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Wine oh sweet wine, the nectar of the Gods. Wine has been around for centuries, enjoyed all over the world by all groups of people, and it’s not going anywhere. In Australia we have our fair share of excellent vineyards producing some of the finest wines. So today I’m asking some of my travel blogger friends where are the best wine regions of Australia?
Too often overshadowed by big brother next door Margaret River, Great Southern on the West Australian southern coast is one of Australia’s premier cooler climate regions. Also one of Australia’s largest, it includes the sub regions of Albany, Denmark, Mount Barker, Frankland River and the Porungurups. The regions best varietals include Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz , Malbec and Cab Franc.
Favourites of ours in Denmark along the Scotsdale Road wine route include Harewood Estate, Howard Park & Madfish Bay and Forest Hill. Arguably one of the region’s best, Plantagenet Wines have their tasting rooms in Mount Barker just off the Albany Hwy, a great place for a feed as well with picnic grounds and play equipment. Our favourite reds are at Dukes in the Porongurps and for your port, don’t miss the small but wonderful Rockcliffe Estate in Denmark.
As the region is quite spread out, you will need several days to do it any justice. Note, not all wineries are open for tastings 7 days so plan your days carefully – many only offer tasting plates and meals on weekends. Don’t miss out on visiting the regions spectacular State and National Parks as well; it has some of the countries most spectacular coast line. There is plentiful B&B style accommodation in both Denmark and around Greater Albany.
The best things about the Margaret River wine region are its diversity when it comes to world class wines, and its reputation as a gourmet getaway.
Not only are there fantastic cellar doors to choose from, but many wine estates have top class restaurants attached to them offering everything from long degustation lunches to casual bistro style dining.
Although a relatively young wine region it actually produces a massive 20% of Australia’s premium wines.
Then there are beaches, forests, caves, gourmet food producers (think fruit, vegetables, seafood, nougat, chocolate, olive oil, tapenades, olives and more) and a quaint town renowned for its surfy atmosphere.
The Margaret River region has a Mediterranean climate, which is ideal for growing grapes, and the first commercial vineyard was planted in 1967.
Today, there are around 215 wine producers and 75 cellar doors to choose from, ranging from boutique wineries to large corporate concerns.
Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are the region’s most famous varieties, but award winning chardonnay, semillon, sauvignon blanc, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and shiraz are also produced. Verdelho, pinot noir, pinot gris and tempranillo are wines that are also emerging in the region.
There are plenty more fun things to do in Margaret River
Only an hour from Melbourne is a magical wine area. An area that so many people ignore or have never heard of. A cool climate wine area with even cooler wineries. With vineyard altitudes in the region ranging from 300 to 800 metres above sea level making it cool to cold by world standards.
Where is this magical place? It’s the Macedon Ranges. With over 40 wineries, such as my personal favourite Curly Flat ,producing a unique variety of pinots, chardonnay and sparkling wines just to name a few. Now thankfully the Macedon Ranges isn’t just home to amazing wine. You’ll find yourself sneaking into cafes for coffee and restaurants for some delightfully local produce.
Not only are these wines produced in the Macedon Ranges delicious and a reflection on the area but seriously the wineries themselves are worth while venturing out of the city for.
Although Rutherglen is a small town in North-Eastern Victoria, it is one of Victoria’s premier wine destinations with over 20 fabulous wineries together with restaurants, cafes and local produce.
Rutherglen has a sunny and dry climate and is known for the world famous sweet fortified wines including muscats, tokays and ports.
Along with these signature sweet sticky wines there are other, lesser known grapes grown in this region including the rich reds Durif and Tempranillo.
Many of the wineries are run by passionate family members who we have always found to be accommodating and eager to talk about their wines and the traditional methods used in combination with modern wine making techniques.
The wineries around Rutherglen are all an easy drive from town. If you are staying on or around the Main Street you will be able to walk to both Tuileries of Rutherglen and Jones and Co.
There is so much on offer in terms of restaurants, cafes and local produce. You really are spoilt for choice from casual to chef hatted restaurants and nothing quite beats enjoying fabulous food matched with delicious local wines.
Rutherglen is a perfect holiday destination. There is so much on offer, take your time to wonder between the different wine tasting experiences, vineyards, delicious restaurants and local produce, you won’t be disappointed.
These maritime cool climate conditions are perfect for the Pinot Noir varieties for which the area is best known. However, wineries in this region also produce dry and medium bodied Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Tempranillo wines.
The best way to discover the wines is to visit one of the 50 cellar doors from the 200 small scale vineyards in the area.
At Ten Minutes by Tractor you can match their outstanding single vineyard wines with a bite to eat in their bistro overlooking the vines. We also love Montalto where you can take a walk along a sculpture trail in the estate before relaxing with a specially prepared picnic.
