Quealy Winemakers: An Authentic Experience
Address: 62 Bittern-Dromana Road, Balnarring VIC 3926
Varieties: Sparking Muscat, Friulano, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Moscato, Pinot Noir, interesting blends
Kathleen Quealy is one of the most, if not the most well-known winemakers on the Peninsula. The first person to plant Pinot Gris/Grigio in Australia, she is a pioneer of the industry. Kathleen and her husband Kevin McCarthy launched T Gallant winery (now owned by Treasury Wine Estate) in the early 90’s. Kevin was the winemaker at T Gallant up until 2014.
The cellar door is smack bang in the middle of a working winery. There is nothing fancy here but on any given day you could be served by the winemaker, cellar door/marketing manager, the vineyard manager, Kathleen’s son Tom, Kevin or Kathleen herself, depending on who is around.
Special mention must go to the wide range of animals found here. There is a famous overly-friendly cat named Ninja, each staff member has a dog (or 2)
This is a really authentic experience which may or may not include a casual tour of the winery, blind tasting or a cat or a dog sitting at your feet. It all depends on the day.
Working winery (Source: Quealy Winemakers instagram)
This is a real Wine Compass favourite. Interesting and well priced wines are on show here, with a varied selection. In the whites, Pinot Gris and Friulano are the stars. Quealy winemakers were also the first to plant this Italian grape in Australia which is a close relative of Sauvignon Blanc but with more delicate floral flavours.
A few excellent examples of Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir are always on taste and are a bit more reasonably priced then “up the hill” at some of the more fancy wineries.
Another variety Quealy is synonymous with is Muscat. They produce 2 dry varieties which are super interesting, with a nose that makes you expect a sweet wine, but the palate is dry and 2 sweet varieties, the bottle fermented Sparkling Moscato and Moscato Rouge are Moscato’s done right. They may not be to everyone’s taste but they sure are conversation starters
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The cellar door tastings are conducted in the winery. You’ll be surrounded by barrels and machinery as you taste these great wines. For most groups it delivers a fantastic contrast to the beautiful, manicured outlooks of many Red Hill wineries .
As mentioned it’s not fancy, but it’s great if you are interested in wine and the process and are after a great experience. Probably not the place for hens parties or larger groups.
What we like
Great cellar door experience, interesting and well priced wines, the opportunity to meet the most famous winemaker on the Peninsula in a laidback setting. These wines are at a great price point, you would be paying nearly double for some of these wines up on The Hill (Red Hill) and I swear they are better.
If your more concerned with interesting wines and authentic experiences than taking pretty pictures for instagram it’s a great spot to mix things up. We love that every visit brings something unique, that is the beauty of the Quealy brand. Definitely up there as a favourite.
Terracotta amphora pots (to think we drink this after what its been through) (Source: Quealy Winemakers instagram)
What we don’t like
For some people it’s not up to scratch from a beauty point of view (while most find it part of the charm). Which is fine, we can generally pick which groups will enjoy this place and the rustic setting is definitely part of its charm