Merindoc Cafe and Cellar Door
The Shelmerdine family has been farming for three generations. It owned Mitchelton winery in Nagambie before planting out its Heathcote vineyards in the 1950s.
The family now produces 13 varieties of both red and white grapes across two vineyards – Willoughby Bridge at Colbinabbin in northern Heathcote, and Merindoc, a little further south at Tooborac. The former sits within a warmer pocket of the region and features the renowned local Cambrian red soils. The latter – where the cellar door and cafe are located – is supported by grey granite soils and cooler temperatures.
This frost-prone climate means the Tooborac vines produce a crisp riesling, and viognier can be left two weeks longer before picking, so as to develop extra sweetness. Despite the vineyard spanning 3000 acres, picking and pruning continue to be done by hand.
The cafe menu moseys from tasting plates of cheeses, smallgoods, dips and breads, for the grazing-minded, to heartier dishes such as Merindoc lamb shanks and mash; chicken and leek pie with seasonal vegetables; and pumpkin soup.
The shelves are stocked with preserves made from produce grown on family properties – olive tapenade made from Merindoc olive trees, zucchini pickles from the vegie patch, quince paste from quince trees on the family’s Yarra Valley property, and onion jam from its Portsea property.
Explore Heathcote further in our detailed Out of Town to Heathcote guide.