Crittenden family development heralds new era for wine tourism

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By Joel Cohen

The second generation of the Crittenden wine family has embarked on an exciting new era in wine tourism with the opening of the Crittenden Wine Centre, a dedicated education centre at Crittenden Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

The Crittenden Wine Centre gives 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 a seated, relaxed environment.

Family patriarch Garry Crittenden along with winemaker son Rollo and daughter Zoe are the trio behind the new cellar door concept. Rollo Crittenden said the Centre 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,” Rollo added.

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

In addition, the Crittenden Wine Centre is a place where visitors can learn about the many attributes of the Mornington Peninsula wine region, as well as the grape growing and winemaking process. 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. Visitors to the Crittenden Wine Centre have the opportunity to taste and learn about not just what the Peninsula does best, but about the range of fascinating varietals from northern Italy and Spain.

I attended in January and was treated to the reds and whites wine flight where I was presented with five examples of local wines by wine centre supervisor Gavin. I tasted a Sparkling, a Fume Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Tempranillo. They were all excellent, with the Geppetto NV Brut and the Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir being stand outs for me.

I met Garry, who like the Cheshire cat is slowly but inexorably fading from the scene, at the centre where he was tending to the flowers. He commented: “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,” Garry added.

In keeping with the personal approach, I was told that the new centre is built in the place of the old Crittenden family residence, right where Zoe and Rollo’s bedrooms were as children. During the renovation it was found that the word ‘Zoe’ was engraved in the cement foundation.

Zoe Crittenden, who now looks after the companies’ marketing, pointed out the natural synergy that exists between the Crittenden Wine Centre and the newly refurbished Lakeside Villas accommodation suites on the estate, together with the ‘Stillwater at Crittenden’ restaurant – “We like to provide guests with the complete package in one location,” Zoe said.

Crittenden Estate first planted in 1982 and is now home to some of the oldest vines on the Mornington Peninsula. Garry Crittenden is one of the pioneers of the region’s wine industry. He has been acknowledged for his work in championing Italian varietals in Australia, for which he was inducted as a “Legend” by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Committee in 2012.

Son Rollo Crittenden is also awarded in the wine industry, being named “Young Gun of Wine” in 2010.

With Rollo at the winemaking helm and Zoe leading the marketing charge, the second generation at Crittenden Estate is heralding a new era in wine tourism.


The Crittenden Wine Centre – Now Open on the Mornington Peninsula

For more information contact:

Crittenden Estate, 25 Harrisons Road, Dromana

Ph: (03) 5981 8322


Mention this article to receive a free wine flight


One 12 month wine alliance membership will be given away to the best and most creative response to the question: “Why I really want to go to the new Crittenden Estate Wine Centre”. This includes two dozen free wines delivered to your door and free tastings. Email responses to

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