Rare Hare Wine & Food Store, Merricks North
Rare Hare is a unique location, defined by its aspect, soil, and toil. Wines speak in a vinous tongue here, recounting tales of former seasons and the winemaking crew. No vineyard, vintage, or wine is the same in this world, and every moment of enjoyment is unique - influenced by the bottle, the environment, the food, or the mood. We encourage you to sample the fruits of our labour while watching them grow on the vines. This is a place to stay, not just visit, where handcrafted curiosities from nearby farms are best savoured in excess and between spirited conversation.
With 90 chairs and views of the vine-draped hills and the dramatic silhouette of the Jackalope Hotel, Rare Hare is a great place to eat. In the dining area, a hand-crafted wood-fired oven takes centre stage. With a keen sense of curiosity, our Executive Chef creates seasonal meals that emphasise the finest produce, bringing a delectable combination of heat, acidity, depth of flavour, and texture to each plate.
Our new cellar door location, which houses our Willow Creek Vineyard and Rare Hare wines, offers four separate wine tasting experiences, each tailored to your preferences and interest in learning about winemaking secrets. There's something for everyone's palette, from a traditional tasting to an hour spent roaming the vines and combining your own wines.
Willow Creek Vineyard was established in 1989 on pasture land that had been fertile for over 100 years. Willow Creek Vineyard is surrounded on three sides by the ocean, creating a cool marine climate, and is surrounded on one side by native bushland, which is home to wrens, wagtails, and honeyeaters. Families of magpies monitor the vineyard, while pairs of wedgetail eagles live in the old pine tree windbreaks. At dawn and dusk, swarms of grey kangaroos pass across the vineyard.
The vines are planted east-west and form clean, vertical hedges from late spring until late January, when the netting are installed to keep the crop safe from marauding birds and kangaroos. Harvest occurs in mid-March, after which the vineyard gradually transforms into golden, dropping leaves that mulch the grape rows, and the barren vines are cut back to scant canes to begin the season all over again.