Australian wine regions produce some incredible varieties of wine – ranging all the way from cool to warm climate wines. There’s rarely a family gathering that doesn’t involve getting stuck in to a nice bottle of wine to pair with the meal – this drink is absolutely part of the Australian societal fabric.
In my opinion, there’s few things more spectacular than being able to taste local wines at a cellar door overlooking lush, green vineyards. And with international travel off the cards for a little while, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore our own backyard and visit some great local wine regions in Australia.
South AustraliaLocated only 20 minutes from the centre of Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills wine region has over 60 wineries offering a range of cool climate wines. The most common varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If you like a red, there is also plenty of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to try.The cellar doors are spread over 70 kilometres of picturesque hills and valleys, so it is best if you have a car to get around. It feels like there is a winery around every corner, so you won’t be driving far between stops! If you’d rather not drive, a range of winery tours leave from Adelaide.The wineries all have lovely outlooks, fine wines and delicious local foods – so choosing a favourite is hard. For starters though try Hahndorf Hill, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Bird in Hand, Shaw and Smith, Leko, The Lane and K1. All will provide a wonderful and varied Adelaide Hills wine experience.Accommodation in the hills ranges from caravan parks and quaint B and Bs to beautiful old manors. Hahndorf Resort offers a range of accommodation. Adelaide Hills Country Cottages have self-contained cottages in a beautiful setting. For luxury on a grand scale try Mt Lofty House; it features fine dining and even finer views.There are regular flights to Adelaide from all Australian capital cities. While the Adelaide Hills wine region is quite compact, give yourself a few days to explore, relax and savour everything it has to offer.Contributed by Natalie & Steve from Curious Campers
Located just an hour out of South Australia’s capital city, one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions makes a perfect day trip from Adelaide or a picturesque setting for a night or two away.
The Barossa Valley is known for its Shiraz in particular, and is home to some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. They were planted from cuttings taken from the Rhone Valley in France which were subsequently wiped out.
It’s an easy drive from Adelaide to do yourself, but there are also plenty of tour options to choose from. Visitors to the valley will find plenty of mainstream wineries to choose from, including Jacobs Creek and Wolf Blass, but most tours will include a few smaller, boutique wineries which is where the gems are often to be found. If you’re driving yourself be sure to stop by Chateau Dorrien for a tasting. Their chocolate port is delightful!
The Barossa Valley is also known for its food, and both stores and restaurants offer selections of produce straight from local farms. Locals are quick to recommend famous chef Maggie Beer’s café and restaurant as a must visit. You can also book to stay at her orchard house.
For a bit of luxury, stay at The Reserve Barossa Valley.
Contributed by Holly from Globeblogging
VictoriaYou’ve probably heard of the more famous Australian wine regions like the Barossa Valley, Margaret River, and Hunter Valley. But there are some amazing lesser-known wine regions just waiting to be explored.One of those regions is the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria. Just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne this hidden gem offers boutique wineries with inviting cellar doors surrounded by panoramic ocean views and the beautiful Victorian hinterland.A visit here is a much more personal experience as the wineries are all family owned and operated so the people you’ll meet are the people who make the wine. Each winery has its own individual character from quirky, stylish and chic, to country farmhouse, many of them have attached restaurants and cafes.The Bellarine wine region has a cool maritime climate that is often compared to France’s Burgandy and Bordeaux. The artisanal wine is handmade with minimal intervention and regularly features in James Haliday’s ‘best of the best’ list. Stand-out varieties include Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.Best experienced on a road trip, it’s a truly stunning destination with rolling hills and exquisite views at every turn. Along the way stop at farm gates, provedores, olive groves, berry farms, and of course the fabulous Bellarine wineries.Contributed by Audrey from See Geelong
The Coonawarra wine region is conveniently located almost half way between Melbourne and Adelaide, just over the Victorian border from South Australia. The Coonawarra is part of the Limestone Coast zone, which is a popular spot for wine enthusiasts and beach lovers.
The ‘terra rossa’ soil is an important factor in the production of wine in the region. The Coonawarra is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon producing some of the best in the country. The region also does great Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot in the red; in white their best are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Many wineries and most cellar doors are located just kilometers from Penola heading towards Naracoorte on the Riddoch Highway. Top cellar doors to visit include Parker Estate, Raidis Estate, Wynn’s, Brands Laira, Bellwether Wines, Balnaves, Hollicks and Jack Winery – really, the list could go on. For the best touring company look no further than Coonawarra Experiences, for their friendly and professional approach, local knowledge and relationships with cellar doors in the area.
