Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Toast to the Coast 2015 - Day 1 - Celebrating wines from the Bellarine Peninsula

Held each year over the Melbourne Cup long weekend Geelong Wine hosts Toast to the Coast. A festival featuring Wine, Food and Music from the area.

There are three regions in the area, with 33 wineries participating.  Each region offers a variety of award winning cool climate wines so there is plenty to taste and enjoy.

For comfort and ease there are shuttle buses that transport you from winery to winery throughout the day and returning to Geelong or there are private tours available.

It just so happens that my bestie lives in the area (lucky girl) so an extra long weekend away is perfect!

Unfortunately (and typical) of the region, Saturday dawns thundering and raining, but we don't let this deter us.  We make an executive decision to do a few of the surf coast wineries by car first. We head down to Torquay (you know, where the most famous Bell's Beach is).

Okay so this photo was taken back in February when it WAS sunny...LOL

We make a brief and extremely wet visit to Torquay Farmers Market as I wanted to stock up on some Lana's Garden rhubarb relish and vinegar, but unfortunately they are not here this week.  *insert extremely sad face*  but I did pick up two jars of Meredith Dairy Goat's Cheese for $10 each (now to get them home on the plane).

Glasses lined up ready for............

It is a respectable 10am and time for our first winery.  Along the Great Ocean Road (5 mins from Bells Beach) you will find Bellbrae Estate Wines.

We are delighted to be the first visitors (okay, okay tasters) of the festival.  Despite the rain, everyone is jovial and excited about the weekend. 

Starting with the Longboard range, I find this is the more everyday, ready to drink now wines.   Crisp, fresh and light bodied for the whites and the reds are pretty good too! 

The Bellbrae Estate range, where each wine is named after the local surf breaks are more deep and intense (in my opinion) and I really like the Shiraz (and so different from the Longboard Shiraz).

However I find I walk away with a bottle of their tawny port which is so new (as in the day of the festival new) it does not even have a label on it yet!!!

The winery is also offering some lovely cheese platters to enjoy with your wine.  Local cheese, olives and St James Walnuts from Bannockburn (which are the best walnuts I have tasted (not usually a fan)), these platters would be a great way to enjoy a glass or two of Bellbrae wine. 

Next stop is Moriac Grocery Store.  Yeah a grocery store.  Out back we find special guests Dinny Goonan and Brown Magpie Wines

Starting with Dinny Goonan, who are known for their Riesling and Shiraz.  Surprisingly it is the Early Harvest Riesling that tantalises the taste buds.

Brown Magpie Wines are good too and am surprised by the Pinor Noir.

It is unfortunate that with the storms came power failures.  The band couldn't play and there was no food.  It's a shame but who was going to take on mother nature?

Last stop on the Surf Coast route is new comer Mt Duneed Estate.   What a place.  It is a huge venue (thinking wedding and concerts!) and a great place to relax amongst the barrels, nibble on some local produce and sip on some lovely wines or Pettavel beer and ciders.  Grapes are sourced from all over Victoria then blended.

I particularly like the creaminess of their new  Blanc De Blanc Sparkling from the Yea Valley. 

The Pettavel cider is crisp with a huge apple flavour. There is a great beer garden out the back where you can soak up the sunshine (on a sunny day) and take in the view of the vines and the large vats.

Note: A Day on the Green is here at Mt Duneed

We head back to Ocean Grove to drop off the car and make our way onto the Bellarine route.  Thankfully a friend dropped us at Oakdene Estate to start this route (bribed with a bottle of the Bellbrae Estate Shiraz I purchase for him *wink wink*.

With its quirky 'Upside-down House’ Cellar Door the winery's range of wines 'reflect the true varietal character of the region'.  It has an eclectic assortment of odds and sods, bits and pieces that make up the decor.  The gardens are pretty with succulents and leafy trees, rustic furniture and teapots. 


I quite like the Peta's Pinot Noir and even the Chardonnay (which I am not a fan of usually) was okay. 

Epic fail, but I do vaguely remember purchasing a glass of the Peta's Pinot Noir to enjoy with lunch, which was at great big communal table in the garden restaurant. 

Miss N had the wagyu burger and I had the crab and fish cakes (something a little lighter on top of all the wine).  The crab cakes were crispy and hot and had a good amount of fish and crab filling.  My friend loved her burger.  This food was very much needed at this point in the day.

Out back, there is a shed full of rustic old pieces of machinery and sculptures and old bikes. 


Well laid plans don't usually go to plan do they?  Due to a cancelled shuttle, we had time to play and explore some more. Looking back it was probably when things started to get a little messy..hahaha

They say it's like riding a bike....don't think I'm going anywhere....


Due to said cancelled shuttle, when the next bus came through an hour later we were left with the decision of going to the next winery that we wanted to visit or go straight onto Leura Park Estate where the day would end with a winery that had a local band playing and renowned for the party atmosphere.

Leura Park won.

We did some taste testing of their range and we both loved the Ms Flamingo & Associates 2014.  A semi sweet wine blending Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc with a fruity, floral and sweetness to the palate that was very much welcomed after a day of tastings.

A few glasses may have been consumed.

Test Pilot Molly, a local band was playing for the afternoon and worked the crowd. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves and enjoying the party atmosphere....

........some perhaps too much!

This wraps up day 1 of Toast to the Coast.....

Bellbrae Estate Wines
520 Great Ocean Road Bellbrae

Moriac General Store
561 Cape Otway Road, Moriac

Mt Duneed Estate
65 Pettavel Road, Waurn Ponds
Oakdene Wines Pty Ltd
255 Grubb Rd, Wallington
Leura Park Estate
1400 Portarlington Road, Curlewis

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