A new cultural and culinary haven opens at Point Leo Estate »

On the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula

Media release
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Pt Leo Estate entrance forecourt at night

Pt Leo Estate entrance forecourt at night [©Anson Smart Photography]

Phil Wood, Pt Leo Estate
Inge King Sculpture, Pt Leo Estate
Andrew Murch, Ainslie Lubbock and Joel Alderson, Pt Leo Estate
Poach meringue, cherries & cream, Pt Leo Estate


Point Leo Estate – set over 134 hectares on the southern most tip of the Mornington Peninsula – is a captivating celebration of art, nature, design, food and wine and opened to the public on 25 October 2017.

A cultural and culinary haven of many spectacular parts, Pt. Leo Estate will feature a monumental cellar door, 110-seat restaurant and what arguably will be Australia’s foremost sculpture park, all with sweeping views over Western Port Bay to Phillip Island.

The sculpture park will open with Australia’s best private collection of over 50 large-scale contemporary local and international works and will continue to grow and evolve over coming years.

Designed by prominent Melbourne architectural and interior design firm Jolson, the semi-circular cellar door and restaurant is set on the highest point of the property with unrivalled panoramic vistas across the 10-year-old vineyards and sculpture park to Western Port Bay.

Pt. Leo Estate Restaurant is an informal, a la carte venue with a central wood-fired oven that lends itself to a menu designed for friends and family to share. Seasonal menus created by celebrated Culinary Director, Phil Wood, will be complemented by Pt. Leo Estate wines and a wine list with a focus on local Mornington Peninsula and Victorian producers.

Pt. Leo Estate is a family-owned and operated property that is a celebration of life’s greatest pleasures and has the people of Victoria and Australia at its heart.

Dining

Simple, delicious, seasonal and above all regional food will be the focus of Pt. Leo Estate’s two dining spaces under the masterful eye of its Culinary Director, Phil Wood (ex-Rockpool and Eleven Bridge Executive Chef).

Having relocated to the region in mid-2017, Wood has been carefully sourcing local suppliers of vegetables, dairy and meat among others, and has been impressed by both the spoils of the fertile region and the best practice farming methods of producers.

“The food concept is about promoting the region and where possible using what is available to us in a seasonal way,” he said.

“We are trying to make it unfussy but very flavoursome, where everything has a purpose. There is no unnecessary embellishment that doesn’t provide a certain flavour or work with core produce. Hero ingredients will be elevated and not overshadowed,” he said.

The restaurant atmosphere will reflect a true modern bistro with a menu featuring dishes such as: Wallaby Pie; Beetroot Pancake with Lemon Curd and Salmon Roe; Fried Ricotta Polenta with Pickled Fennel and Main Ridge Goats Caprinella; and locally sourced wood-fired duck and beef.

The overarching goal for Phil Wood and his team is to create a special place that mirrors the affection for the area by the owners of Pt. Leo Estate.

“We want it to be a place where it’s a community restaurant, we don’t want it to be any national and exclusive restaurant,” he explains. “We just want it to be a great place to come.”

Joining Wood is hospitality veteran Ainslie Lubbock as Restaurant Manager, Joel Alderson as Senior Sous Chef and Andrew Murch as Head Sommelier.

A second, more intimate dining space will open at the end of 2017.
 

The Sculpture Park

Framed by vineyards and hugged by the sea, Pt. Leo Estate Sculpture Park is destined to cement itself as the foremost example of its kind in Australia.

Sculpture Park curator Geoffrey Edwards, former director of Geelong Gallery and former senior curator of International and Australian sculpture at the National Gallery of Victoria, said that Pt. Leo Estate aims to have international clout.

“It’s been landscaped from scratch as a sculpture park and it’s the only one on the coast with a spectacular panorama."

“Internationally, the notion of established vineyards adding outdoor sculpture has become something of a new cultural genre,” he added, “but rarely has this been achieved with the same single-minded vision and on such a glorious site.”

The tone of the park is set at the entry to Pt. Leo Estate’s cellar door, where renowned Australian sculptor Inge King’s gigantic steel Grand Arch lies in wait, inviting visitors to walk through it into an artistic and playful wonderland.

Beyond, visitors can opt to take self-guided walking tours or connect with an informative mobile app as they enjoy the park’s serpentine layout, perched on a gentle slope covered in vineyards and rolling down to the sea. There are two winding serpentine paths that guests can follow on a walking tour of the works – one is about 90 minutes long, the other some 40 minutes.

Major works by prominent international figures including Tony Cragg, George Rickey and Jaume Plensa, and celebrated Australian pioneers of modernism including King, Lenton Parr and Andrew Rogers are thoughtfully placed throughout the park.

Whether set against the panorama of grasslands sloping down the Western Port Bay or nestled in intimate ‘outdoor rooms’ framed by woodlands, the sculptures are positioned with a sense of theatre to challenge, stimulate and ultimately charm the visitor.

The sculpture park is accessible for a small fee of $10 per person – diners enjoy complimentary access.

 

Design

Pt. Leo Estate’s iconic building is designed as an object within a landscape and for the public to engage and react to, just like one of the sculptures in its spectacular grounds.

Renowned Melbourne-based architectural, landscape and interiors firm Jolson worked for three years on the design and build of the cellar door and restaurant. Principal Stephen Jolson says of paramount importance to the design brief was that the architecture and interior design response was contemporary, contextual and accessible to the public.

A strong architectural concept that captured the spectacular characteristics and position of the site, its breathtaking views and an abundance of light was essential.

Jolson's team nominates the building’s entry as one of its standout features, its form being an abstract interpretation of wine pouring from a bottle.

The interior design of Pt. Leo Estate is based upon a simple curve, articulated to capture the views and engage with the vineyard and sculpture park.

The cellar door is located closest to the vineyard to reinforce the origin of the grape and winemaking while tasting. It leads to a large outdoor terrace where visitors can enjoy a wine in winter and summer sun, not to mention the spectacular vineyard and coastal panorama.

The use of honest materials – concrete, timber, steel – all add to the understated and simple yet deceptively design-complex space for visitors to enjoy.

“We want the general public to leave the property resonating with a quintessential Victorian coastal experience of engaging with an established vineyard that is celebrated by significant local and international arts and culture,” said Jolson

 

See links below for further information on Point Leo Estate and its wines, and nearby things to do. 

Regions

  • Mornington Peninsula (VIC)

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November 14th, 2017
 
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