Elgee Park – probably the oldest vineyard on the peninsula (within the last hundred years) but not the oldest commercial winery – that honour goes to Main Ridge Estate.  The vineyard is quite intriguing because it sits within a large estate owned by the Baillieu Myer family, and so is generally not open to the public.  On 10th June it was opened to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the vineyard and to be part of the Queen’s birthday celebrations.  In the past you have been able to access the cellar door via Wallaces Road off the Nepean Highway, and then exit through the estate to Myers/Junction Road – have a look at that on your favourite mapping application to get a feel for the size of the estate.  This time though that wasn’t to be, which is a shame because it is a beautiful part of the peninsula.  If you want to taste Elgee Park wines at any time of the year, the cellar door is part of the Merricks General Store – with Baillieu and Quealy wines.

Every time Elgee Park opens it is a very popular event and this time was no exception.  I didn’t get there till late in the afternoon and you could tell that a lot of people had been through and had had a very good time.  And it is fun – a place where “connections” need to see and be seen – where an older Baillieu Myer makes a heart warming speech about the wonderful state of the world, and where you can get tired and emotional through a heady combination of too much Pinot Noir and fine sculpture.  It also happened to have some of the best looking cellar door staff I’ve seen anywhere on the peninsula and yes, in this game looks do matter – but only if you’re a bit squiffy and not that worried about the wine anyway.  The last time I was there (four years ago) a friend of mine just had to kiss a former Australian Prime Minister – that is the kind of thing we’re dealing with here.

Elgee Park open day

But the wine – all good, made by two of the best wine makers on the peninsula – Kathleen Quealy and Geraldine McFaul.  Loved the sparkling, and on the day the Riesling 2011 was the stand out white for me.  Excellent Pinot Noir too but a bit problematic.  I kept wanting to put it into the Fine category, but it just isn’t there yet, so at $45 a bottle it struck me as being expensive.

So try and get there the next time it opens.  It’s not so much about the wine, because there always is the General Store, but the atmosphere of the event itself.