Australia Day Weekend ‘Festivus’ Concert At Phillip Island Winery, Sunday January 24 2016 from 5:00pm

Bluegrass wizards, THE DAVIDSON BROTHERS

Bluegrass wizards, THE DAVIDSON BROTHERS

Bluegrass/Country wizards, The Davidson Brothers, will join acoustic guitar wizard Ricki Wood, local ‘all-stars’ band, The Small Town Big Band, and local chanteuse Imogen Price at the Phillip Island Winery on Sunday January 24th.

Music will kick off from 5:00pm from the Phillip Island Winery stage.

The Davidson Brothers, led by Yinnar brothers Hamish and Lachlan, are multi-golden guitar winners and known widely around Australia (and in Nashville). They play a sensational high-energy style of country bluegrass swing, and are not to be missed for this ‘once off’ visit to the winery.

Ricki Wood, well known to many on ‘the Island’, is a powerful master of the acoustic guitar and totally extraordinary singer (he lit up the stage at MusicFest 2013). The Small Town Big Band, led by local studio producer Andy Stewart, brings together some of Bass Coast’s best musicians with a superbly arranged and performed set of Neil Young, John Prine, and acoustic classics.

And getting the show underway is young local singer, Imogen Price, fresh from the Cool Summer Festival (Hotham) and who plays and sings with a beautiful maturity and feel.

Cost of admission is $20 per head; bring a rug or chairs. Aside from our platter menu, we’ll be running a barbeque with local meats from Ted’s, and lots of salads and crusty breads.

Bring your family along and “tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year” (quote: Frank Costanzo, Festivus).

Andy Stewart and The Small Town Big Band

Andy Stewart leading The Small Town Big Band

Enjoying the music at Phillip Island Winery's MUSICFEST

Enjoying the music at Phillip Island Winery’s MUSICFEST

Hello Mr Echidna… wildlife booming across the island

HERE AT THE WINERY we’ve recently been visited by a passing echidna that found its way right up to the cellar door. It tucked itself into the base of a boobiella when I started following it with the camera – their defence of tucking into a ball under a stump, or even partly burying themselves in the open, is pretty effective against marauding dogs.

Echidna numbers seem to be on the rise across the island; they’re commonly seen hanging about on the road verges. If you’re heading to the island, watch out for them. Echidnas don’t move very quickly and have nil awareness of approaching cars.

It is really upsetting to see them killed by cars; they’re easily avoided.

The Cape Barren Geece of course are strutting around the place everywhere, now with young chicks mostly fully grown. They’re amusing birds: they seem to establish ownership on roundabouts and intersections and spend their days ambling gravely and with serious intent back and forth – from one side of the road to the other.

Sometimes, like in the accompanying photo, you’ll see them holding station on rooftops, sheds, or any raised surface. 

 Call in one day and acquaint yourself with our swamp hens, a buff-banded rail family (if you’ve got quick eyes), brown hawks and, if you’re lucky, the occasional passing echidna – like our friend above.

We’ve also got lots of young wallabies in the vineyard. We’re prepared to share but we wish that they would develop a taste for something other than the vine shoots. They pick their ways along the rows, reaching up and pulling down the new growth to nibble at the leaves.

MUSICFEST… it’s on – last minute tickets available

COUNTRY. BLUES AND FOLK music stars will be shining at Phillip Island Winery this Sunday 11 March for the first annual MUSICFEST Phillip Island.

Running from 12:30pm until 10:30pm – finishing with a bush dance under the stars with Paradiddle – and featuring some of Australia’s finest roots and acoustic musicians, MUSICFEST will be a unique day of classy roots, blues and folk music.

Cleeland Bus Lines is operating a shuttle bus out of Cowes on the hour (and return).

Pick-up points -$15 return ticket ($7.50 one way):
Cowes: Coles bus stop and RSL
Ventnor: Lyall Street and Grossard Point Road
Smith’s Beach: Back Beach Road

Performance times:
Main stage:

12:30 Rob Fairbairn and friends
1:15 Jacqui Sterling
1:50 Hugh McDonald
2:40 Little Stevies
3:30 Tropical Lounge
4:15 Lisa Miller Trio 
5:05 Zebra Crossing 
5:55 Tabasco Tom, Doc White and Broderick Smith 
6:45 Bern Carroll and Mrs Brown 
7:30 Mike McClellan 
9:00-10:30 Paradiddle Bush Band
Cellar Door Stage
3:15 Jacqui Sterling
4:00 The Plovers
4:45 Vampire Boogie
5:30 Vivace
6:15 Tropical Lounge 

Fine Cuts Enviromeat Luncheon ($80 ticket holders) begins 2:00pm


With acoustic legend Mike McClellan, nine-times ARIA-nominated Lisa Miller, plus the amazing indie-folksters, The Little Stevies, with ex-Redgummer Hugh McDonald, and the legendary Broderick Smith joining southern bluesmen Tabasco Tom and Doc White, among a host of other national and local performers, MUSICFEST is a not-to-missed event for Phillip Island.

