From Portarlington or Drysdale it’s only a short trip to Terindah Estate, where the glorious views across Port Phillip Bay are equally as spectacular as some of the award winning wines. In his 2016 Australian Wine Companion, James Halliday named Terindah as the Dark Horse Winery of the Year.
Jack Rabbit Vineyard shares a similar breathtaking bay view and has your belly covered for any occasion – casual meals, gourmet take-aways and wine tasting in the House of Jack Rabbit and more formal menu options in the Jack Rabbit Restaurant.
In the food department, you can’t go past the most famous foodie staple in these parts – Australian Blue Mussels. They are grown in the waters just off Portarlington and nearby Clifton Springs and there are fleets of mussel boats docked at the Portarlington pier. Advance Mussel Supply has a retail store and cafe attached to the factory and are also growing Angasi Oysters. Eat in with mussel tasting plates and chowder or take away fresh (or smoked) oysters and mussels. Or, if you’re hankering for that Portarlington Mussel taste and you’re out of town, fresh Sea Bounty mussels are available at all Coles supermarkets.
Also local, Drysdale Cheeses has quickly become a Bellarine institution, a staple on menus all over the region. Corinne (and the goats!) are national finalists in the Delicious Magazine Produce Awards this year. If you’re in the area on the first Sunday of the month, the farm gate is open, otherwise you can pick up stock at Elk Horn Roadhouse, Lonsdale Tomato Farm, Farm Foods Queenscliff or Kilgour Street Grocer. Corinne is also running cheese making classes at the local community centre in Drysdale covering varieties including fetta, haloumi, camembert and cheddar.
Set in the rolling hills, Tuckerberry Hill is a pick-your-own berry farm with 3,000 blueberry bushes on site! Grown organically (and protected from bird with huge net tents over the bushes) you can pick a load of blueberries and strawberries in season, then relax in the on-site café with a coffee and something to eat – naturally, they’re best at berry-delicacies.
This northern side of the Bellarine also boasts hills that make perfect olive groves. Lighthouse Olive Oil and Manzanillo Olive Grove both grow and press their own oil – you can visit either farm gate to learn the craft and taste the product (then take some home!)
The Leura Park Estate cellar door is open every weekend, matching the spectacular range of wines with grazing platters, cheeses, pizzas and other blackboard specials. In winter there's a roaring fire, in summer choose the sunny lawn or an al fresco table under the shade of a market umbrella. Things get funky on Sundays with live music. The premium range of wines includes trophy winning sparkling and a range of options regularly rated more than 90 points by James Halliday.
Opening times are usually seasonal, best to check with operators directly if you’re planning a trip.