Point Leo Estate
Without knowing who owns Point Leo Estate, it’s clear a certain amount of money has gone into the place. Even the carpark is immaculately signposted and asphalted. On busy days, golf carts zip up and down the slight incline, carrying guests to the Grand Arch (a sculpture by Inge King), and towering concrete walls screen the spectacular view from new arrivals.
Walk through these imposing grey curtains to reveal the gentle curve of Western Port Bay and, in the foreground, a sculpture park containing 40 works from renowned local and international artists. The vast restaurant, cellar door and wine terrace have a 180-degree vantage of it all.
The Gandel family (of shopping centre fame) spent some $50 million doing up the 130-hectare site. It was a working winery and private retreat for more than two decades before it opened to the public in late 2017. Melbourne-based architecture firm Jolson designed the fluid-looking main building in the image of wine being poured into a glass.
Taken as a whole, it’s big and it’s overwhelming. First-timers should start at the island bench that acts as the cellar door and sample the estate’s chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir and shiraz – of which there are many vintages. Just be warned: at $40 to $60, these aren’t the best value bottles on the Peninsula.
Move onto a shared lunch in the bistro, made with local produce such as Cape Schanck Olive Oil, pork from Woolumbi Farm and cheese from Main Ridge Dairy. Or you could book into 40-seat fine diner Laura for a full degustation.
The sculpture park is curated by Geoffrey Edwards, the former director of Geelong Gallery and a former senior curator of international and Australian sculpture at the National Gallery of Victoria. He’s chosen to showcase local and international artists including Tony Cragg, George Rickey, Jaume Plensa, Lenton Parr and Andrew Rogers. Two serpentine paths guide visitors through the gardens – one is a 40-minute walk, the other takes around an hour and a half. There’s an admission fee for both and the park is open to 5pm daily.