Tell us a little bit about Crittenden Wines
We’re a family owned vineyard and winery first planted in Dromana some 35 years ago and now largely under the day to day control of the second generation, my son Rollo and daughter Zoe. On a fateful weekend in September 1982 when, with a group of friends, we planted our first five acres of vines we doubled the aggregated Mornington Peninsula plantings. Today there are in excess of 2500 acres in production and over 50 brands in the region. You could say we were pioneers.
What was your motivation for establishing the business?
In 1978 we went on a family holiday to Tasmania and there I discovered local wines of totally different styles to what were being produced on the mainland; far more subtle, elegant and nuanced. Having worked with plants all my life my fate was sealed. I knew I had to make the swap from amenity horticulture to viticulture and soon established that the Mornington Peninsula where I was based, was very similar climatically to parts of Tasmania so could most likely produce similar wine styles. So began a two year search for a suitable plot of land.
Tell us about your food and wine philosophy:
Both fall into the same category, that much overused word ‘sustainability’. As well as the grapes we nurture an abundant vegetable patch, all managed without the use of sprays, herbicides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers. For the past decade we have built, post vintage, a mammoth compost heap usually in the order of 300 cubic meters which ferments for a year and is then spread back onto the vineyard floor and vegetables. The difference this has made to the quality of our fruit [and vegetables] has to be experienced to be believed.
As a local what is your favourite spot to hang out on the Mornington Peninsula?
At dawn most mornings, rain or shine, I walk 3 kilometres to Provincia Deli on Marine Parade at Safety Beach and marvel at the scenery across the bay to Arthurs seat. After one, and sometimes two double espressos I walk home more speedily than I came. And I constantly thank my lucky stars that I live in such a beautiful part of the world.
What do you love about your work?
The diversity of grape styles in play in Australia these days, and to which I can claim to have made a small contribution with my pioneering work with Italian grape varieties provides endless stimulation.
Garry Crittenden in his rye grass
What are you eating at the moment?
Having spent two years [some time ago now] as a Vegan I hanker after the benefits that style of eating offers and as I do most of the cooking I now see myself as a flexitarian; fish a couple of times a week, meat occasionally and an abundance of home grown vegetables leavened now and then with a delicious “We Feed You” meal.
How do you create balance in your life?
I don’t. I’m still looking for a dictionary that contains the word “relax” but so far haven’t been able to find one, and at 74 I’m resigned, if that’s the word, to life on the treadmill; and I love it.
Crittenden Estate would love to welcome ‘We Feed You’ customers to their Wine Centre on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Mention ‘We Feed You’ upon your visit to receive a Complimentary Wine Flight experience for 2 people. You can also receive a 10% discount on any wine purchases*, online or at the Wine Centre using promo code WEFEEDYOU *Excludes Cri de Coeur
Back to We Feed You and order now here >