James Robson'S ORANGE
Winemaker, Ross Hill
Australia's first certified Carbon Neutral Winery, Ross Hill prides itself on its environmental policy and sustainable wine making process. Peter and Terri Robson began Ross Hill in 1994, joined by their son James and partner Chrissie Robson. James says 'Orange is unique in its ability to do many different varieties well'.
Describe in 1 - 2 sentences why visitors should visit Ross Hill
The Ross Hill Cellar Door is connected to our winery and is situated next to our vineyard at 1020 metres above sea level. We do a free winery tour at 10am every day so you see how wine is made in Australia’s first certified Carbon Neutral Winery. We have two vineyards (the other is at 750 metres) so visitors can try all the range that Orange can offer.
What is your favourite varietal from the Orange wine region?
Orange is unique in its ability to do many different varieties well. This is because of the different altitudes that grapes are grown in the region. Though chardonnay leads the way in white wine my favourite variety is shiraz. When shiraz is grown in cooler regions it has a beautiful spice profile and is really elegant. Keep an eye out for some ripper cabernet francs as well.
Is there a little known spot in Orange (hidden gem known by locals) that visitors should not miss?
There are too many to count but when we have had some rain the walk in the national park to Federal falls is fantastic. The view from the Pinnacle is also superb. The shopping in Orange is great. We have a butcher called Cured who has the best range of salami.
What are the essential must-do's for first-time visitors to Orange?
The cellar doors of Orange are exceptional, mainly because you are served by the makers, growers and owners. We are completely spoilt by the quality of restaurants in Orange. From Lolli Redini to Charred to fantastic Asian restaurants like Mr Lim and Raku Izakaya. If you're after a cold beer we have the best pub in regional NSW located at Hotel Canobolas.
Your favourite produce from the region and wine?
Orange is known as the food basket of NSW. We grow the best cherries and apples. My favourite producer is Mandagery Creek Venison. From a wine point of view I really like Rikard Wines Chardonnay, Philip Shaw No. 17 and Angullong Tempranillo. Ross Hill Cabernet Franc is also a ripper.
What makes Orange unique?
Orange is an amazing place to live and work. We have 4 distinct seasons, snow most winters, temperate to hot summers and springtime. My favourite time is autumn, Orange is called the colour city for a reason, the trees are spectacular. The sense of community in Orange is really strong and it's no more present than right now.
Finally, what is your favourite wine to have at the end of the day and why?
To be honest a cold beer after tasting wine all day is superb, we have a great producer in Orange called Two Heads. From a wine point of view I am trying heaps of different pinot noirs from Orange which is certainly the variety that is emerging as a belter.