So you’re planning a cellar door tour? Awesome! We’re excited too; we’ve missed you all so much. We want you to get up close and personal with the birthplace of our wines, but there are a couple of do’s and don’ts when it comes to visiting a vineyard.
What’s the big deal about quickly walking into a vineyard to snap a photo?
Well, your shoes, tyres and clothing can transmit pests and diseases such as phylloxera, which would have a devastating impact on our vineyards. It happened throughout Europe, which is why Australia is now home to some of the world’s oldest surviving grapevines. Our vines wouldn’t survive a phylloxera infestation – there is no treatment nor cure. The worst part is you wouldn’t know – and neither would we – until it’s too late.
What’s the first thing I should do when I arrive?
Head into the cellar door and chat to the staff about what you’d like to do during your visit. All cellar doors offer wine tastings (some free, some for a small fee) and many also offer food, picnic supplies, tours, games for the kids and more.
Can I walk down the vine rows to take a photo?
No. The vineyard is a pristine farm environment. You can track pests, diseases and weeds into the vineyard on your shoes and clothing. The vineyard is also a workplace. Dangerous machinery and equipment is often used. Please do not enter the vine rows. Ask the cellar door staff about the best place to take photos of the vineyard. An elevated position will give you the best view.
Can I walk down the vine rows if the cellar door staff say it’s OK?
Cellar door staff will always first encourage you to consider alternative activities they have on offer away from vine rows. Please follow all instructions that cellar door staff give you.
Before considering access to vine rows, staff first need to make an assessment of the risks associated with you walking down their vine rows. This will involve them asking you a few short questions about your visits to other cellar doors before coming to theirs, and whether the shoes and clothing you are currently wearing are the same as you’ve worn walking down vine rows in other vineyards in the past three weeks. Your answers to these questions and the location of their vineyard will determine whether walking down their vine rows is a possibility under certain controlled conditions. This could involve you needing to wear provided protective shoes (rubber boots, for example) and clothing, or immersing your footwear in chlorine for 60 seconds.
What areas at the cellar door can I walk or drive on?
Stick to gravel or bitumen roads and paths. Avoid walking or driving on soil. Please do not enter the vine rows. Pests such as the grapevine killer phylloxera can live in soil and be picked up on your tyres or shoes and transferred to another vineyard you visit days or weeks later.
Can I take my picnic into the vine rows if I have a picnic blanket to sit on?
No. As mentioned above, you can track pests, diseases and weeds into the vineyard on your shoes and clothing. Please stay away from the vines. Cellar doors offer many lovely grassy areas for picnics.
Can I take vines or grapes from the vineyard?
No. Grapevine material can also be a vector for pests and diseases. Please leave the environment as you find it.
This all sounds pretty serious, and it is. We love having you visit us, but please, don’t walk among our vines.
OLIVIA BARRIE – CEO, Mornington Peninsula Wine (with thanks to Vinehealth Australia)