In 1973, electrical contractor Graeme Leith and journalist Sue Mackinnon traded in city life for a fertile plot in the country. They planted out vines by hand and set about building Passing Clouds Winery.

These days, son Cameron is the chief winemaker. The cellar door is situated in Musk, a five-minute drive from Daylesford. Pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are grown at this cool-climate plot. Warm-climate grapes are sourced from vineyards surrounding Bendigo, further north.

Sliding open the cellar door, you’re greeted with the scent of woodchips, courtesy of the fireplace that keeps the room toasty.

Beyond the tasting room, you’ll see grapes being hand-pressed and fermented in French-oak or stainless-steel barrels. Partial bunches are also pressed, with the remaining “must" (the stems and skins) spread back over the vineyard to enrich the soil.

The cellar door gained a dining-room extension in late 2015, along with a deck made with recycled wood from the original North Wharf and Rosebud Pier.

The kitchen is lead by Cameron McKenzie. His menu continues the winery’s ethos of capturing the terroir within its creations. These lunches might see leafy greens and herbs from the property’s veggie patch form the stuffing for a chicken, slowly roasted over charcoal and old French-oak barrel planks and served with hot chestnuts.

There’s also local and imported cheese and charcuterie, perfect for pairing with a glass of sparkling chardonnay or spicy full-bodied pinot noir, should you simply need a nibble between glasses.

Explore Daylesford further using our detailed Out of Town to Daylesford guide.

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Updated: February 9th, 2023

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