If you are looking for accommodation in the Coonawarra, there are fabulous options in Penola which is ideally located with all amenities available, as well as bed and breakfast options dotted throughout the region. For a unique experience, check out Bellwether’s accommodation options.
Contributed by Erin from Australian Mountains To Sea
VictoriaGippsland is the largest region in Victoria. Gippsland extends from east of Melbourne to NSW/ Victorian border. Gippsland stretches from the beaches of Wilsons Promontory in the south to the slopes of Mount Hotham in the north.Wine in the Gippsland region has only started to emerge in the last 30 years. Most wineries you will find are family-owned businesses who have been honing their skills into making some amazing drops, rich in flavour and characteristics. Wines in Gippsland retain a full flavour and tastes thanks in part to its cool weather climate.Gippsland is renowned for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and its Cabinet Sauvignon and Merlot. Some of the most popular wineries in Gippsland include Wyanga Park Winery in Lakes Entrance, Blue Gables near Maffra, Wild Dog Winery near Warrigal just to name a few. Many of the wineries produce award-winning wines that are popular all over Australia. Blue Gables Sparkling Shiraz and Tambo Wineries Chardonnay are two of the best drops from Gippsland.Most of the bigger wineries have a cellar door with food and snacks available to complement their wines.Contributed by Mark from Travels in Gippsland
New South WalesThe Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. A mere two hours’ drive from Sydney, this spectacular regional area boasts a never-ending list of picturesque wineries and fine dining to spoil yourself. To really treat yourself to the best views in town, a hot air balloon ride is the best way to see the region from the air and marvel at the lush green rolling hills full of grapevines.In the Hunter Valley, you’ll find a variety of wines, but the specialties of the region are definitely the Semillon and buttery Chardonnays that will convert even the most adamant Chardonnay dissenter. Audrey Wilkinson Wines is a great cellar door experience to do as the tasting room is located atop a hill looking down into the valley. Saddler’s Creek is a very fun winery to visit, particularly on weekends when they have live music and food trucks to compliment the tasting experience.For organic wine fans, Tamburlaine is worth a visit and I found them incredibly generous with their cellar door experience – their sparkling wine is one of my favourites. I’d also thoroughly recommend a visit to Tempus Two to try their sweet red wine, the Dolce Rosa. The Crowne Plaza in Lovedale is a great option for accommodation as all the major wineries are easily accessible either by driving or taxi ride and there are both traditional hotel rooms and villas available. Chateau Elan at the Vintage is also really popular and they often have some very good mid-week deals. For something a little more secluded with great food options, Estate Tuscany has beautiful accommodation options as well as an award-winning restaurant on site called The Mill. Contributed by Emma from Emma Jane Explores
South AustraliaSouth Australia is home to 18 wine regions. One of the lesser known regions is on Kangaroo Island. Here there are 12 wineries producing a wide variety of different wines, the most popular ones are cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and chardonnay.Not all of the wineries have a cellar door for tasting, but there are five wineries that should be on your must-see list. Bay of Shoals Wines is conveniently located on the outskirts of Kingscote, The Islander Estate Vineyard and Springs Road Wines are not too far away in the Cygnet Bay Area, and you will find Dudley Wines and False Cape Wines on the Eastern end of Kangaroo Island, closer to Penneshaw.You will need a car to get around between the wineries as they are spaced a distance apart, although not so far apart that you couldn’t visit them all in a day. Another option is to do one of the food and wine tours available on the islandIf time is limited, I suggest visiting Bay of Shoals Wines since it is so close to Kingscote, or my favourite – but furthest away – is False Cape Wines.When on Kangaroo Island, stay at the Aurora Ozone Hotel in Kingscote, or for a luxury stay, try the Sea Dragon Lodge.Contributed by Josie from Exploring South Australia
Margaret River is one of the most unique and beautiful wine regions in Australia. Location in the state of Western Australia, Margaret River is about a 3-hour drive from Perth. Although close enough for a day trip, I personally recommend staying a couple of days to enjoy all of the different things to do in and around Margaret River (including visiting lots of wineries!) In Margaret River there are lots of hotels (my personal favorite is Margaret River Resort), hostels, Airbnb’s, and even holiday parks.
There are dozens of different wineries to explore in Margaret River, but a few stand out among the others. Leeuwin Estates is home to one of Australia’s most awarded bottles of Chardonnay and their gardens are absolutely stunning – perfect for some gorgeous outdoor photos! The Watershed also is a personal favorite with affordable bottles of wine and a delicious lunch menu at their onsite bar and restaurant.
The best way to get around to all of the different wineries is on a guided wine tour. This way, you don’t need to worry about who’s going to be your designated driver and all of your tastings are included. There are tons of different wine tours available in Margaret River including full and half-day options. Many tours also stop at the local cheese shop as well as chocolate shop for some added fun!
