Behind a barrel-clad frontage in Dromana Industrial Estate, you’ll find Rahona Valley: The Mornington Peninsula’s home of sparkling wine. On a sunny afternoon, you can kick back in the leafy front courtyard with a glass of local bubbles and a cheese platter, or head inside to explore some of the best cool climate drops in the region.
Step through the double doors to find a matte black tasting room with custom timber tables, high barrel stools, and comfy leather couches to sink into. The space feels like a moody gallery, with wine bottles hanging in antique riddling racks and dried lavender and citrus strung overhead.
Owners Toby Pieters and Dianne Gardiner took the reins of Rahona Valley in 2014, then set upon a modest three acre property in Red Hill South. Today, the estate spans 20 acres across the Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania, with vineyards in Main Ridge, Arthurs Seat, Tuerong and Balnarring.
Here, their signature sparkling wines are made using the traditional method – whole-pressed, barrel fermented and matured – with each bottle spending a minimum of three years on lees. It’s a lesson in patience and a process fine-tuned by winemakers Natalie Fryar and Alisdair Park.
Though Rahona Valley is known for their sparkling rosé, the Sorrento Moon Cuvée Spritz is the pick for summer. It’s a delicate combination of sparkling wine, sweet orange and native botanicals, including Davidson’s plum, rosella flowers and Tasmanian pepperberry. The ready-to-serve spritz is light, refreshing and perfect for picnics; just add ice and a slice of dehydrated blood orange.
A sophisticated grazing menu accompanies the wine list, featuring local produce from Torello Farm, Main Ridge Olive Co, and their neighbours at Boatshed Cheese. If you’re feeling snackish, try the Boatshed Baked Brie, or go all-out and order the Winemakers Grazing Platter to share. There’s also a tight retail section of crisps, condiments and glassware perfect for gifting.
Whilst the Mornington Peninsula is flush with established wineries and budding winemakers, few have the equipment or expertise required for sparkling wine production. Recognising this gap in the market, Toby and Dianne opened their state-of-the-art Australian Cuvée Centre in 2020, decked out with modern equipment for winemaking, filtration, bottling and packaging. Not only do they develop their own range here, but they also support the region’s top winemakers in crafting their offerings.
In 2022, the team set up the tasting room and wine bar in Dromana, joining a growing collective of boutique producers in the area. Located on the main drag between an organic knit studio and gym, it’s a hidden gem and the last place you’d expect to find a boujee wine bar. Those visiting the estate for the first time can start at the cellar door with a tasting, before heading off for a candle-making workshop, a gin masterclass, a craft beer or a hot-buttered rum – all but a stone's throw away.
Rahona Valley is open from Friday to Sunday, with live music in the dog-friendly courtyard on Friday afternoons. To make a booking or discover upcoming events and sparkling masterclasses, visit the website.