I don’t know about you but I’ve certainly enjoyed my wines in lockdown. Perhaps a little too much! So now that restrictions are easing, it gives me great joy in knowing that the wineries are opening back up. This means wine tours, cellar door tastings and delicious long lunches at wineries are back on. Woohoo! Don’t get me wrong, I love going to bars and restaurants but there is something really special about going to a winery and seeing where the wine is made. Hearing about the process and sampling all the varieties on offer is so much fun with your gang and a great way to spend a day. With this is mind, I’ve put together a list of my top wineries to visit around Australia.
The Hunter Valley produces some delicious wines that are renowned around the country. And many of these wineries boast award winning restaurants. On of my faves has to be Margan Estate. The winery has won countless awards for not only it’s wine, but its restaurant as well. The organic, farm to table ethos has resulted in the restaurant being awarded hats so you know you are in for an extraordinary experience. If pairing wine with cheese is your thing (most definitely) then a visit to Tertini Wines is a must. The cellar door was awarded best by Gourmet Traveller in 2015 and here, you are served a flight of wines with a variety of regional cheeses. Delicious! Another venue that does wine and cheese exceptionally well has to be Scarborough Wine Co. What makes this place unique is that it has areas for kids to play so you can still enjoy your wine tasting with kids in tow. It also helps that the bold wines are delicious too.
Victoria has several regions known for producing wine. On the Mornington Peninsula, you can’t go past Rare Hare at Willow Creek Vineyard. The Cellar door offers many different tasting experiences and tours, whilst the Rare Hare offers delicious food from surrounding farms. Guaranteed not to disappoint. In Gippsland, Dirty Three Wines has been getting a lot of attention not only for their delicious wine in their tasting room. Think wines with delicious cheese and charcuterie. What more could you want? Make sure you check the stunning local artwork on the wall. The Yarra Valley is known for exceptional wineries (and distilleries) and you can’t really go past Oakridge. They cellar door offers different tasting options and tours but what makes this winery really stand stand out is the restaurant on site. With prominent chefs using locally sourced ingredients, you’ll find some of the best food in Australia. Count me in!
Like other states, WA has several wine producing regions. For something close to Perth, The Swan Valley has several wineries to choose from. One of my favourites has to be Sittella. Not only is the wine delicious, but so is the food! Pre Covid, they had African cooking classes with the head chef where you learnt about wine pairing. I’m hoping this resumes soon! Down south you are presented with so many options! In Margaret River, you can’t go past Woody Nook Wines. Here you will find award winning wines in a rustic cellar door alongside a beautiful cafe featuring an abundance of local produce. Another winner in Margaret River is Wills Domain. Further south, you can’t beat the yummy Singlefile Wines in Denmark. For their tastings, they pair wine with chocolate! Delicious!
South Australia is known for its sensational wines from the Barossa Valley. You can’t talk about wine in SA without talking about Seppeltsfield. Operating since 1878, this place is legendary. The tastings and tours are next level, and the food at Fino (their onsite restaurant) is delightful. Can’t miss this experience. One relatively new venue, Artisans of the Barossa, showcases 6 local independent wine producers. The tasting room. has gorgeous views and is complimented by heavenly food. Well worth the trip! Another favourite winemaker has to be Bird in Hand. They specialize in cool climate wine, often throw big parties on the lawn, feature an art gallery and have a lovely farm to table restaurant.
There is no shortage of wineries in Tasmania, throughout the island. There are 4 distinct wine growing regions, and in the Tamar Valley, you’ll find Tamar Ridge, a cool climate specialist known for making wines of quality and character. You can taste your way through a flight of Pinot Noir accompanied by local seasonal platters, seated on the deck or on the grass overlooking the valley. Delightful! Another place worthy of a visit has to be Bay of Fires Cellar door. It is home to 3 premium wine labels that are known for for beSt utilizing the unique Tasmanian landscape. They offer a variety of tastings of Riesling, sparkling and Pinot as well as twilight tours amongst the vines, complete with glass in hand. Now you can’t talk about wine tastings at a cellar door in Tasmania without talking about Moorilla at Mona. The legendary wine producer makes premium wines including a delicious sparkling, that can be sipped under the artworks at Mona. If you would prefer to wander amongst the vineyard and drink directly from the tanks, you can do that too. Unfortunately it was closed for Covid but should be opening up soon.
Of course no visit to a winery would be complete without a gorgeous outfit. You need something comfortable for wandering around the vineyard and also to allow for all the drinks and food you’ll consume. Now there is a time a place for a mini, but I don’t think a vineyard or cellar door is that time (save that for hitting up the bars). Personally, I think a midi or maxi is perfect for the occasion. Casual but dressy enough. Throw on some cool ankle boots for edge. A cute print is fun and youthful, whilst any colour goes. Just add a warm jacket for those winter visits. Here’s my pick of dresses for your next winery visit.