Contributed by Bailey from Destinationless Travel
The wine region of the Mornington Peninsula is a popular destination for Melburnians. An hour from central Melbourne brings you to the northernmost wineries. It’s possible to visit all of the major wineries in two or three days because they are clustered together, inland from the coastal towns and villages.
Part of the charm of the best Mornington Peninsula wineries is their location and amenities. Montalto Winery for example, is easy to locate because of the smell of pizzas baking in their pizza ovens that assails you long before you turn into the winery. Montalto also has a large grassed area for children, a significant Sculpture Trail, a vegetable garden, and a wine tasting are and cellar door.
Perhaps the most sophisticated winery in the Mornington Peninsula is Port Leo Estate with its extraordinary sculpture collection, view to Western Port Bay, and its sculptural central building that houses wine tastings, a cellar door, and two wonderful restaurants.
Other wineries offer organically grown produce and fine dining with luxury accommodation. Polperro Wines stands out in this regard but so too does Paringa Wineries restaurant, and the lakeside accommodation at Crittenden Wines.
The wines themselves are worth the trip to this region. The region grows some unique cool climate grape varieties. It has traditionally produced white wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. More recently, Pinot Noir has been produced.
Don’t leave the Mornington Peninsula without trying a Yabby Lake single block wine!
Contributed by Monique at Trip Anthropologist
New South Wales
Mudgee is an old, but less established wine region with the majority of major vineyards making wine since the 70’s & 80’s. It is growing in popularity due to the quality of produce in the area and picturesque surroundings.
There are 35 cellar doors in a relatively small area which makes all wineries very accessible and full coverage of the region possible in just a few days. This makes Mudgee a popular long weekend destination for Sydney visitors.
The Mudgee Tourist Bus is your easiest choice for a wine tour. They have plenty of options to suit your time available (and desired consumption!) and will visit up to 6 wineries on a full day tour.
If you prefer to DIY then the Mudgee Hopper is a hop on/hop off service that runs on a loop and allows you to set your own itinerary. However, this will only run on peak days of the week.
Our favorite winery was Huntington Estate. We purchased every single wine that we tasted, they were that good. The tasting has an option to add a food pairing for each wine. You get a selection of nuts, cheeses and dark chocolate all laid out on a board next to the corresponding wine. Well worth the few extra bucks and takes the experience up a level.
Other recommendations are Logan Wines for the stunning tasting room with glass walls that overlook the vineyard, and Robert Stein for their selection of dessert wines.
Finally, we also recommend a cheese tasting at High Valley Cheese. The flavor infused fetas are amazing!
Contributed by James & Anh from Team AJ Travels
New South Wales
After years of visiting the same wineries in New South Wales, I knew I had left out the Orange region for no valid reason… It was time to right a wrong and explore this reputable and beautiful wine region. Orange is a four-hour drive from Sydney, in Central West NSW and a sizeable town. It’s a pleasant drive, and you can stop in the Blue Mountains on the way.
With all the wineries, restaurants and small villages around, it’s worth staying there at least three days. Orange is well known for its cold-climate white wines and I was very impressed with the quality of the wines. Most wineries require a $10 tasting fee, which you can offset when you buy wine. You get to taste a succession of wines, starting with sparkling, then whites, finishing with reds and dessert wines. It’s difficult not to be tempted!
There are enough wineries to keep you busy for a couple of days. De Salis has beautiful views of the valley and a delicious sparkling wine. Philip Shaw is ideal for a boozy lunch with friends and Colmar has some of the best white wines I have tasted in Australia.
When you get back into town, you will find some really good restaurants, including ones with a strong Asian influence, all showcasing the local produce. Orange is a great destination for foodies! Before you leave the area, it’s worth taking a drive to Millthorpe and Carcoar, two neighbouring villages where time seems to have stopped.
Contributed by Delphine from Lester Lost
New South Wales
The Shoalhaven wine region is on the NSW South Coast between Berry and South Durros about 2 hours south of Sydney.
One of the smaller wine regions in the state, the first vine was planted at Coolangatta Estate outside Shoalhaven Heads in 1822. It was not until The 1980s that the local industry started to take shape locally and only the last decade or so has wine tasting become a stand-alone reason to visit the area.
Traditionally the area is best known for growing Chambourcin, a French-American style of red wine and the ever-popular Chardonnay. More recently newer varieties have been planted, and you will now include Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Viognier.