Wine, food and soft-drinks available from the cellar door, plus food marquees, bring along a picnic lunch, chairs and rug to make a day of it.

Priority parking is available for ticket-holders, tickets will also be available from the gate. Entry is $40.

For tickets, call Phillip Island Winery 5956 8465, or they can be purchased directly from the website:

Springtime Twilight Concert Series

Bluesmen Tabasco Tom and Doc White

SHAKE OFF WINTER chills to the breezy sounds of springtime blues, ukes and country at the Phillip Island Winery with its springtime twilight concert series.

The program kicks off this Saturday 27th August with a return to the cellar door of the amazing ukulele sounds of AJ Leonard.

If you missed AJ Leonard’s last visit to the winery, don’t miss this one. Recognised as one of Australia’s masters of the instrument, and having featured at international ukulele concerts and conventions, AJ Leonard transforms the sound of the ‘uke’. This Saturday he will be joined by cello accompanist and partner Jenny Rowlands. 

Whether playing a rock ‘lead-guitar’ solo or jazz standard, his virtuosity and command of the instrument is simply amazing.

Equally at home playing Beatles as he is playing trad classics, AJ is also a versatile singer with an easy rapport and engaging style. This Saturday, you can catch up with AJ Leonard from 5:30pm till 8:30pm at the cellar door.

And, on Sunday afternoon starting at 1:30pm, local folk/country trio, The Usual Suspects, are performing, playing until 4:30pm. With Andy on guitar, Linda on mandolin and ukulele, and Tom on bass, The Usual Suspects will be bringing their own easy-listening folk and country style to our cosy cellar door.

Also pencil in Saturday 3rd September when the winery will be jumping to the classy blues and country of expatriate US ‘bluesmen’ Tabasco Tom and Doc White. With Tom’s daughter on fiddle, Tom and Doc play tight authentic southern blues.

 Tim O’Brien plays every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Phillip Island Winery. Admission is free; twilight concerts kick off at 5:30pm, but best to arrive around 5:00pm. Light dinner platters are also available.

Black Comedy: A Double Bill Of Murder

THE SECOND SEASON in our series of radio plays, presented in conjunction with Phillip Island’s Offshore Theatre, brought a double-bill of murder to the Phillip Island Winery.

To full houses over six nights, Offshore Theatre presented two ’black comedy’ radio plays, each with a twist to intrigue and entertain.

Directed by Stephanie Daniel, who also directed and adapted the summer season of Blithe Spirit, the first of the two features was set in gangland Chicago; the other, ‘Only a Rose’, brought mayhem and murder to a gardening club.

With local actors, Nina, Simon, Julie and Babs in the lead roles, and Pip Cleeland on sound effects, it was old time ‘steam driven radio’ at the winery – lots of fun, and with everyone close to the action.

With a wintery May blast outside, guests to our snug cellar door enjoyed a hot crock-pot chunky beef pie, spinach and ricotta rolls, delicious Gippsland cheeses and salads, and tea and coffee with homemade shortbreads, fruitcake and Turkish delights.

Watch for our next season of radio-play theatre. We’re planning on a spring season.

2011 Vintage Report: Progress To Date

Picking our Chardonnay grapes

WHAT A YEAR for grape growers – the worst in memory for some parts of south-eastern Australia.

Problems? Aside from phomopsis, downy mildew, botrytis, powdery mildew, mealy bugs, flooded vineyards, bogged tractors and preventive sprays getting washed away the day you apply them, it’s all been hunky-dory.

And not only soggy, grey and humid, but unseasonally cool, leaving grapes hanging longer on the vine to ripen.

Ah yes, the elusive and uncertain joys of farming.

Fortunately however, we seem to have gotten through it ok – our vintage is in good shape (thanks to some rigorous care and some sustainable sprays we got onto early in our spray program that worked a treat).

We’re particularly impressed with the EcoCarb and Synetol Oil mixture: it’s sustainable, is gentle to the grapes and the vineyard ecology, and it works – when powdery mildew looked like getting a foothold, it stopped it dead in its tracks.

We’ve now got the Pinot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chard off; though all are down in tonnage (thanks to downy mildew knocking off a lot of the immature bunches early in the vintage) and weeks ‘late’, all are in good shape with nice clean fruit, good colour and nice bunches. (They also taste great… a fringe benefit when picking.)

We’re picking the Merlot this week; it’s nice and clean, no powdery nor botrytis, and a huge crop. We left a lot more fruit on the vine as there was so much water about (we also left the weeds in the vineyard to compete with the vines). The Cabernet is still a week or so off, such is the cool season.

