EXPLORE New South Wales
Your guide to the best flavours from the winegrowing regions.
"NSW was the cradle of the nation's winemaking, originating in the Hunter Valley in 1828."
NSW was the cradle of the nation's winemaking, originating in the Hunter Valley in 1828. The Hunter, two hours north of Sydney, remains a popular wine region, hosting festivals, concerts and tasting events throughout the year, and boasting more than 60 cafés and restaurants. Among close to 120 cellar doors are the well-known Tyrrell’s, McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant, Hungerford Hill, Tulloch and Brokenwood, and there are also many boutique producers of note. The region is best known for age-worthy semillons and shirazes but varieties including verdelho and chardonnay also thrive, as do many olive groves. Outside the Hunter, the cool-climate region of Orange in the Central West of the state is enjoying a surge of popularity and produces fine chardonnays and sauvignon blancs, while there are also grape-growing regions at Mudgee, Cowra, Tumbarumba and the Hilltops region outside Young, along with the massive irrigated vineyards in and around Griffith in the Riverina.
A TASTE of New South Wales
Known as “Sydney's playground”, the Hunter is Australia's most-visited wine region. Grapes have been grown here since 1828 and the Hunter is a favourite with weekend visitors from Sydney – a two- or three-hour drive away depending on the traffic. It hosts many gourmet festivals (cheeses, olive oil, cured meats and confectionery are specialities) and is most famous for its semillons, which are crisp when young but develop beautifully when cellared. Shiraz, made in a medium-bodied style, is also a star here, while chardonnay and verdelho are popular.
"Known as 'Sydney's playground', the Hunter is Australia's most-visited wine region."
The best-known cellar doors centre around Pokolbin and include Tyrrell’s, McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant, Hungerford Hill, Tulloch, Drayton’s, Brokenwood, Tempus Two and Lindeman's while there are also dozens of smaller family-owned producers, particularly in the Lovedale sub-region. It is worth seeking out the Leogate cellar door and visiting the First Creek cellar door, as well as popping in to Margan Wines, which has a delightful restaurant at Broke. Just down the road is leading biodynamic producer Krinklewood.
Must-visit cellar doors
The Central West of the state boasts wine regions centred around Mudgee, Cowra and Canowindra. It is Orange, however, that has surged ahead of its regional rivals in recent years with a range of small producers making stylish cool-climate wines. The region was originally known for its stone fruit industry but since the early 1980s it has boomed as a wine region with grapes being grown at elevations varying from 600 to 1100 metres above sea level.
"The town hosts many gourmet festivals and has several top-notch eateries."
Given these different terroirs, Orange is known as one of the most versatile wine regions with shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and several Italian grape varieties thriving alongside chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer. The town hosts many gourmet festivals and has several top-notch eateries. Pioneering wineries include Bloodwood and Cargo Road while other standouts are Canobolas-Smith, Mayfield Vineyard, Patina, Printhie, Philip Shaw, De Salis, Angullong and Cumulus
MUST-VISIT CELLAR DOORS
This thriving Central West city is home to several quirky and interesting wine destinations. Former two-time International Winemaker of the Year Philip Shaw, once of Rosemount Estate, has swapped the big league for the country and now grows grapes at 900 metres and offers tastings in a lovingly restored bluestone cellar door.
Patina Wines is a family-owned estate on volcanic slopes with spectacular gardens and views to Mount Canobolas. Here, the tasting facility is actually part of the Naef family's home.
Mayfield Vineyard is home to one of the most picturesque tasting rooms in New South Wales, with a 100-year-old schoolhouse serving as the cellar door.