There are now 16 cellar doors, and we recommend you visit a range of them to get a “taste” of what’s on offer. Our favourite is Cupitt’s just near Milton. They have regular entertainment on weekends and plenty to taste including cheeses and beers along with their winery offerings.
Silos Estate Berry, is one of the earliest estates, opening in the mid-1980s – popular wines include their rose and shiraz. There are also some adorable alpacas waiting to meet you.
Two Figs is one of the loveliest locations with views over the Shoalhaven river and a lovely picnic area for you to enjoy after your tasting. Try their very popular rosé.
Public transport in the area is minimal, so it’s best visited by car. If you want someone to take care of the driving while you do your tasting, we recommend spending the day with Wine Knott tours. They are a fabulous local operator that offer several ways to explore the wineries of this region.
Contributed by Paula from Sydney Expert
QueenslandThe Granite Belt is the top wine region in Queensland and the country town of Stanthorpe is the hub of this wine region, which has over 50 vineyards. One of the unique features about this area is that it’s full of creative winemakers who are experts at making lesser-known wine varieties such as Saperavi, Fiano, Montepulciano, and Mourvedre. Other wine varietals to look out for in the wineries of Stanthorpe are viognier, mourvedre and tempranillo. Of course, wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Stanthorpe, the Granite Belt region is also produces artisan cheese and chocolate. The region is also famous for apples and the annual Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival is a fabulous event.Ridgemill Farm, Robert Channon Wines Wineries are two wines you should visit. Sirromet is the region’s most well-known winery and worth visiting too. It has a satellite cellar door across the road from St Jude’s Cellar Door & Bistro, which also serves Sirromet wine. A favourite place to dine is Varias Restaurant, which is in the same building as the Wine Tourism College of Queensland.Stanthorpe can be visited as a day trip from Brisbane, and the drive is breathtaking, with lovely country views. Before you reach Stanthorpe, stop at the Big Apple to taste local apple pie and a cornucopia of delicious treats such as local olives. Around the corner, pop into Stanthorpe Cheese to sample local cheese.Where to stay in Stanthorpe? For a luxurious treat, Allure Stanthorpe has glamping tents and luxury villas and is pet friendly. Another excellent accommodation choice is 31 The Rocks Stanthorpe for self-contained villas set in a bush-land landscape.Contributed by Christina from Travel 2 Next
The Tamar Valley is a cool climate wine region located around the Tamar River north of Launceston in Tasmania. It’s especially known for its sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. There are 32 wineries in this region and they are located in easy proximity to each other.
Not only are the wines great, but this is a great area to visit. Its picturesque, the roads are generally good and it’s not usually that busy. Another great part about visiting this wine region is that tasting platters are the regions specialty and you can get one at many of the wineries. This is generally a big platter of many different things to taste with a focus on local produce. They can be quite spectacular.
Our favourite wineries to visit are the Pipers Brook Vineyard which has a huge amount of wines to taste and some amazing (huge) platters to eat and the Iron Pot Bay Vineyard which is small and intimate with a great little restaurant and wines.
A car is the best way to explore this region or there are tours that will take you to 4-5 wineries. There are signs and brochures so you can easily follow the official Tamar Valley Wine Route.
Contributed by Sharon from Dive into Tasmania
The Yarra Valley is a whole different life experience away from the fast pace city life of its closest Australian city, Melbourne.
With the stunning vine-covered rolling hills of Healesville, Yarra Glen and Coldstream it is not difficult to understand why the Yarra Valley is the jewel in Victoria’s tourist destination crown. With many things to see/do/taste, the Yarra Valley is the perfect spot for an indulgent long weekend trip away.
Recognised as one of the world’s premier wine growing regions, the Yarra Valley also hosts a number of microbreweries and distilleries as well as gourmet dining, beautiful scenery, hiking trails, hot air balloon rides, gorgeous accommodation, art galleries and markets, and of course what the area is most famous for, good quality wine.
The Yarra Valley has over 90 cellar doors. Ranging from award-winning wineries such as De Bortoli, Domaine Chandon and Yering Station to mid-size and boutique cellar doors like Innocent Bystander, Tokar Estate, Yarrawood Estate and Dominique Portet plus many others.
If you are short on time, a number of companies offer day tours to Yarra Valley for around $110-$150 AUD per person. Tours can be tailored to your request or planned for you. Most include visits to top Yarra Valley attractions, 3-4 wineries, gourmet lunch, and transport to and from Melbourne.
Other places worthy of a visit are; Beechworth Bakery, Coldstream Brewery, Four Pillars Gin, the Public Brewery, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery and the Healesville Sanctuary.
The Yarra Valley is located 1 hour north east of Melbourne by car.
Contributed by Shae from The Bright Eyed Explorer
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