With over 160 wineries in the region – and as many as 50 cellar doors open at peak times, the Yarra Valley is easily one of the best wine regions in Australia.
There are large commercial wineries such as Chandon and Yerring Station – perfect for group tours, small boutique vineyards such as St Huberts and Yerring Farm for a more intimate and relaxed tasting experience and even a winery-turned-festival venue at Rochford where multiple Day on the Green concerts are held each year.
If you are planning a visit to the region, there are plenty of day trips available from Melbourne, however having a car will allow you more flexibility to visit the wineries that suit your taste and let you explore some the smaller, less visited cellar doors.
Situated just northwest of Launceston along the Tamar River, the Tamar Valley wine region is renowned for its cool climate wines. The Pinot Noir is particularly exceptional across this part of Tasmania, but you can also sample some great Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris here.
For a great (and boozy) day out, follow the blue and yellow ‘Wine Route’ signs around the Tamar River and stop off at any of the 30+ wineries along the Tamar Valley Wine Route for a tasting. Many of them offer fabulous views of the river, best enjoyed with a cheese platter and glass of your favorite wine from the vineyard. We recommend Moore’s Hill for this – and bonus: it also happens to be the first 100% solar powered winery in Tasmania!
All of the wineries make it very easy for you to add to your wine collection by offering a joint shipping program: you can purchase bottles of wine at several different vineyards, and then hand them all over at the last one you visit for packing and shipping.
While you’re in the area, why not take advantage of the region’s plentiful fresh fruit as well? Hillwood Berry Farm has pick-your-own strawberries and raspberries in their backyard.
No trip to South Australia would be complete without exploring its wine region. With over 15 wine regions in this part of Australia, it is a haven for wine-lovers… And McLaren Vale is a must-visit when in Adelaide.
McLaren Vale is one of the oldest wine regions in Australia, dating back to the early 1800’s. By the 1880’s, it became a major wine producing region.
McLaren Vale is just a stone throw’s away from the city centre of Adelaide, being a simple 45-minutes’ drive. There are over 70 cellar doors to explore; from large vineyards to small scale boutique wineries. And the beauty of McLaren Vale is that there is something for every wine lover here.
The Grenache variety is definitely a star performer here in McLaren Vale, but if you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, this is also a great place for you.
With a great variety of cellar doors to visit in McLaren Vale, I recommend spending at least one full day visiting the region. And if you’re still scratching your head on where to start, here are 5 amazing cellar doors that you must visit in McLaren Vale.
An absolute hidden gem of a wine region, bounded by picturesque farmland and centuries old vineyards, and only 137 Km’s from Adelaide in South Australia, is the secluded Clare Valley.
Sometimes overshadowed by the world renowned Barossa Valley, which is located about 70 km’s east, the Clare Valley is so much more than a vineyard area. It holds many hidden secrets and a fascinating history with old mining towns like Burra and Kapinda, the famous Sevenhill Winery founded by the Jesuits in 1851, Bungaree Station which is one of the earliest stations in the region, the historical village of Mintaro and the regal mansion of Martindale Hall.
For a real vineyard experience, walkers or cyclists can follow the Riesling Trail that was the former railway line from Auburn to Clare. Or drive from vineyard to vineyard and savour the flavours of the area staying overnight at boutique retreats and dining at famous farmhouse restaurants and historic pubs.
International wine judges continue to rate the Clare Valley’s Rieslings and Shiraz as amongst the best in the world. Rest assured you will find plenty of wineries to do some of your own ‘wine appreciation’!
The Hunter Valley is without doubt NSW’s finest wine regions. At just 3 hours’ drive north of Sydney, multiple day trips operate from the state capital, but savvy travellers will put aside a few days to enjoy at least a long weekend in the Hunter Valley.
The Hunter Valley has over 150 cellar doors in a very compact area so choosing which ones to visit is likely to be the hardest decision you will have to make while in town. The temperate climate in the valley is perfect for Semillon and Shiraz and the Hunter has produced its fair share of medal winners. While there are no shortage of vineyards to visit, make sure you put Tyrrell’s on your list. This multi award winning estate produces one of the region’s finest drops; the very special Vat 1 Semillon.
If you prefer a more boutique experience try Audrey Wilkinson Wines, Tinkers or Lake’s Folly. Those with a sweet tooth should stop by De Bortolli for a fabulous sticky (or two!). On the way back to the hotel swing past The Smelly Cheese factory to get some nibbles to accompany your purchases. When the day is done, foodies should head to Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyard for dinner.
There is something very special about fine dining nestled between the vines. Be sure to check what events are coming up before you book your trip. Hope Estate regularly hosts the big names and the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Cold Chisel, Sting, Elton John and The Rolling Stones have all rocked out among the vines.
Do you have a favourite wine region in Australia?
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.
The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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