Let’s start off with full-blown, brutal honesty.
Peta (of Trainee Mama) and I really don’t know much about wine, except that we like a few of one type, are open to try a few of another type, and the bottles that have pretty labels are fine too.
But, we’re fancy ladies in our (very early) thirties and there are some things we just must learn. So we’ve challenged ourselves to act a little more grown up, step away from the bargain corner at BWS, and really learn about wines, to better appreciate our favourite drink. It’s time for some cellar door tasting!
The problem with cellar door tastings is that someone usually has to drive which significantly reduces their ability to fully appreciate the cellar doors. Of course one can spit the wine out but that would be quite the waste of good wine, so we were both thrilled when we were offered a driver for our day out exploring Sunshine Coast Wineries. And he wasn’t just any old driver, we were lucky enough to spend a day with Nev, the very knowledgeable manager of Sunshine Wine Tours.
This was the first time I have visited any of the lovely wineries in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, and I can tell you it won’t be the last! Peta and I were gifted a fantastic Decadent Day Tour from Sunshine Wine Tours, and haven’t stopped raving about it – it’s the perfect Mid-Winter’s Day Out!
Nev had arranged to pick us up from Sunshine Plaza at 9am, and neither Peta or I planned on driving anywhere that day, so Peta’s husband picked me up and I got to start my day sitting in the backseat of their car holding hands with Ned. (We can all agree that’s a pretty awesome start to the day. Warm little chubby hands. Divine.)
Jumping onboard Nev’s bus, we met two other ladies who would be enjoying the day tour with us, a lovely mother and daughter from Cairns who were spending time together as the daughter had recently moved to the Sunshine Coast – this would be a great way to see some of your new hometown and show off to visiting relatives! Heading to Mooloolaba, we picked up the final two guests for the day’s tour, a couple of Kiwis – resplendent in short-sleeve shirts, shorts and thongs, whilst Peta and I and the two Cairns ladies were rugged up for a QLD Winter!
Nev is a font of information, and after a quick trip along the Bruce Highway, we stopped outside for the Landsborough Museum for a really interesting five-minute history lesson. I won’t tell you everything so that you can can experience it for yourself, but tales of pushing GIANT trees down the Range, and men holding hands and dancing at bush dances in the 1800’s had Peta and I astonished!
Wearing FCUK parka / Katies sweater and necklace / Piper shirt / RayBan aviators (outfit details further down this post)
Mary Cairncross Park
Our next stop was Mary Cairncross Park, which has to have one of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen! Nev had popped a bottle of sparkling by now (I love that he provides some bubbles to start the day in style!), and we’d all enjoyed a tipple on the way up the mountains. Standing in the very brisk wind and beautiful sunshine, Peta and I shivered our way through a few outfit shots, but the vista was worth it! Another history lesson here (lots of really interesting stuff about the local Gubbi-Gubbi people and early pioneers) and it was back to the bus for our first winery visit.
Maleny Mountain Wines was a great first stop; cosy and warm, the barrel-shaped cellar door was full of knick-knacks and stuff for wine lovers, and we took a seat to try a selection of their sparkling, white, red and dessert wines. (For those not in the know, Port can no longer be called Port. Apparently the snobs in Portugal have trademarked the name.)
Delicious champagne and strawberry candle – am SO regretting not buying it!
We were given an bit of an introduction to wine tasting and then we got down to the serious business. As a fairly safe Sav Blanc drinker, I tried to step out of my comfort zone and ask for the ‘bigger’ tasting wines when were offered a choice. I came away still only loving Sauvignon Blanc, but at least I tried! Thinking about the wines objectively, I’m positive that more experienced wine-lovers would have definitely enjoyed more than a few of the locally made wines on offer at Maleny Mountain Wines.
I tried some red. I really, really did. But the red did not like me.
