Romantic, delicious and boozy weekends away are some of our favourites, and Australia is lucky enough to be home to some of the best and most beautiful wine regions in the world. Scattered across the country are wineries thick with history, deeply passionate about food and feature lovely landscapes to get lost in. From Western Australia to Tasmania, here are the best wine regions to explore in this full-bodied country of ours.
Hunter Valley, NSW
Less than a two-hour drive from Sydney and you will be transported into the sophisticated serenity of the Hunter Valley. The lush landscape is home to beautiful restaurants and wineries that will have your stomachs bursting at the seams. Spend the day taking a loooooong lunch at Restaurant Botanica, visiting the pigs out the back of the beautiful cottage restaurant, or wander around the scenic Hunter Valley Gardens before exploring the regions famous wineries, like Tempus Two, Bimbadgen and the Audrey Wilkinson Winery, one of the most picturesque wineries we’ve encountered.
With the Victorian Alps to the south, and the Murray River to the north, Rutherglen is undoubtedly beautiful wine region of Australia. The focus of boutique, family-owned wineries gives the area a welcoming and comforting atmosphere, perfect for exploring and relaxing. Complimenting the beautiful landscape, there are plenty of bike trails to follow and absorb what regional Victoria has to offer, not to mention working off any of the indulgencies you’re sure to partake in with the variety of quality restaurants in the area. Be sure to visit the Chambers Rosewood Winery, which has been in the Chambers family now for six generations.
Margaret River, WA
At 45 years young, Margaret River is the new kid on the block of the Australian Wine scene, but between the amazing wines and incredible geography, it’s certainly one of our favourites. At one of the largest wine regions, stretching around 100km north to south and incorporating the rolling hills of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge as well as beach coastline, it’s hard to draw your eyes away from the scenery to get into some good, old-fashioned, eating and drinking. Lunch at Knee Deep is a must, as is a visit to Howard Park, the most elegant cellar door in the region, and no visit to Margaret River wine country is complete without a trip to Cape Mentrelle, established in 1970 and a pioneer of the region.
Barossa Valley, SA
The Barossa is world-famous for its amazing wine culture matched by a driven passion for food. First of all: Maggie Beer. The culinary genius grandmother figure you wish was your best friend has a Farm Shop with daily cooking demonstrations, light lunches and plenty to browse through, including locally produced regional goods and signed copies of Maggie’s cookbooks. Back onto wine, and the Barossa incorporates both the Barossa and Eden Valleys, uniquely making it one of the only areas in Australia to have both warm and cool climate growing conditions, so there is definitely a wine for every taste – Jacobs Creek and Penfolds are the classics among so many more!
Tamar Valley, TAS
Easy, quaint charm and fertile vineyards perfect for chardonnays, sparklings, pinot noir and aromatic whites, Tamar Valley has got it going on. The Tamar River feeds the vineyards, running from Launceston to the white sandy beaches of Bass Strait, so it makes for a perfect backdrop for a weekend away. This region is perfect to drive through, with more than 30 wineries within driving distance of each other, ranging from rustic to sophisticated, coupled with some fantastic scenery and delicious treats to sample along the way. Cellar door tastings are a big thing in the Tamar Valley, so make your appointments ahead of time and you will be blissfully surprised, delighted and pampered by the welcoming winemakers.
Yarra Valley, VIC
A stone’s throw away from the heart of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is where Victoria’s wine industry all started in 1938. Now boasting over 70 wineries with architectural statements and rustic tin sheds hidden between the vines, there is always something to look at. Among the wineries are the favourites like DeBortoli, Fergusson and Yering Station, but The TarraWarra Estate is one of the most beautiful vineyards in Australia. The perfect place to reward your senses with an inspired combination of fine wines, delicious foods and wonderful Australian art, while a visit to Domaine Chandon to sample their famous sparkling is in absolute must. For the ultimate dinner date of superior luxury and elegance, treat yourself to an evening at the hatted Eleonore’s at Chateau Yering.
Riverina wine makers produce one in every four glasses of Australian wine, so we think that’s a pretty good excuse to go check out what the area has to offer. Family companies are among large-scale producers like Casella Wines, DeBortoli and McWilliams Wines who all are headquartered here. An extremely fertile area, there are plenty of farms and restaurants with fresh, delicious produce, as well as being a hub for fishing and watersports, there is plenty to fill a weekend in the Riverina area.
Great Ocean Road, VIC
We all know about the stunning views, beautiful greenery and the infamous 12 Apostles, but all along the Great Ocean Road are some fantastic wineries, breweries and restaurants. Blakes Estate Winery is nestled in the Otway Ranges right near the coast and is the perfect location for growing pinot noir vines, which they hand pick before maturing the wines in fine French oak barrels, producing a rich pinot noir with a satisfying middle palate and a long finish. Another place to check out is Brown Magpie Wines, named after the rare birds that live on the coastal site. The warm and sheltered site is a testament to the north facing slope and cypress trees planted around the borders, with all wines wholly grown, produced and bottled on site.
Image credit: Cape Mantelle