photography). When I first visited Merricks creek Dr Peter Parker told me the raised deck overlooking the vineyards was purposely super close so that you feel you are in the vineyards. He told me there is only enough room "to turn a tractor" between the raised deck of the cellar door and the vineyards. I consider this vista to be magical. The point is that not only do you look out directly at the vineyards the raised aspect means you are looking out over the vineyards, which is magnificent!
You can see the vineyards while tasting wine at cellar door and you can see them not only from the raised deck dining area but also from other dining spaces. I should also mention the delightful gardens that are in the style of Monet gardens. Truly French! You can sit outside in the gardens under the trees and appreciate the plants and flowers and beautiful expanse of lawn. So relaxing and a break from city life.
5. Bespoke - you only get their wines at cellar door
A thrill is to visit a winery where you only get their wines at cellar door. This was pointed out by wine and food icon Hilary McNevin in her article. Many of the processes of making the wine involve the personal touch of Peter and Sam Parker. Even the way the Pinot Noir grapes are crushed and cooled to 12 degrees celsius for fermentation in the Burgundy style. The way Peter Parker lights a match to see how fermentation is progressing. Each vintage is so different and part of the fun at cellar door can be to identify your favourite vintage. You can purchase the wines from cellar door and take them home, as many do. With limited release, there is only a small amount of each wine available. I know several professionals highly successful in business who are Pinot Noir devotees who rate Merricks Creek Pinot Noir among their favourites.
6. Family run and engaging staff
One big family! There's something about a family run business where they are all involved. Even if you visit on a busy day you are engaged by attentive friendly staff who are obviously enthusiastic about Merricks Creek. Dr Peter Parker is a fabulous winemaker who is charming and informative at cellar door, with talented Georgina Parker in the kitchen, and son Sam Parker is also involved in the winemaking (as well as his own funky wines). Also Georgia-May Parker is involved in administration and marketing. The whole staff seem to me like a big family who work excellently together.
7. New funky wines
Merricks Creek offer premium Pinot Noir, Estate Chardonnay and also a couple of funky wines by Sam Parker, the Wing it Wines Pinot Gris and the Jolly Molly Pinot Noir. Tasting with Dr Peter Parker is fun and his passion for wine is contagious.
8. Barrel tasting
By appointment and arrangement Dr Peter Parker takes groups on a barrel tasting to the adjoining winery. This is a fascinating and fun insight into Merricks Creek Winery.
9. Riedel glasses
Merricks Creek uses proper and stylish Riedel glasses for its wines, unlike other cellar doors. I found this to be amazing! It actually enhances the taste of the wine to have such glassware in our opinion. Part of the little touches you discover at this bespoke winery experience.
10. Only an hour from Melbourne
A delightful drive to Mornington Peninsula is part of the experience and Merricks Creek is in an attractive part of the Peninsula only an hour from Melbourne. There is also a nearby beach as an added attraction if you're up for a beach stroll. Highly recommended.