Follow the foodie’s guide to NSW wine country and help bushfire and drought-affected communities with a NSW recovery weekend.
You don’t even have to leave Sydney to explore NSW wine country but there is so much more to see.
Top photo – Wine tasting amongst the barrels at Lowe Wines, Mudgee. Photo: Destination NSW
Your foodie’s guide to NSW wine country starts in Sydney
Did you know you can go grape stomping right in the heart of Sydney? Head to Urban Winery in the city’s East, take a winery tour, jump in a tub and stomp, then sample wines straight from the barrel. Check out the cellar door, wine bar and event space.
Handpicked Wines Cellar Door is another central city winery. Located in a restored warehouse near Spice Alley in Chippendale, Handpicked showcases an exceptional range which has even made the Qantas first-class menu. You’ll find a bottle shop, sensory bar and cheese boxes to go in this in chic industrial setting.
Mimi’s, on the second level of Coogee Pavilion, is new at the Merivale venues. It has commanding ocean vistas and offers Mediterranean flavours. Mimi’s sommelier Toru Takamatsu is the youngest master sommelier in the world. He has a passion for French wines and rosé sparkling, along with a knowledge of Japanese winemaking with the Koshu grape.
Culpitt Wines, Shoalhaven. Photo: Destination NSW
The oldest vineyards in NSW wine country are located in the Hunter Valley along with some of the newest cellar doors.
Sleek and monochrome, Vamp has opened Broke Road in the centre of the Hunter wine trail by Lisa McGuigan, a renowned fourth-generation winemaker. There’s a pop-up oyster bar Friday to Sunday and four semi-private tasting rooms.
Brokenwood Wines also has an impressive new cellar door. Expect wood panelling, innovative tasting pods and an outdoor terrace set on a grassy slope.
The excellent restaurant and edgy atmosphere of Piggs Peake; Usher Tinkler Wines housed in a restored church and a vineyard picnic at Audrey Wilkinson with some of the best views of the valley should also be on your list.
Bangalay Dining, Shoalhaven. Photo: Destination NSW
Wine, pristine beaches and hinterland wineries, what more could you want for a recovery weekend in NSW?
The region’s signature French red grape Chambourcin and other warm-climate white varietals, such as Savagnin, pair perfectly with freshly shucked local oysters.
Bangalay offers luxury villas and a renowned restaurant which champions local ingredients while the historic Coolangatta Estate Winery is the largest wine producer in the Shoalhaven region. Here you will find a restaurant, swimming pool and golf course, plus convict-built cottage accommodation.
Crooked River Wines and Roselea Vineyard are close to the beaches of Gerringong. The area’s fertile volcanic soil produces award-winning wines. Cupitt’s Winery near Milton is a special place for lunch. Here you can taste distinctive wines blended by the Cupitt family from estate-grown grapes along with grapes sourced from the regions of Tumbarumba, Hilltops, Orange and Canberra District.
Follow this Wine lover’s guide to NSW and before you head home, stock up at boutique winery Two Figs and enjoy breathtaking views at its lovely sunlit tasting space.
Enjoy a glass of rose from Logan Wines at Mudgee. Photo: Destination NSW
The source of the Hastings River runs from high in the wilderness through a glorious valley to its salty mouth near Port Macquarie. The valley is home to a cluster of boutique wineries where summer rainfall, warm coastal breezes and volcanic soils laced with sand and clay produce earthy reds and bold whites.
Wander through the native Lilly Pilly hedge at Bago Maze and Winery, then settle in for a picnic with a cheese grazing platter.
Whalebone Wharf Restaurant is on the Hastings River in Port Macquarie. It is the place to the local wine with match seafood. It has coastal styling and a light menu of sashimi, oysters and local Dusky Flathead matched with local and global wine varietals.
Go traditional at Douglas Vale Historic Homestead which has a story-filled past dating back to 1859. The homestead winery produces varietals shaped by the humid climate of the North Coast such as Villard blanc and pale pink Chambourcin.
Looking for one of the best wine lists in New South Wales. Head to Bills Fishhouse where they serve beautiful, uncomplicated food and seasonal, local ingredients star.
Cowra and Canowindra
Cowra is a thriving hub in the Central West with a gorgeous Japanese garden and an up-and-coming wine region, while Canowindra is renowned for organic wines.
Located in Canowindra, Rosnay Organic Vineyard and orchard is a winery where three generations making wine and growing figs and olives.
Wallington Wines, a small, biodynamic vineyard that produces cabernet and chardonnay as well as red varietals such as Grenache and Mourvedre for blending is also in Canowindra.
One of the region’s founding winemakers, Windowrie is located in Cowra and is certified organic. The family grow several varietals but are most excited about the Verdelho, Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot.
Taste some of the region’s best wines from wineries that don’t have cellar doors at the Quarry Cellar Door. Dine at the onsite restaurant where you’ll sit in the garden and enjoy a menu showcasing local produce.
Logan Wines at Mudgee has a glass tasting room. Photo: Destination NSW
Mudgee, the third-largest wine grape producing region in New South Wales definitely deserves a place on a Wine lover’s guide to NSW. It has excellent restaurants, brilliant stargazing, colonial architecture and a community atmosphere. Mudgee has more than 35 cellar doors.
