Luxury among the vines in an unbeatable spot


To say Cassis is in the heart of Mornington Peninsula wine country would almost be understating things. You can’t get any closer than this. You could throw a grape from the deck here and hit several of Australia’s best producers of fine wine. The vines of Lancemore Lindenderry are laid out before your eyes. Foxey’s Hangout is just over a ridgeline. Polperro is over there to the east. Main Ridge Estate is just over west. Ten Minutes by Tractor is, appropriately, about 10 minutes by tractor, even less by car. If you love to drink and you love to eat and you love to be surrounded by the growing and creating of delicious things, then there are few better places in the world than right here in Red Hill. The access from these five luxury villas is incredible.


Cassis has only been open a little over six months, and everything still looks new, everything works, and everything has clearly had a lot of money spent on it. Owners Gina and Simon McNamara have extensively renovated the site of a former restaurant and private residence. The pair say they were inspired by a year living in a 17th-century farmhouse near Aix-en-Provence in France, and in particular by their visits to the small seaside town of Cassis. They describe these villas as “modern rustic”, which is fair enough, with their big wooden dining tables, open fires, polished concrete decks, and the sort of earthy-toned linens that would make a Byron Bay Instagram mum swoon.


I’m staying in The Cottage, a spacious villa with one king bedroom, a bathroom, a large lounge and dining area with kitchenette, and a private deck with a heated plunge pool and views out over the vines. Entry is basic, with a key left in a lockbox by the door, although all the conveniences are included once you’re inside, from luxury bed linen, to robes and slippers, to toiletries and other amenities. The kitchenette is well equipped, with a fridge, microwave, Nespresso machine, toaster and sandwich press – the only thing that’s missing, curiously, is a stovetop, which makes creating a decent meal here from all those high-end ingredients you’ve picked up pretty much impossible. On the bright side, it gets cold here in the hills, so there’s a fireplace, and that plunge pool, which heats up to a perfect temperature for an evening dip.


The villas include a continental breakfast hamper to get you through the first morning, plus a bottle of local wine and a cheese platter. You’re also staying in drinking and dining heaven, so you’ll never go without. Within a 10-minute drive you have Tedesca Osteria (, one of Australia’s best restaurants, as well as high-end dining at Ten Minutes by Tractor (, modern Sri Lankan cuisine at Many Little (, mod-Oz food with a view at Polperro (, and perfect small-plate dining at Foxey’s Hangout ( Cast the net a little wider and you have an absolute embarrassment of options.


Time to go wine tasting. Check out all of the above-mentioned wineries, as well as Port Phillip Estate (, Avani (, Red Hill Estate ( and Montalto ( au) and Ocean Eight ( You may want to hire a driver, too – try David Begg from Peninsula Wine Region Transfers (0412 153 061).


A luxurious mix of rustic and modern in an incredible location.


Villas from $650 a night ($850 for The Cottage), minimum two-night stay. See


Heated plunge pool, twilight, glass of wine, views of vines. Say no more.


The price tag is hefty, which, with the missing stovetop, brings the score down.



Ben Groundwater stayed as a guest of Visit Victoria.


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