If you’re a lover of food and wine, now’s the time to visit NSW to curate your own tasting trail through the state. Start your journey in Sydney then book a stay in NSW wine country. From Mudgee to Hastings River, you won’t be short of things to taste, see and do!
By staying and spending in greater NSW, you’ll help bushfire and drought-affected communities get back on their feet. Start planning your journey using these cellar doors, wineries and wine bars for inspo.
Start in Sydney
In the modern metropolis of Sydney you can experience the age-old art of grape stomping. At Urban Winery in the city’s East, tour the winery, jump in a tub to stomp, and sample wines straight from the barrel. There’s also a cellar door, wine bar and event space.
Another cellar in the city is Handpicked Wines Cellar Door in a restored warehouse near Spice Alley in Chippendale. Handpicked showcase their exceptional range — which is on the Qantas first-class menu — in a chic industrial setting with a bottle shop, sensory bar and cheese boxes to go.
A new addition to the Merivale stable of brilliant bars and restaurants is mimi’s, on the second level of Coogee Pavilion commanding ocean vistas and Mediterranean flavours. Mimi’s sommelier Toru Takamatsu is the youngest master sommelier in the world and brings a passion for French wines, a knowledge of Japanese winemaking with the Koshu grape, and a love of rosé sparkling.
While the oldest vineyards can be found in the Hunter Valley, some of the State’s newest cellar doors have launched in this lush haven of acclaimed winemakers.
On Broke Road in the centre of the Hunter wine trail, sleek monochrome wine rooms Vamp have recently been opened by Lisa McGuigan — renowned fourth generation winemaker. There’s a circular tasting bar, four semi-private tasting rooms and a pop-up oyster bar Friday to Sunday.
Brokenwood Wines has an impressive new cellar door too with wood panelling, innovative tasting pods and an outdoor terrace set in a grassy slope.
Other cellar doors to tick off are Piggs Peake, with a great restaurant and edgy atmosphere; Audrey Wilkinson, for a vineyard picnic with some of the best views of the valley; and Usher Tinkler Wines housed in a restored church.
This coastal wine region offers a revitalising blend of pristine beaches and hinterland wineries. Try the signature French red grape chambourcin and other warm-climate white varietals, such as savagnin, which pair perfectly with local oysters.
Stay and dine at Bangalay, which offers luxury villas and a renowned restaurant which champions local ingredients. Visit the historic Coolangatta Estate Winery, the largest wine producer in the Shoalhaven region. It has a restaurant, golf course and swimming pool, plus accommodation in convict-built cottages.
A special place for lunch is Cupitt’s Winery near Milton. Sample the distinctive wines blended by the the Cupitt family from their own estate-grown grapes along with grapes sourced from the regions of Hilltops, Tumbarumba, Orange and Canberra District.
On the way home stock up at Two Figs – this boutique winery has a lovely sunlit tasting space with breathtaking views.
From its source high in the wilderness to its salty mouth near Port Macquarie, the Hastings River runs through a glorious valley, home to a cluster of boutique wineries. Warm coastal breezes, summer rainfall and volcanic soils laced with clay and sand produce bold whites and earthy reds.
At Bago Maze and Winery, wander through the incredible native Lilly Pilly hedge maze then settle in for a picnic with one of their cheese grazing platters.
For seafood and local wine, the lovely Whalebone Wharf Restaurant on the Hastings River in Port Macquarie has muted coastal styling and light breezy menu of oysters, sashimi and local Dusky Flathead matched with local and global wine varietals.
For a traditional wine tasting, Douglas Vale Historic Homestead has a storied past dating back to 1859 and produces varietals shaped by the humid North Coast climate such as villard blanc and pale pink chambourcin.
Bills Fishhouse has one of the best wine lists in NSW and serves beautiful uncomplicated food with seasonal, local ingredients the star.
Cowra and Canowindra
Rosnay Organic Vineyard and orchard is a winery located in Canowindra, with three generations making wine and growing olives and figs. Also in Canowindra is Wallington Wines, a smaller, biodynamic vineyard that produces cabernet and chardonnay as well as red varietals such as grenache and mourvedre for blending.
Windowrie is one of the region’s founding winemakers, located in Cowra, and is certified organic. The family grow a wide variety of varietals but are most excited about the cabernet, shiraz and merlot as well as the Verdelho.
The Quarry Cellar Door offers tastings of some of the region’s best wines, some of which don’t have a cellar door. There is a gorgeous restaurant on site with seating in the garden and a menu showcasing local produce.
Excellent restaurants, colonial architecture, brilliant stargazing and a convivial community atmosphere make for an unforgettable time in Mudgee. The region is the third-largest producer of wine grapes in NSW and there are more than 35 cellar doors around Mudgee.
On the grounds of the Robert Stein Winery you’ll find Pipeclay Pumphouse, which specialises in paddock-to-plate dining. And don’t miss Alby + Esthers, hidden down an alley way in Mudgee – it’s a café during the week and a chic wine bar on weekends.