Maleny Cheese Factory
Next, we were off to Maleny Cheese. CHEESE! I had never visited this cheese factory before, despite often venturing much further afield to Kenilworth to stock the fridge with cheese. No need anymore, I’m thrilled to report that Maleny Cheese has an excellent variety of really different and unusual cheeses and yogurts, friendly staff, and it’s only 40 mins away from home! There is a cafe and shop attached to the factory, a glass viewing window into the factory to watch the cheesemaking process, and the staff were more than happy to give me samples of any of their cheeses. (So I asked for a lot of samples.) I purchased a wedge of delicious bitey King Island Stormy (a washed rind cheese with a stronger taste than that of regular Camembert or Brie), as well as a great local feta which will be amazing in salads.
I think I tried most of them. Ok, maybe I tried them all.
After piling us all back into the bus, Nev drove us to the charming village of Montville. I have very fond childhood memories of Montville, as my favourite great-aunt and great-uncle lived in this little town, and visited them was like visiting Aladdin’s cave. Lots of brightly coloured shawls decorated their home, and my great-aunt (who was a yarn-spinner) would let me play with her huge collection of pretty wools and embroidery threads.
Don = hilarious and brilliant, and an excellent guide to both wine novices and aficionados.
We were taken to the Montville cellar door of Mason Wines, a winery in Glen Aplin in far Southern Queensland. If I was thinking I was cold up on the mountain, I can only imagine the feeling out at the actual winery! Don of Mason Wines guided us through their entire wine range, and taught me more in the 30 minutes sipping wine than I would’ve learnt from all the books I could get my hands on. Don was delightful and entertaining, and I never felt out of my wine depth. (Although, I had to sit down at one point… Don’s ‘three sips’ rule was going to my head, and I needed something to line my stomach!)
Lunch was at Montville Bar and Grill, a beautiful Tudor-style inn with generous and cosy seating indoors with a potbelly stove, and plenty of tables on the lawn and in the rotunda outside, which is where we settled as a group (obviously Peta and I snaffled the seats closest to the heater). I enjoyed a delicious duck main meal, but had some serious meal envy when Peta’s seafood linguine arrived.
My meal of Confit of Murray Duck Leg on a bed of creamy leek and parsnip puree, served with ham and cheese croquette, rocket parmesan salad and spiced plums. It tasted as good as it sounds.
Peta’s Seafood Linguine of mussels, prawns, scallops, calamari, market fish and lemon chilli herbs. Jealous right now.
I finished with something sweet (although I don’t know where I had room for it) – a tasty banana and caramel gateau.
After relaxing with a very full belly by the outdoor gas heater and chatting with our lovely wine tour companions, we strolled down Montville’s adorable main street to Chocolate Country. Yep. Wine, cheese and chocolate. Nev’s got this thing very well-planned.
Being told about the ten types of chocolate we were getting to taste at Chocolate Country… ten.
Chocolate Country is a lovely little shop producing a lot of different types of chocolate barks and chocolate truffles, and stocking plenty of really unusual chocolate and candy. Trialing them all was a real drag. Could have stocked up big time there, but thank goodness I resisted. Right next door was Nutworks… and the scent of cinnamon candied almonds was floating up the street in a very enticing way.
Nutworks really has a great way of attracting customers… this vintage vendor’s wagon had a lovely steaming pot of cinnamon candied almonds pumping out a very delicious fragrance.
Such a gorgeous way to display retro sodas at Nutworks.
After a very welcome
digestion walk stroll around the village of Montville, Peta and I snapped a few more outfit photos, then headed back to Chocolate Country for a very chocolatey takeaway hot-chocolate for the ride home. Wearing Katies sweater*, jeans (similar here) and necklace* (similar here) / Piper shirt (similar here) / FCUK timber-framed clutch / RayBan aviators
We were a pretty quiet bunch on the drive back to the pick-up spots of Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, but I’m sure it was just that we were all blissed out, very full, and very relaxed – I know I was!
Peta and I experienced the Decadent Day Tour courtesy of Sunshine Wine Tours (thanks so much Nev), and had a fabulous day together. Sunshine Wine Tours also cater for those interested in local craft beer and microbreweries, so if enjoying a day out without the driving but with added fun is on the cards, give Nev a call.
Also, Peta wrote a fab post about our day out – you can read it HERE.
*These items were purchased with a discount voucher provided by Katies, with no obligation to feature product on the blog.