Darling Park Winery
232 Red Hill Road, Red Hill, VIC
03 5989 2324
“With wine and hope, anything is possible”.
The Mornington Peninsula is well represented with female vignerons who, for some time, have been making their stamp on the quality of the region’s wine and the philosophy that goes into making it.
Darling Park winemaker, Judy Gifford, is a graduate of the University of Burgundy and has worked in Burgundy, Alsace and Bordeaux in France, New Zealand, California and China. With 15 years of experience making wine on the Mornington Peninsula, Judy has brought enormous talent to the region.
She has been the winemaker and manager at Darling Park since 2005, and her winemaking philosophy is based on allowing the terroir to speak for itself. According to Judy that means low crops, organic and sustainable growing, indigenous yeasts, moderate use of oak – in general, fairly traditional (French influenced, modern Australian) winery practices.
Judy said that Darling Park has been highly selective of their vineyard sites, and only those with a proven history to produce premium, superior quality fruit are chosen for their wine. Today, the vineyards are planted to produce pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, shiraz and viognier.
Hosting specialised tasting events, Judy guides guests through a selection of the Darling Park wines paired to a delicious regionally sourced cheeseboard in front of the vineyard’s roaring fire. If you plan ahead, you can book a delightful picnic hamper to enjoy with that special someone in a quiet spot amongst the vines.
Judy said, “Fruit quality and fruit character determine 90% of the result. That is, the better the fruit, the better the wine – in principle. As for character or personality, the climate, weather, aspect, soils, trellising, pruning, crop level, clone and an endless range of other factors make their contribution.”
Darling Park can also be the ideal venue for your next function, as they cater for wedding ceremonies, receptions, birthdays or corporate functions. The cellar door seats up to 40 guests, or a vineyard marquee can be placed for larger functions.
Open for lunch every day, the short café-style menu offers delicious regional, seasonal platters and light dishes, based around local produce. The Red Hill board features a mouth-watering selection of cornichons, terrine, prosciutto, olives, red wine pear, frittata, and marinated peppers. This is the perfect combination to enjoy with a glass of Darling Park wine in hand while sitting looking out into the vineyards. Or for the sweet tooth, a Warm Rhubarb-Apple Cashew Crumble with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar could be the perfect choice.
The fine fare that is sampled on the menu can also be taken back home. With an array of Red Hill cheeses, olive oil, relishes, mustards, dukkah, and cherry vinegar – all can be taken home to share with your own family and friends.