Orange is cool in every sense of the word — in climate and culture. With high altitude and volcanic soils it’s a hotspot for crisp chardonnay, citrus-edged sparkling wines, heritage cider apples and food festivals.
Pull on your gum boots for truffle hunting with a local providore, see vineyards softly dusted with snow, and settle into one of Orange’s many urban-esque cellar doors to sip and graze your way around this vibrant region.
One of Orange’s original wineries is Philip Shaw, currently with Philip’s sons Daniel and Damian at the helm. Order a bottle of the Conductor Merlot and sit by the fire, or sample the Architect Chardonnay with cheese and olives outside in the sunshine.
Tucked amongst the vineyards and olive groves, Nashdale Lane Wines has exceptional shiraz and sauvignon blanc, and you can stop for the night in one of their glamping tents. Swinging Bridge is named after the historic timber foot bridge on the property and offer a wonderful Picnic in the Vines experience.
Griffith, in the Riverina region has a strong food and wine culture, partly due to the European population that settled there after World War II.
The De Bortoli family is one of Australia’s first families of wine, with vines established in Bilbul by the head of the family, Vittorio De Bortoli, in the 1930s. Visit the cellar door and hear about the history of the company and enjoy a bottle of wine under a pergola in the garden.
Another family with a long history in the region is the Calabria clan. Their Tuscan-style cellar door in Griffith offers a number of tasting experiences, including cheese and wine matching and a group tasting, with a real warmth and Italian hospitality.
Yarran Wines is a smaller winery overlooking Cocoparra National Park, producing sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Enjoy a relaxed vibe and check their calendar for events like Sip and Stretch — yoga in the vines with a sparkling brunch afterwards.
A wonderful way to visit wineries and meet producers in the region is on a bespoke Bella Vita Riverina Tour. They have a list of over 10 wineries along with farmers and producers.
Savour a slower-paced elegance in the Southern Highlands, land of long lunches, hearty red wines, famous flower gardens and ivy-covered country manors. Make the most of quiet country roads and cycle between world-famous vineyards.
Put Peppergreen Estate on your list — they have a lovely cellar door in a former antique store in Berrima, along with olive oil and wine tasting experiences at their estate.
Cuttaway Wines has a relaxed tasting room with vineyard views – book a wine tasting with cheese or charcuterie.
Centennial Vineyards in Bowral has a magical setting and is popular for destination weddings. In 2014, it became the first and only winery in the Southern Highlands to be awarded the prestigious five-star rating from wine critic James Halliday. Pop in to the cellar door to sip their award-winning wines, or enjoy high tea or lunch overlooking the vineyard.
In Berrima, Bendooley Estate is another magnificent property with a rich history. There are luxurious cottages, Bendooley’s restaurant and a grand cellar door. Biota also offers a stay-and-sip experience — the restaurant serves cuisine championing foraged ingredients from their own garden, and there’s a restored barn to stay in with polished styling and country views.
This relatively young wine region punches above its weight, with an exciting mix of traditional styles and exciting blends — riesling and shiraz being the hero varieties. Meet winemakers at over 30 cellar doors and taste local produce at inventive restaurants and farmgate tours.
Nestled in the heart of Murrumbateman cool climate wine region, Shaw Wines is the producer of some of Australia’s best cabernet sauvignon. The contemporary wine cellar has a lounge tasting space and vineyard views.
Over at Contentious Character winery, the owners name their wines with humour — think ‘Agreeable Wine, Stubborn Vine’ Pinot Noir and ‘Sip Sip Hooray’ Sparkling. Visit on the weekends when they fire up the pizza oven and open the cellar door.
Other wineries and eateries to add to your list include Clonakilla for bold reds (their cellar door is open seven days), Poacher’s Pantry for natural wood smoked meats and delicious Poachers wine; Clementine Restaurant in Yass for excellent regional dining; and Tallagandra Wines for cottage accommodation and wine bar.
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On the South Coast, Eurobodalla stretches from South Durras to Tilba Tilba. It’s a sensational foodie destination boasting a handful of boutique wineries, country pubs, fresh seafood, decadent cheeses and sophisticated accommodation.
Eurobodalla is part of the famous Oyster Coast. Indulge in a cheeky dozen at Quarterdeck Café inside an old boatshed at Narooma Marina. One of the original tiny holiday homes in NSW, Tilba Lake Camp has a variety of accommodation including bell tents and two pods named Bonnie and Clyde. While there pop into Tilba Valley Winery and Alehouse less than ten minutes away for a grazing plate and local wine.
Further south, the Sapphire Coast wine industry is in its infancy but a wonderful spot to visit. Mimosa Wines has an excellent cellar door and interesting varietals that suit the maritime climate such as chambourcin and verdelho. Another is Yowrie Valley Wines in the Bega area – there’s no cellar door but discover them every Tuesday at SAGE Moruya Farmers Markets.
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