From the vines: 7 incredible wine experiences across Australia

Australia’s biggest celebration of Australian wine – Aussie Wine Month – is held throughout May. Now in its fifth year, the event aims to celebrate the diversity, quality and regionality of Australian wines. In honour of the annual event, we've selected seven amazing wine experiences across Australia for wine and food lovers alike. From the vines: 7 incredible wine experiences across Australia
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From the vines: 7 incredible wine experiences across Australia

  • Winery

Australia’s biggest celebration of Australian wine – Aussie Wine Month – is held throughout May. Now in its fifth year, the event aims to celebrate the diversity, quality and regionality of Australian wines. In honour of the annual event, we've selected seven amazing wine experiences across Australia for wine and food lovers alike.

A young wine industry by world standards, Australia's wine regions have quickly established themselves as must-do experiences for wine lovers, and lovers of great food. Enjoy biodynamic wines at Cullen Wines in the Margaret River Western Australia followed by an organic lunch at the on-site restaurant, blend your own wine in the Barossa Valley South Australia or have an Italian encounter a short drive from Melbourne in the beautiful King Valley where home-made pasta cooked by the Dal Zotto family's nonna often leads to a post-meal game of bocce.

Drink biodynamic wines at Cullen Wines / Western Australia 

The Margaret River Wine Region produces just three per cent of Australia's wine, yet 20 percent of the country's premium wine. Cullen is a family name long synonymous with the region, having tended one of the oldest vineyards in Western Australia's south west since planting the first vines in 1971. 

Vanya Cullen, a second generation wine maker, holds a strong commitment to organic wine making techniques and biodynamics. "I really want to bring a sense of the land to the glass," says Vanya. The winery is most famous for its Kevin John Chardonnay which is named after Vanya's father. 

The restaurant, just beyond the cellar door, is a wholesome and gastronomic experience. Vanya's food philosophy is similar to that of her wine, natural and organic. The large kitchen garden grows seasonal vegetables that inspire head chef Matt Egan's daily dishes, and it doubles as a lovely place for patrons to stroll. Edible flowers, beetroot, artichoke, rocket, tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, spring onions, fennel and asparagus are just some of the garden's bounty.  

Long wooden tables on the verandah overlook the vines that are dotted with their companion plant, broad beans. On sunny days, tables are set up on the lawn at the foot of the restaurant steps, just a few metres from the trellises. 

Experience: book a tour: Cullen wines offer private group tours and tastings at the winery where you can learn more about their biodynamic gardens and vineyards. Book a premium food and wine experience at the Cullen Restaurant and enjoy a range of new and back vintage wines matched to the delicious menu. 

Visit Australia's most traditional Italian wine region / Victoria

Tucked away in a quiet corner in the high country of northeast Victoria, the King Valley is a little slice of Italy Down Under. This region was once tobacco country, but over the past 30 years it has become renowned for producing wines made from alternative grape varieties, many of them crafted by Italian families who have lived in the region for generations and welcome you to their rustic cellar doors. 

The preeminent winery names here include PizziniDal Zotto and Chrismont, all of whom make Italian varieties like Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Family patriarch Otto Dal Zotto was born in Valdobbiadene in the Veneto, home of Italy's favourite sparkling wine, Prosecco and the Dal Zottos produced Australia's first commercial Prosecco. When you walk into Dal Zotto's cellar door you will usually be greeted by a family member – and may be invited to enjoy a game of bocce after your wine tasting. 

On weekends, visitors flock to enjoy a traditional Italian meal at the Dal Zotto Trattoria, affectionately known as the Tratt, where "Nonna Elena" Dal Zotto creates antipasto combinations, delicious gnocchi dishes and hand-made pasta. 

Experience: the surrounding region: King Valley is approximately a three hour's drive from Melbourne airport. In the region you will also find Pizzini Wines which has a cooking school called A Tavola! that can accommodate groups of 10. While 30 minutes away from King Valley is Brown Brothers Milawa cellar door. Here you can book a wine blending experience, take a tasting tour or dine at their restaurant, Patricia's table. 


Paddock to plate in vineyards with a view / New South Wales

Hidden away at the end of a quiet country lane, minutes from Shoalhaven's finest beaches, Cupitt's Winery and The Vineyard Kitchen restaurant sits amoung picturesque vineyards, with outstanding views of Burrill Lake and Buawang mountain ranges. The restaurant offers the opportunity to dine on a working farm, sampling the bounty of fresh, seasonal produce including Black Angus cattle, vegetables and herbs grown in the kitchen garden or foraged from the pastures, and boutique cheese; all paired with Cupitt's award-winning handcrafted wine. 

