Winter will soon be drawing to a close and spring is just around the corner. As the Peninsula prepares to welcome a new season, it’s a great time to start exploring some of the events the community has to offer.

Soap making workshop

Making your own soap is a great way to flex your creative muscles and build a more sustainable household with reduced toxins. Organic skincare company Olieve & Olie started nearly 20 years ago, when Jude and Andy Steele planted 2000 olive trees on their 15-acre property near Echuca. After their first harvest, Jude began making her own soaps from the olive oil.

Ten years later, the couple decided on a sea change and moved to St Andrews, bringing Olieve & Olie with them to a purpose-built Rosebud factory. Today, their daughter and son co-own the award-winning business, though Jude, Andy, and the siblings’ partners are all very involved. Sarah Kirke, the couple’s daughter, says the region has been “so supportive” of their endeavours.

“Everyone has just been amazing, they’ve treated us like we’ve always been here,” she says. “In terms of businesses, the Mornington Peninsula is one of the most incredible places to be.”

The family shares their soap-making secrets with customers via regular workshops, which are taught by Jude. Sarah says the benefits to DIY soap go on and on.

“The soap we make is traditional soap, it’s the soap your great-grandparents would have been making. It’s so, so good for your skin, it doesn’t dry it out, it’s so good for the environment… Jude compares it to making jam or chutney: do it just once a year and you’ve got enough for yourself and all your family and friends.”

A workshop is scheduled for Saturday August 31 and will run from 1pm until 4pm. Participants will learn how to make their own goats’ milk and olive oil soaps, and be armed with all the knowledge they need to continue their new hobby at home. Attendees leave the class with a batch they’ve made themselves, which Sarah says usually amounts to 10 bars – plus, Jude gifts attendees bars of Olieve & Olie soap, too.

“Everyone who comes to the workshops just raves about it and how much fun they had,” Sarah says. “Quite a few people who’ve done our classes have gone on to start their own businesses, while others just come for the experience or to rediscover a lost art they can pass down to future generations.”

Suitable for those aged 16 years and older. Olieve & Olie also offer private group bookings.

Winemakers lunch

Red Hill Estate hosts its annual Spring Winemakers Lunch on Sunday September 8: an occasion to gather with friends, enjoy some good food and wine, and look forward to the season to come.

Frank Fabrizio, owner of the estate, says events such as these emphasise “fun and accessibility first, facts second”, and can be a great way to learn about wine in a social atmosphere.

The event begins at noon and wraps up at 4pm, but guests are welcome to arrive at 11am and head to the cellar door for a complimentary tasting of all of the label’s current vintages.

Every dish will be paired with a wine and the menu will focus on seasonal ingredients that define the winter-to-spring crossover. The winery’s team will be on hand to share more about what you’re drinking, along with some stories from the Estate’s history, a little bit about their practices, and how this impacts the wine.

Red Hill Estate has 46 sprawling acres – 23 of which are under vine – which contribute some amazing views to the property.

Sorrento Makers Market

Sorrento’s iconic Ocean Beach Road is transformed into an open-air mall when the Sorrento Makers Market sets up shop on Saturday August 24. Artisans and makers will be manning stalls from 9am until 2pm, adding to the shops and boutiques that already line the heart of this beachside town. It’s a wonderful opportunity to pick up some handmade, homegrown goods and learn a little more about some of the creators who call the Peninsula home.

There’ll be homewares, artworks, slow fashion pieces, and plenty of locally grown produce and wine. Look out for Grey Matter Designs, who make stylish plant holders and dog bowls, crafters of glass jewellery OMG SeaGlass Designs, and gin from Original Spirit Co.

The Sorrento Makers Market is part of the Craft Markets Australia organisation, which was founded on the Mornington Peninsula. In addition to managing craft markets all over Victoria, the group has four others on the Peninsula as well as Sorrento Makers Market: Mornington Racecourse, Point Nepean Portsea, the Briars and Red Hill markets.

Images courtesy of Craft Markets Australia

Soap making workshop

Grey Matter Designs provided by Craft Markets Australia

OMG SeaGlass Designs provided by Craft Markets Australia

Original Spirit Co provided by Craft Markets Australia

Sorrento Makers Market provided by Craft Markets Australia

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