Breaking new ground

Rollo and Zoe Crittenden

Rollo and Zoe Crittenden were born and grew up on the Mornington Peninsula.  They have a lifelong love affair with the region and now their own young families are sharing their own part of that affair.  Working with your family can challenge your sense of humour, but these two can still laugh together.  

In the late 1970’s after a career in horticulture their dad, Garry Crittenden, wanted to try his hand at cool climate wine making.  Chance led him to meet a couple of pioneering viticulturists who were trialling growing grapes on the Mornington Peninsula.  He did some research and found a plot at Dromana that he felt suited his purpose and there he established Crittenden Estate in 1982. Planting his 5 acres of cabernet vines doubled the acreage of vines grown in the region overnight.  Over the years the Crittenden Estate plantings have evolved to now be mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; varieties that the region is renowned for.   They do, however, like to work with new varieties and offer Spanish and Italian styles as well.

While the original familial home has been updated into a chic newly opened Wine Centre, and Zoe and Rollos’ bedrooms are now somewhere underneath the tasting floor, the approach is still the same as it was originally; warm, relaxed and knowledgeable.  

Rollo loves wines that are aromatic and vibrant, and so loves Pinot Noir in particular.  He feels that this elegant yet restrained variety truly demonstrates the winemakers skill. It can be a bit fickle and quite difficult to make so it is also a great challenge in the winery where he gets very hands on with a wine that gives great rewards when it is done well. Zoe loves that there are so many different kinds of Pinot on the Mornington Peninsula.  They vary according to the terroir; the tiny sub regions, differing aspects, varying altitudes, and the influence of the three adjacent bodies of water. All making each Pinot different and yet similar at the same time

As second generation winemakers in a family business, Zoe and Rollo now have their own young families.  They can see the estate having a life beyond them and look forward to the Crittenden Wines name living on into the future.

With the transformation of the traditional cellar door offering into the Crittenden Wine Centre in December 2014, Rollo and Zoe now enjoy offering visitors an opportunity to compare and contrast different wines, learn about the origins of the wine and how they differ, as well as give an understanding of how the winemaking process plays a part.  

Awards Note: Rollo Crittenden has won the Young Winemaker of the Year Award, and the Crittenden Wine Centre has also recently the Gourmet Traveller Wine Mornington Peninsula’s Best Wine Tasting Experience!


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