Indulge in a long, lazy lunch or a casual meal from the light menu and visit the winery's historic cellar door, tasting wines and talking to the winemakers. Make an appointment to tour the underground wine cave, sampling directly from the cuves and barrels. The property also hosts a number of food-focused events throughout the year, from Long Table Lunches to local growers markets, held on the grounds on the last Saturday of every month. 

Experience: stay the night: A short 15 minute drive from the winery you will find two luxury resorts, Rick Stein's Bannisters by the Sea and Bannister Pavillion, both located in the seaside town of Mollymook. Bannisters by the sea features 32 rooms and a seafood restaurant while Bannisters Pavillion has 33 rooms and a suspended rooftop pool. 

Make your own vintage in the Barossa Valley / South Australia

Set amongst rolling hills covered in vines on historic Seppeltsfield Road, boutique hotel The Louise, and its restaurant, Appellation, have established a reputation as one of the Barossa Valley's most premium accommodation and dining offerings. Executive Chef Ryan Edwards sources 85 per cent of the produce he uses in the Barossa Valley and South Australia, in addition to baking bread on-site and curing smallgoods. Guests of The Louise have the opportunity to undertake a number of executive food and wine experiences, including starting the day in the nearby National Park with a picnic breakfast, complete with kangaroos. Cooking classes can also be on the agenda, as is the opportunity to attend a wine blending class. 

Experience: the surrounding region: The Barossa Valley is just an hour's drive from Adelaide and includes established wineries such as Jacob's Creek Winery, Seppeltsfield and Chateau Tanunda. Alternatively for a winery closer to Adelaide, Penfolds Magill Estate is only 15 minutes drive from the city. 


Visit one of the Hunter Valley's Most Renowned Wineries / New South Wales

The Hunter Valley wine region is a two hour drive north of Sydney and is best known for its unique styles of Semillon and Shiraz. The region has been making wine since 1828 and now boasts more than 60 cafes and restaraunts and close to 120 cellar doors, including Tyrrell's Wines whose Vat 1 Semillion is still acknowledged as one of the world's best. 

Tyrrell's Wines' cellar door is located in the original 1864 winery with old oak vats and historic red cellar door offers private group tastings including the Murray Tyrrell Tasting that includes wines from their oldest and most awarded collection of wines, the Winemakers Selection range. 

Experience: the region: The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley offers a combined 2,000 square metres of pre-function, meeting and exhibition space catering for up to 1,600 delegates. The property also features 316 spacious guestrooms, an onsite restaurant and brewery as well as a day spa. 

A taste of history with a wine from your birth year / South Australia 

The Barossa Valley, located just an hour's drive north of Adelaide, is known for its gutsy wines, particularly  reds made from Shiraz and Grenache grapes, grown on some of the world's oldest surviving vines. The region is home to more than 80 cellar doors and 150 wineries including Seppeltsfield established in 1851 and home to the best fortified wines in Australia, some dating back over a century. 

The winery offers groups a number of unique experiences, like the Seppeltfield Segway tour which takes you around the property's stunning gardens and heritage listed buildings, or the unique and very popular Taste Your Birth Year tour. Accommodating groups of 10 in their 100 year old Centennial Cellar, the Taste Your Birth Year tour allows you the rare opportunity to taste a tawny port straight from the barrel made the year you were born. 

Experience: the surrounding region: There's more to the Barossa Valley than just wine. Visit Maggie Beer's Farm Shop for a taste of her famous fruit pastes and gourmet essentials. Also on site is The Farm function centre which can accommodate up to 160 people and specialises in menus featuring seasonal and regional produce. 


A pop of sparkling from a legendary champagne house / Victoria

Some of the most influential winemakers in Australia can be found in the Yarra Valley, just an hour's drive from Melbourne. Known for its sparkling wines, stellar Chardonnay and outstanding Pinot Noir varieties, the Yarra Valley was first planted with grapes back in 1838, just three years after Melbourne was founded. 

Today the wine region has more than 70 wineries including Domaine Chandon, one of Australia's leading producers of sparkling wines and the only Australian winery founded by the legendary champagne house Moet and Chandon. Accommodating groups of up to 24, the winery offers tastings of a range of their most popular sparkling wines, as well as lunch packages at their onsite restaurant, Greenpoint Brasserie. Enjoy your lunch accompanied by a spectacular view of the vineyard and beautiful countryside. 

Experience: the surrounding region: Other wineries you may like to explore nearby are Oakridge, De BortoliTarraWarra Estate and Yering Station

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