A tin and timber building framed by towering trees, Merricks General Wine Store is the very image of vintage Australiana – as well it should be, because this Peninsula icon has a long and storied history. Originally built by the Joyner family in 1922, the cream-coloured shed with a distinctive bullnose verandah has enjoyed several different incarnations.

In its early years, it was a post office, store and local meeting spot. By the late 1990s it had undergone a significant renovation to be turned into a restaurant-meets-gourmet pantry. But by the early noughties the period building had become somewhat dilapidated and was in need of repair. Enter the Myer and Baillieu families, who purchased the store in 2008, restored and improved it, then ushered in its new era. In the spring of that year, the Merricks General Wine Store opened: a venue that, despite a deceptively simple name, combines a providore, a cafe, a cellar door and an event space.

To cap it off, in 2013, the adjoining Merricks House – a heritage home built in 1926 by John Joyner for his daughter Tilly – was refurbished and reopened as an art gallery.

This combination of food, wine, art and history has made Merricks General Wine Store a must-see destination for day-trippers and tourists, as well as a handy one-stop-shop for local residents.

Upon entering the storefront, you’re met with a rustic, down-home vibe. Recycled timber shelves are stocked with locally produced honey, jams, chutneys and preserves. There’s Peninsula-made olive oil and muesli, and the shop also sells a range of hampers so visitors can have a picnic or take a taste home.

The bistro has two indoor rooms to dine in, with high, arched ceilings, polished timber floors and wooden tables and chairs. An open fire amps up the cosy factor on cooler days, and glass doors open right up to the spacious outdoor decks when the weather is fine, doubling the number of dining spaces.

French chef Patrice Repellin crafts seasonal menus with a European touch, adding a little French country to the Australian bushland setting. For winter, breakfast options include apple and rhubarb porridge, baked ratatouille with chorizo and fried egg, and an open sandwich with house-smoked salmon. Lunch plates range from small to large and there are charcuterie boards for those who like to graze. Ingredients are locally sourced.

Merricks General Wine Store is the cellar door for Baillieu and Elgee Park wines, but they also stock a few drops from nearby neighbours. Elgee Park is the region’s first commercial vineyard, planted in 1972 by Baillieu Myer, while Baillieu wines hail from a single, 10-hectare vineyard on Merricks North estate Bulldog Run. Celebrated winemaker Geraldine McFaul makes both labels’ wines under contract. To sample some, head to the cellar door, an expansive, L-shaped timber bar topped with marble against a backdrop of shelved wines.

Exhibits are regularly shown in the Merricks House Gallery, which showcases works by local artists as well as further afield Australians. The gallery’s winter exhibition, Green Wedge, is a group exhibit with an environmental focus, displaying works that celebrate the Mornington Peninsula’s crucial green wedge. Visitors can attend the launch this Saturday at 3pm, where the artists will be in attendance alongside Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor, councillor David Gill. Green Wedge will be open daily from 9am to 5pm through to July 7.

As well as being available to hold private events, Merricks General Wine Store regularly hosts its own, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their website and social media. From July 12 to 14, “Gallic godmother” Fanny Bouffante will bring her comedy performance, Scandals, to the store for three dinner shows. Just in time for Bastille Day, the show covers Fanny’s campaign to run for French president.

Merricks General Wine Store is located at 3460 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks. Open daily, 8.30am-5pm.

 

*Images courtesy Merricks General Wine Store.

 

Merricks General Wine Store a must-see destination for day-trippers and tourists.

The bistro has two indoor rooms to dine in, with high, arched ceilings, polished timber floors and wooden tables and chairs.


An open fire amps up the cosy factor on cooler days, and glass doors open right up to the spacious outdoor decks when the weather is fine, doubling the number of dining spaces.

Lifestyle & Design

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