This week we caught up with Greg from Green Olive to find out what makes this such an awesome place to visit when on the Mornington Peninsula.
Q: Tell us about Green Olive and your history
A: Green Olive at Red Hill was established in 2002 when we purchased a property here and it’s been evolving ever since over the last 16 years. We planted the olive grove in 2003 and we had a business in Sorrento where we did our apprenticeship in hospitality and we also had a café. We sold that in 2008 and came back to the farm and planted the vineyard and built the shed and ended up opening to the public in 2010 and it grows and grows each year as we go along!
Q: What made you get into the Wine industry?
A: It was a natural progression after having the olive grove, we thought to ourselves what goes well with olives? The first thing that comes to mind is wine and we’ve travelled a lot in our lives and spent a lot of time in Asia, Italy, France and South America and we thought to ourselves that we should run a business based around food and wine and the only way to do that properly at a farm is to plant your own vineyard! So we planted the Vineyard in 2008.
Q: Were you a big fan of Olives growing up then?
A: Not really, just a big fan of food. As I said I’ve travelled a lot and olives seemed like a good food to grow, I like the look of olive trees and I like to eat olives and love olive oil and the last couple of years we’ve developed our own range of olive based body products so it’s worked out well.
Q: Who’s the typical customer that comes to Green Olive?
A: We have a pretty diverse customer base from locals that visit frequently to people from Melbourne that come down to visit and then we get a lot of interstate visitors as well. Then of course we get a lot of internationals some that self drive and of course those that visit with Bunyip!
Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
A: Well the proudest for me right up the top would be setting up the business initially, it was a big move from the corporate world and it was a big risk to take to set up a business from scratch. Our biggest accomplishments other than that would be the tourism awards and entering the tourism awards hall of fame for winning 3 years in a row and also one gold medal at the Qantas awards as well.
We’re also really proud of the quality of staff that we employ as well it’s very satisfying to go to work and be surrounded by good people all the time.
Q: What can customers expect when visiting?
A: One of the more picturesque properties on the peninsula, everything we do is based around sustainability. We’re really trying to create 100% edible landscapes so every year we try to grow something new and we’ve been very successful over the last couple of years in planting about 40 lemon trees which are producing about ten tonnes of fruit now so that’s exciting. We’ve just added a whole lot of fig trees too.
So when you arrive here you drive down through the Olive Grove and can see the Vineyards and restaurant and you’re greeted by our friendly Kelpie dogs – Indie and Raza and then you wonder into our garden and restaurant where you’ll be greeted by a friendly face and can enjoy wine and local produce.
Q: What wines do you have in your range?
A: We have 7 wines, we grow Pinot and Pinot Grigio on the property. We mainly have light wines as we’re not open at night so they’re relatively easy drinking. We have a Pinot blend which is about 60% pinot and 40% chardonnay, then we have an unwooded Chardonnay and our Pinot Grigio. We then have our Pinot Noir and a Shiraz that we source the grapes from Bendigo and we finish with a Moscato which is very popular with our many hens parties.
Q: Do you do any of your wines a bit differently?
A: We spend a lot of time investing in the soil and looking after it which hopefully means we end up with healthy vines and in the longer term use less sulphurs and coppers and allow the natural grapes to grow. When we do fermentations we do it naturally which works really well.
Q: What’s your most popular wine?
A: In the summer it’s our Pinot Grigio and in the Winter our Pinot Noir is the most popular, we probably sell 2 bottles of that for every other bottle of wine we sell.
Q: Have I missed anything or do you have any advice for visiting customers?
A: The important thing to remember is that on weekends and public holidays it’s busy so make sure you book with us. We also have a lot of other experiences that we run including cooking schools of which we have 4 different classes. We have hand made sausage making, techniques of butchery, fresh pasta and pizza 101.
We also run other different experiences like matching food and wine, farm tours, farmers lunches and more recently we’ve partnered with a local business that does floral decorations where you learn to make different decorations from local plants and flowers which is popular for hens functions.