Typically, our Estate wines are lean and subtle: our whites with quite delicate stone fruit and crisp citrus flavours, and peppery soft reds with lingering fine tannins. The fruit is especially delicious this vintage – we can expect some super wines.

We’ll be doing another Merlot Rose this year and another Cabernet Merlot. When next you’re in, check them out – our cab and cab-merl is delicious: long, lean, beautiful fine tannins and richly coloured, each is immensely satisfying and will take years of cellaring.

Twilight Ukulele Concert Sunday 23rd January At Winery

AJ Leonard's Tropical Lounge

UKULELE MASTER, A J LEONARD, and his band the Tropical Lounge are returning to the Phillip Island Winery on Sunday, 23rd January (Australia Day week), for a twilight concert from 5:30pm. If you missed AJ Leonard and the Tropical Lounge’s last visit, don’t miss this one.

Playing both old and latter-day classics, the breezy sound of ukuleles, cello, fiddle and accordion, and with wonderful tight harmonies, is absolutely irresistible. 

Recognised as one of Australia’s pre-eminent exponents of the ukulele, A J Leonard has been a feature performer at the Ukulele Picnic of Hawaii, Illawarra Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Cairns Ukulele Festival.

Featuring classic, swing and island music from the 20’s and 30’s, and originals, the Tropical Lounge’s unique blend of ukuleles, strings, vocal harmonies and percussion will have the winery hopping.

Come along, enjoy some delicious wines, and generous cheese and fresh food platters, and while away the summer evening to the liquid sounds of the ukulele. Admission is free (no cover charge) – this is an evening not to be missed.

With Jenny Rowlands on cello, Wendy Rowlands on accordion, violin and vocals, and David Billings on ukulele, guitar and vocals, it will be huge fun and a great evening of music, wine and fine food.

Music kicks off at 5:30.

Christmas Orders And Holiday Season Trading Hours

Summer fun at the Winery, the Scottish Fiddle Club firing

THE PHILLIP ISLAND WINERY will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but open between Christmas and New Year. 

We will also be open New Year’s Day. If you are looking for a quiet day to gently coax a woolly head into 2011, well, things are pretty tranquil on our side of the island. You can relax with a quiet wine, a fresh food platter, some live acoustic music and peaceful sea views.

For pre-Christmas deliveries (for those of you who leave things to the last minute), we can still get our award-winning wines to you if you order in the next few days.  

For orders, feel free to jump online (use the BUY OUR WINES link at right) or call us on  (03) 5956 8465. 

We will be open 11am till later in the evening throughout the Christmas and New Year period. If you’re heading to the island, look for Berrys BeachRoad (we’re not far past the race track) and the Phillip Island Winery signs. We’d love to see you.

Offshore Theatre Bringing ‘Blithe Spirit’ To Phillip Island Winery

PHILLIP ISLAND’S OFFSHORE THEATRE is presenting Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit as a radio play over five nights at the Phillip Island Winery.

Curtain goes up to a full house this Saturday evening, December 4.

Directed and adapted for radio by Stephanie Daniel (well known for her career in professional theatre and TV), Coward’s improbable farce of a novelist, a doctor, a clairvoyant and the ghost of the departed wife promises to be a lot of fun.

The play runs from Saturday and Sunday, this coming weekend (the 4th and 5th), and Friday 10th, Saturday 11th, and Sunday 12th the following weekend.

There are still some tickets available for Sunday 5th and Friday 10th – better to book now to avoid missing out.

Tickets are $25 a head, which includes a platter of Gippsland cheeses, smoked trout, breads and dips. To book, call Phillip Island Winery (03) 5956 8465.

To view a  trailer from the 1945 film, follow this You Tube link:

Ukulele Master At Phillip Island Winery

UKULELE MASTER, A J LEONARD, and his band the Tropical Lounge are appearing at the Phillip Island Winery on Sunday, 31st October (Cup Weekend).


Featuring classic, swing and island music from the 20’s and 30’s, and originals, the Tropical Lounge’s unique blend of ukuleles, strings, vocal harmonies and percussion will have the winery hopping.

Come along, enjoy some delicious wines, cheese platter or, Sunday only, our bar-b-que spit roast. There is no cover charge.

Recognised as one of Australia’s pre-eminent exponents of the ukulele, A J Leonard has been a feature performer at the Ukulele Picnic of Hawaii, Illawarra Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Cairns Ukulele Festival.

Now he is adding the Phillip Island Winery to the list. With Jenny Rowlands on cello, Wendy Rowlands, accordion, violin and vocals, and David Billings on ukulele, guitar and vocals, it will be huge fun and a great afternoon of music, wine and fine food.

Music kicks off at 1:30.