When I think of a 'winery', I think snobs, and good cheese, and a layer of class and knowledge unbeknownst to the average man. Port Phillip Estate at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula (about an hour drive from Melbourne) has all of this, and so much more. Rolling hills of glowing vineyards, stunning views, huge glass windows you would hate to have to clean yourself, and friendly staff that retain both a professional and cheeky interaction. I really enjoyed myself there, I have to admit it. The wines ranged from about $25, however the food at the restaurant wasn't necessarily cheap. Though, when you're sitting around laughing haughtily with friends, surrounded by world class vistas and gourmet menus it's hard to really care all that much about price.
On arrival you're met with a strange, undulating building exterior, reminiscent of a Bond villain's abode. Then, after a large wooden, self-opening door allows you entry you're greeted by an enormous bunch of hydrangeas and tasteful decor, all flooded with the natural light pouring in from the aforementioned massive expanse of windows. It would have been nice to be greeted by someone though. A smile goes a long way.
We had to wait for a place at the long wine-tasting bar, which was annoying but has to be expected. When we finally did begin our tasting journey, ($10 fee, but that can be deducted from a bottle of wine at the end of your session) we were not disappointed. The whites were nice - some were a little watery at times I felt - however the Cabernet Sauvignon was delicious. The reds were much better, and the staff were even better still. I was served by the wry and benevolent Leonie, who I hope serves you. She knew so much about the wines, yet didn't make me feel like an idiot once. That's an achievement - I don't know a whole lot about the wine-making exercise, but she was friendly and knowledgeable. A nice combination.
Overall, the experience is one I'll repeat often, in summer, after a lazy morning at the beach. And I strongly suggest you go and try it all for yourself. Enjoy.
Info at: http://www.portphillipestate.com.au/