Try the glass tasting room overlooking the vineyard at Logan Wines or taste wines on the lawn under the shade of wisteria trees at Lowe Wines. Other top wineries include First Ridge where the cellar door is made from repurposed shipping containers, Bunamagoo Estate Wines and Moothi Estate.
At Robert Stein Winery, Pipeclay Pumphouse specialises in paddock-to-plate dining. Don’t miss Alby and Esthers which is hidden down a Mudgee alleyway. This is a café during the week and on weekends a chic wine bar.
A foodie’s guide to NSW wine country without includes cool in climate and culture, Orange. This region has a high altitude and volcanic soils. It is a hotspot for citrus-edged sparkling wines, crisp chardonnay, heritage cider apples and food festivals.
Pull-on your gumboots for truffle hunting with a local providore. Walkthrough vineyards softly dusted with snow or settle into urban-esque cellar doors and sip and graze your way through the region.
Philip Shaw is one of the original Orange original wineries. Philip’s sons Daniel and Damian are now at the helm. You can order a bottle of the Conductor Merlot and sit by the fire. The Architect Chardonnay is perfect to sample with cheese and olives outside in the sunshine.
Nashdale Lane Wines is tucked amongst the vineyards and olive groves. It has exceptional Shiraz and sauvignon blanc, and glamping tents where you can stay the night.
Swinging Bridge is named after an historic timber footbridge on the property. Try their beautiful Picnic in the Vines experience.
The NSW wine country in the Riverina region has a healthy food and wine culture which stems from the European population that settled here after World War II.
One of Australia’s first families of wine, the De Bortoli family vineyard was established in Bilbul by Vittorio De Bortoli, the head of the family, in the 1930s. Visit the cellar door, hear about the company’s history and enjoy a bottle of wine under the garden pergola.
The Calabria family also has a long history in the region. Their Tuscan-style cellar door in Griffith offers cheese and wine matching and group tastings with Italian hospitality and real warmth.
Yarran Wines is a smaller winery and overlooks Cocoparra National Park, producing pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and Shiraz. Check their calendar for Sip and Stretch yoga in the vines with brunch afterwards.
A bespoke Bella Vita Riverina Tour is an excellent way to visit wineries and meet producers in the region. There are over 10 wineries along with farmers and producers on their list.
Centennial Wines, Bowral. Photo: Destination NSW
The slower-paced elegance of the Southern Highlands reveals a land of long lunches, hearty red wines, ivy-covered country manors and famous flower gardens.
Cycle between world-famous vineyards on quiet country roads. Peppergreen Estate has a cellar door in a former antique store in Berrima and also offers olive oil and wine tasting experiences.
Cuttaway Wines has a relaxed tasting room with vineyard views. You can book a wine tasting with cheese or charcuterie, while the magical setting at Centennial Vineyards in Bowral is popular for destination weddings. In 2014, it became the first and only winery in the Southern Highlands to be awarded a five-star rating from wine critic James Halliday. You can sip wines at the cellar door or take high tea or lunch overlooking the vineyard.
Bendooley Estate in Berrima is another magnificent property with a rich history. Enjoy luxurious cottages, Bendooley’s restaurant and a grand cellar door.
Biota also offers a stay-and-sip experience. The restaurant serves cuisine created with foraged ingredients from their own garden.
Clementine Restaurant in Yass offers excellent regional dining. Photo: Destination NSW
The relatively young Canberra wine region punches above its weight with a mix of traditional styles and exciting blends. Riesling and Shiraz are their hero varieties. You can meet the winemakers at over 30 cellar doors and taste local produce at restaurants and farmgate tours. It’s a great location for a recovery weekend
In the heart of Murrumbateman cool climate wine region, Shaw Wines produces some of Australia’s best cabernet sauvignon. The wine cellar has a lounge tasting space and vineyard views.
Over at Contentious Character winery, the owners name their wines with humour. It’s all about ‘Agreeable Wine, Stubborn Vine’ Pinot Noir and ‘Sip Sip Hooray’ Sparkling. On the weekends they open the cellar door and fire up the pizza oven.
Other wineries and eateries to add to your list include Poacher’s Pantry for natural wood-smoked meats and delicious Poachers wine, Clonakilla for bold reds (their cellar door is open seven days), Tallagandra Wines for cottage accommodation and wine bar and Clementine Restaurant in Yass for excellent regional dining.
On the South Coast, Eurobodalla stretches from South Durras to Tilba Tilba. It’s an exciting food destination with a handful of boutique wineries, country pubs, decadent cheeses, fresh seafood 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 New South Wales, Tilba Lake Camp has a variety of accommodation including two pods named Bonnie and Clyde and bell tents. Less than ten minutes, Tilba Valley Winery and Alehouse is where you’ll find a grazing plate and local wine.
Further south, the Sapphire Coast wine industry is still in its infancy but is a beautiful NSW wine country spot to visit. Mimosa Wines has an excellent cellar door and unusual varietals that suit the maritime climate such as Chambourcin and Verdelho. Another is Yowrie Valley Wines in the Bega area. There is no cellar door but discover them every Tuesday at SAGE Moruya Farmers Markets.
Find out more about these NSW wine country destinations at Love NSW.
What else can you do in New South Wales?
- Try an edible adventure with a foraging tour.
- Discover gin flavoured by Australian Native Botanicals
Disclaimer: Information this foodie’s guide to NSW wine country was supplied by Tourism NSW.
Clonakilla, near Canberra, is known for its bold reds. Photo: Destination NSW