Find cellar doors, paddock-to-plate restaurants and artisanal grocery stores on these gourmet getaways.
With about 130 grape varieties, grown across 60 designated wine regions, Australia has quickly established itself as a go-to destination for wine lovers. Whether you're a wine connoisseur, or still learning your Pinot Gris from your Pinot Noir, these are seven of the best wine experiences the country has to offer.
See Australia's wineries in action
Drink biodynamic wines in the Margaret River
The Margaret River wine region is three hours drive south of Perth and produces 20 per cent of Australia's premium wine. Cullen is a family name synonymous with the region. The Cullens planted their first vines in 1971 and Vanya Cullen, a second-generation winemaker, holds a strong commitment to organic and biodynamic winemaking techniques. "I really want to bring a sense of the land to the glass," Vanya says. The winery is most famous for its Kevin John Chardonnay, named after Vanya's father. The restaurant, just beyond the cellar door, is a wholesome and gastronomic affair. The large kitchen garden grows herbs, vegetables and bush tucker that inspire executive chef Iain Robertson's daily dishes. Long wooden tables on the veranda overlook the vines, and on sunny days, tables are set up on the lawn just a few metres from the trellises. Cullen Wines offers private tours and tastings in which you can learn more about the biodynamic gardens, vineyards and wine.
Flavours of Italy in Victoria's High Country
In the High Country of north-east Victoria, a three hour drive from Melbourne, the King Valley is a little slice of Italy Down Under. This region was once tobacco country, but over the past 30 years has become renowned for its wines made from alternative grape varieties, many of them crafted by Italian families that have lived in the region for generations. The pre-eminent wineries here include Pizzini, Dal Zotto and Chrismont, producing Italian varieties such as Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo. When you walk into Dal Zotto's cellar door – home to Australia’s first commercial Prosecco – 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 can enjoy a traditional Italian meal at Dal Zotto Trattoria, where Nonna Elena creates antipasti and delicious handmade pasta.
Paddock to plate in the Shoalhaven
Tucked away down a quiet country lane on the South Coast of New South Wales, Cupitt's Winery and Cupitt’s Kitchen sit among picturesque vineyards, with outstanding views of Burrill Lake. The restaurant – a 3 ½ hour drive south of Sydney – offers the opportunity to dine on a working farm, enjoying the bounty of fresh, seasonal produce such as black Angus cattle and boutique cheeses, all paired with Cupitt's award-winning wine. Make an appointment to tour the underground “cave”, and sample directly from the 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. Stay overnight in the luxurious Bannisters by the Sea or Bannister Pavilion, both in the seaside town of Mollymook.
Visit one of the Hunter Valley's most renowned wineries
The Hunter Valley wine region is a two hour drive north of Sydney and known for its unique styles of Semillon and Shiraz. The region has been making wine since 1828 and boasts countless cafés and restaurants as well as about 120 cellar doors, including Tyrrell's Wines, whose Vat 1 Semillon is acknowledged as one of the world's best. Tyrrell's offers daily winery tours through its new and old winery (built in 1864), as well as private group tastings that include wines from its premium collection, the Winemaker's Selection. Make a weekend of it and book a night's stay at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, which offers premium accommodation and breathtaking vineyard views.
Wine and dine inside architectural excellence
Winemaking is a perplexing process, so says Chester Osborn, the creator of the incredible d’Arenberg Cube. He said that such intricacies were the inspiration behind the architecture and unique design of the cellar door’s cube-shaped building. Inside the incredible structure, visitors can not only be captivated by impressive views over McLaren Vale, but embark on some fine wine and dining experiences. The wine tastings are incorporated into themed flights that reflect the region’s winemaking practices. Sample single vineyard shiraz on the Geology Journey, or taste the exclusive flavours of d’Arenberg on Savour the Earth. Dine inside the Cube restaurant, that offers uninterrupted vineyard views with seasonal degustation menus and wine pairing options. Afterwards, get stuck into the world of d’Arenberg wine with masterclasses where you can learn about the history of the vintages, and how to expertly swirl and identify the variety of grape flavours.
Fly fishing in northern Tasmania wine region
Nestled amongst landscaped gardens and the rolling valleys of Northern Tasmania’s Relbia wine region is Josef Chromy Wines. Located just a 15 minute drive south of the city of Launceston, the cellar door offers the unique experience of fly fishing on the estate's private lake. Whether you are an avid or amateur caster, test your skills with a team of fly fishing experts in fun and intimate classes. Afterwards, enjoy a winery tour, tastings, and a two-course lunch in the restaurant. You’ll embark on a divine culinary experience, feasting on regional produce and matching wines at the cellar door’s hatted restaurant with views over the stunning vineyard. For an immersive experience, learn about the winemaking process on the Go Behind the Label tour, where you’ll taste wines still in the making process, followed by a two-course lunch at the cellar door restaurant.
Try your birth year in the Barossa Valley
One of Australia’s oldest wineries, founded in 1851, is Seppeltsfield, located in the heart of South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Famed for its signature 100-year-old Para Tawny, the cellar door is well known for the rare opportunity to sample vintage Tawny from the year you were born, in the estate’s Centennial Cellar. The cellar, more akin to an immersive Australian wine museum, provides a unique tasting experience offering visitors a chance to step back in time to the foundations of the vineyard and taste vintages from historical moments like the year man landed on the moon, or the sinking of the Titanic. Afterwards, wander the vineyard’s scenic gardens for a picnic with a Benno's Basket, join a daily heritage tour, or retire to the cellar door and tempt your taste buds with a Fortified Wine and Canape Tasting Flight.
More articles like this