From its humble beginnings as a hobby farm, Stonier’s story begins with Brian Stonier (above), who was one of the first vignerons in the Mornington Peninsula. He planted Chardonnay in 1978, while his kids were surfing at the local beach. This viticultural hobby grew to become a great love for Brian, and in honour of his other great love, Champagne, he planted Pinot Noir in 1982.
Stonier and the Mornington Peninsula have subsequently built their world-renowned reputation on these two varieties, as the region’s cool maritime climate makes for the perfect canvas to bring these varieties to life.
After the first planting of Chardonnay in 1978, followed by Pinot Noir in 1982, Stonier released its very first Pinot Noir stamped with the 1986 vintage. In 1991, Stonier’s new winery and cellar door were completed, designed by renowned Melbourne architect Daryl Jackson. The building was officially opened by then Governor of Victoria, Dr Davis McCaughey.
In 2000, Stonier punctuated the beginning of its profound support of the Pinot Noir variety by hosting the inaugural Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting (SIPNOT). It was the first significant Australian event involving trade and media looking at Pinot Noir from an international perspective. Len Evans, Brian Croser and James Halliday became long-term panel members.
While Stonier encouraged Australian wine lovers to look beyond Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the world began to take notice of Stonier with Decanter’s accolade given to Stonier's 1997 Reserve Pinot Noir as Best New World Red Wine of the Year. This award was followed by the 2001 International Wine Challenge in London where Stonier won the Trophy for Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine of Show for its 1999 Stonier Reserve Chardonnay.
Stonier’s focus on Single Vineyard Wines began to gain momentum at the turn of the new decade with the release of its 2000 KBS Vineyard Chardonnay.
Since then, Stonier has enjoyed taking SIPNOT all over the world every year, travelling to Sydney, London and Melbourne. This annual event has become a firm favourite on the wine calendar, with industry luminaries attending every year.
Stonier's dedication to crafting premium Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wine has never been stronger. The wines distincly reflect the vineyards from which they come, expressing true varietal characteristics and Mornington Peninsula terroir.
MORNINGTON PENINSULA HISTORY
The Mornington Peninsula represents the perfect coastal getaway, with its gently undulating hills, tranquil vineyards and its dreamy seaside playground. The region’s wine production dates back to the late 1880s, when a Mornington Peninsula wine received an honourable mention at London’s Intercontinental Exhibition. But it wasn’t until 80-plus years later that a small group of aspiring winemakers and vineyard owners, including Stonier’s Brian Stonier, instigated a winemaking revival, sparking the beginning of continuous wine production in the early 1970s.
The whole region is surrounded by water on its three sides – Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay – making the region a true maritime climate with no vineyard site in the Mornington Peninsula further than 7km from the ocean. The Mornington Peninsula’s soils differ across the region, ranging from deep fertile sandy soils in the northern area, yellow and brown soils over friable, well-drained clay and russet-red volcanic-based soils in the south. Elevation ranges between 25-250m and the mean January temperature sits at 19.4C.
At only an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, this region is a popular weekend destination, with many gourmet dining options and boutique accommodation on offer. Find out more about visiting the Mornington Peninsula here.