As one of the region's most esteemed estates, Ten Minutes by Tractor is leading the way with its curation of culinary experiences and cool-climate wines on the Mornington Peninsula.
Incorporating an award-winning restaurant, intimate private dining spaces, a moody underground cellar, an architectural cellar door and terrace, and a casual wine bar serving innovative snacks and small plates, the experience is well worth the slow and winding commute into the hinterlands of Main Ridge.
The Ten Minutes by Tractor journey began in the 1990s when a collective of three family-run vineyards emerged in the rolling hills of the Mornington Peninsula, each ten minutes by tractor apart. Despite their proximity, each vineyard produced vastly different wines, with distinct styles and profiles emerging from the variations in slopes, soils and altitudes of each site.
By joining forces, the three vineyards created a diverse estate that captured the region's natural wine varieties. Martin and Karen Spedding came across the collective business after years of searching for the perfect spot to grow pinot and cool-climate wines, and knew they’d found something special in the emerging wine region.
Since they purchased the estate in 2004, the pair have transformed Ten Minutes by Tractor into a fine-dining destination spanning eight vineyards and three unique venues. The facilities have received a thoughtful renovation in recent years, with the team at Cox Architecture delivering impactful spaces and meaningful vignettes. Reflective surfaces highlight seasonal changes in the restaurant and cellar door, with exquisite architecture and contrasting textures amplifying the sensory experience of the offering.
Head Chef Hayden Ellis – previously of Dinner by Heston and Vue de Monde – leads an innovative menu with a sustainable, low-waste philosophy. His three and five-course tasting menus celebrate produce pulled from the estate’s regenerative farm, foraged from the nearby coastline, or sourced from regional suppliers on the Mornington Peninsula.
"In the restaurant, our goal is to find those magic combinations between food and wine that have the ability to transform them both," says Martin. The wine list pays particular attention to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – the estate’s flagship varieties – with international drops hand-picked by the sommelier team.
"As well as showcasing our own vintages, the list includes other wines from the region, from around Australia and the world. This provides context that enables us to appreciate the wines produced here and to have a greater understanding of the versatility of the varieties that we focus on", explains Martin.
As you'd expect from a venue of this calibre, the suited service is also outstanding; relaxed, attentive and refined. There’s a sense of confidence and purpose that echoes throughout the entire operation. After your meal, you can linger with a tasting on the terrace or a cheeseboard in the leafy courtyard.
Ten Minutes by Tractor’s cellar door is open daily, with the restaurant operating from Thursday to Sunday, and Allis Wine Bar offering relaxed dining come the weekend.