Hi Gordon, sounds a nice trip. Generally speaking, visiting Australian wineries is a wine lover’s dream; so many to see and everywhere has a warm welcome, usuall walk-ins are welcome and tasting flights free. It’s much, much better than Napa Valley; for example. The main downside for me was that, actually, the scenery is quite dull and monotonous unlike many other of the Globe’s famous wine regions.
Going cellar door crawling and tasting for me has two main purposes - and especially the case in Australia - both tasting and experiencing great wines of course, but also for the history and legacy so engrained in the Australian wine heritage where there are several examples of the oldest surviving vines of one or other variety thanks to many areas remaining phylloxera-free to this day. But you’ll know all this.
So, here goes. I am only mentioning cellar door / winery visits which had a lasting positive impression, and numbers about 1/3 of those we did visit. I’d look them up on their respective websites to see if they fit your bill.
Adelaide Hills - Geoff Hardy @ K1, Deviation Road, Shaw & Smith
(Remember Penfold’s old Magill Estate is in Adelaide suburbs and is definitely worth visiting not least for the history. They have Grange by the glass at the tasting counter and a very nice brasserie diner )
Eden Valley - Henschke, Eden Valley wines ( a tasting room showing a number of smaller independents’ wares), Yalumba
McLaren Vale - Kay Bros, d’Arenberg, Yangarra, Kangarilla Road. It’s also worth finding time to call into Hardy’s original Tintara winery where on display is the oldest Australian vintage wine (1867) Similarly the Reynell building oozing history is open to visitors though now is Accolade’s regional admin HQ.
Barossa - Two Hands (this is a paid tasting but the souvenir wine glass is worth money and was my favourite wine glass for a few years before someone, remaining nameless, broke it), Seppeltsfield (now independent once again, check out the vintage brandies over 100 years old), Langmeil (oldest shiraz vines - 1847 - in the world and still in production) Rockford, Turkey Flat, and Bethany (the best views of Barossa are from here and not further up at the sculpture park)
Legacy visits in Barossa - Chateau Tanunda with a lively tasting hall, and yes I do suggest it, Jacob’s Creek. Get there as soon as they open to avoid the coach trips, and pause besides the actual creek, though it will be dry when you go.
Then you are going over to Victoria ? Are you driving or flying to Melbourne. If the former, of course you’ll go through Coonawarra, then Grampians, Heathcote, Geelong etc etc ? I guess you’re not, though as you’d have mentioned it, but I can supply recommendations for these regions too.
So, now from Melbourne …
You mentioned Mornington P. but not Yarra Valley ? Personally if I only had time for one or the other I’d go with Yarra. I found Mornington wineries a chore to visit on the whole, many double up as restaurants, it’s very on-trend and the wine is quite pricey and usually tastings are paid -for. You’re right, it’s Pinot central but there as some very good PNs in Yarra.
Mornington - Paringa (yes good but pricey PN, very nice Chardonnay), Kooyong (very nice comprehensive tasting) plus Moorooduc and Ocean 8. It’s also worth popping into the tasting bar at Merrick’s General Store which showcases smaller independents.
(Avoid 10 mins by Tractor, Stonier, T’Gallant and I wasn’t that enthused by Yabba Lake though it’s a nice setting)
Again, if you want suggestions for Yarra let me know, I will just say that by far the best PN we had in 8 weeks in Oz was at Pimpernel in Yarra.
Finally, Tassie - you have a good innings here by the sounds of it. So you have the North (Tamar) the Coal and Derwent valleys and out east to Bicheno ? You could if you were obsessional like me, travel to Bruny Island - Australia’s southernmost wine region - but honestly it’s for completionists not those with limited time. Anyway,
Tamar - Josef Chromy, Jansz, and the best fizz we had in Oz - Delamere.
Out East - Spring Vale, Freycinet, and surprisingly despite the hordes, Devil’s Corner. Great views too
Finally, Coal and Derwent - Frogmore Creek, Pooley (get lunch here…. !), & Moorilla
So that’s about it but let me know if you need more padding or elaboration