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Wednesday 2 December 2015

Crittenden Estate offers a very different wine tasting experience

Forget jostling with fellow wine lovers at a tasting bar while a lone cellar door person attempts to pour and describe wines for several groups who all arrived at the cellar door at different times, and who all want to sample something different. 

That's the old-style cellar door experience; which is on its way out as cellar door visitors seek a more fun and informative a tasting experience. 

Siblings Rollo and Zoe Crittenden, the second-generation vignerons at Crittenden Estate on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, have embarked on an exciting new era in wine tourism with the opening earlier this year of the Crittenden Wine Centre, a dedicated wine education centre where guests get a personalised tasting experience.

The Crittenden Wine Centre aims to give visitors to the Crittenden Estate family farm an insightful and fulfilling experience, encouraging them to taste and learn about the wines at their own pace in seated, relaxed environment.

Rollo Crittenden said the centre - a delightfully light and bright space - represented “a new model for wine tourism, designed to optimise the enjoyment and learning experience of an Australian winery". 

"The Crittenden Wine Centre is a place where people can come to learn as much as they desire about our wines and the local region at a pace of their choosing," he said. 

Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed and given an introduction to Crittenden Estate before being offered a place to sit and asked which varietals they are most interested in tasting. Visitors are then presented with tasting notes in either written form or via interactive presentations on electronic tablet devices, and experienced and qualified wine educators are on hand to guide them through the wines.

Crittenden Estate is well known for the diversity of wine styles it produces, which makes it an ideal venue for a tasting centre of this kind, with up to 26 wines available for sampling.

Crittenden Estate produces wines from the Mornington Peninsula’s signature varieties of pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as Italian varieties under the Pinocchio label, and Spanish varieties under the Los Hermanos label. 

Family patriarch Garry Crittenden said: "The time was right to create a tasting facility such as this on the Peninsula, as it is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading wine tourism destinations.

"We aim for visitors to leave our new home feeling relaxed, engaged, fulfilled and well-informed about our wines. It’s a more personal approach to wine tasting, and people are really enjoying it.”

And, of course, visitors can enjoy an excellent dining experience either pre- or post-tasting at the excellent Stillwater at Crittenden restaurant, or stay overnight in the recently-refurbished Lakeside Villas accommodation suites. 

Crittenden Estate was first planted in 1982 and is home to some of the oldest vines on the Mornington Peninsula. Garry Crittenden is one of the pioneers of the region’s wine industry and has been acknowledged for his work in championing Italian varietals in Australia. 

But with Rollo at the winemaking helm and Zoe leading the marketing charge, the second generation at Crittenden Estate is now making its own mark.

Crittenden Estate, 25 Harrisons Road, Dromana. (03) 5981 8322.

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