The best beer & wine festivals in NSW

There are fantastic beer, wine and spirit producers across New South Wales, with festivals all over the state showing them off. Whatever your tipple, there’s an event for you.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Aug 2023 -
3
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Spring

The all-encompassing Mudgee Wine + Food Month offers a diverse range of events including live music, tastings, lunches, dinners and tours. Indulge in a long table degustation dinner of native Australian foods, play wine trivia, meet some of the region’s best winemakers, go on twilight tasting tours, and more.

Friends enjoying wine at the Mudgee Wine and Food Festival, Mudgee

Mudgee Wine + Food Month, Mudgee - Credit: Mudgee Wine and Food Festival

The rolling hills around Orange are famed for producing many of the cool-climate wines on show during the two-week Orange Wine Festival. The program includes the Orange Wine Show Tasting and Festival Night Market flagship events, plus masterclasses in wine making.

People enjoying food and drink at Orange Wine Festival in Orange, Country NSW

Orange Wine Festival, Orange - Credit: ORVA

Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival takes place at Maitland Gaol. The former maximum-security prison morphs into a playground for festival-goers keen to sample local food and drink, listen to live music, meet local brewers and explore the heritage-listed building. Cessnock Stomp Festival is another of the region’s great booze festivals. With over 700 meters of festival fun, it’s the Hunter Valley’s biggest street party. Go for local wineries, breweries, distilleries, food vendors, grape stomping, music and more.

Couple dancing at the Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival, East Maitland

Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival, East Maitland - Credit: Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival

In the Southern Highlands, the Food and Wine Festival in Moss Vale celebrates everything local, sustainable and tasty. Expect to find an array of local Highland’s vendors including restaurants, winemakers, distillers, and brewers, as well as bistros and a farmers market growers area⁠.

The Gears and Beers Festival in Wagga Wagga is the final stop of a 130km bike ride. If you’d prefer to skip the ride, head straight to the festival for an incredible line-up of craft beers and ciders, local coffee and food, and live entertainment.  

Finer Drop, a new event launching for the first time in November 2023, is a festival of beer, food, fashion and live entertainment at Randwick Racecourse’s The Winx Stand.

Selection of cocktails at Finer Drop at The Winx Stand, Royal Randwick Racecourse, Randwick

Finer Drop at Royal Randwick Racecourse, Randwick - Credit: Finer Drop

Summer

Bendigo Bank TumbaFest takes place along the (necessary) shady banks of the Tumbarumba creekscape. Here you’ll listen to music from Australian performers, try local cool-climate wines and produce and shop for unique handicrafts.

Duck Race at Bendigo Bank Tumbafest in Tumbarumba, Snowy Mountains

Bendigo Bank Tumbafest, Tumbarumba

Further west in Albury there’s the Sip and Savour Festival. Head to this event for a “taste of the region”, a showcase of unique regional produce. Find free wine and beer tastings, live music, cooking demonstrations, masterclasses and food and drink pairings.

Newcastle Beer Fest is one for hops lovers. Held at the city’s iconic King Edward Park, find 100% local music and entertainment, food, and beer – note all breweries represented at the festival are independent, Australian-owned companies only.

Crowd enjoying the Newcastle Beer Fest, Newcastle

Newcastle Beer Fest, Newcastle - Credit: Newcastle Beer Fest

Autumn

Sample craft ales paired with flame-kissed barbecue meats at the Hunter Valley Beer & Barbecue Festival at Hope Estate Brewery, in Pokolbin. The festival features the Australasian Barbecue Alliance Championship, beer masterclasses, a steak cook-off, displays and demonstrations. 

Friends enjoying wine in the vineyard at Hope Estate, Hunter Valley

Wine tasting at Hope Estate, Hunter Valley

Further north in Camden Haven on the mid-North Coast, Slice of Haven is a sustainable lifestyle festival that celebrates local produce and purveyors. Up in the Northern Rivers, the Full Moon Wine Festival, held by Luna Wine Store, is a natural wine festival featuring 30 natural winemakers. Enjoy a three-hour tasting at The Eltham Hotel, where some of Australia’s most exciting winemakers will gather to share their knowledge over a few glasses.

Gourmet food at Slice of Haven Festival, Camden Haven River Foreshore

Slice of Haven Festival, Camden Haven River Foreshore

Visit the Snowy Mountains during May for the Batlow CiderFest, when colourful stalls take over most of the town’s main street to celebrate the end of the apple harvest. Taste boutique ciders and explore orchards further afield as part of the program. Head north-west to Wagga Wagga for a taste of the Riverina. The Wagga Wagga Food and Wine Festival gives visitors a chance to sample an extensive range of local wines and produce.

 

Beer tasting at Batlow CiderFest, Snowy Valleys

Batlow CiderFest, Snowy Valleys

 

 Winter

The Hunter Valley’s Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival is a community event with over 50 stall holders. Tickets give you access to the festival and a memorabilia wine glass to sip from as you wander among the best local wineries, craft breweries, distilleries and gourmet food vendors.

Friends enjoying wine at the Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival, Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival, Hunter Valley - Credit: Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival

Expect tipples to suit everyone’s taste at Wines of the West Festival, a festival showcasing vineyards from the Blue Mountains and the Central Tablelands. The two-day event held at The Carrington in Katoomba features dozens of winemakers, with opportunities to taste drops you’d usually only find at cellar doors.

Casino’s Craft Beer Festival brings the best of the region’s brewers and distillers to one place. Head to the family-friendly festival for brews Seven Mile Brewing Co, Balter, Brookie's Gin, Brookvale Union and Stone & Wood. For another craft beer festival experience, try Sydney’s outpost of the GABS Festival – a gathering of 120 breweries, pouring their finest brews.

GABS beer paddle at GABS Craft Beer & Cider Festival Sydney, Sydney Olympic Park

GABS Craft Beer & Cider Festival Sydney, Sydney Olympic Park - Credit: GABS Craft Beer & Cider Festival Sydney

The Sydney Gin Festival is the place to be for fans of the juniper spirit. Discover new kinds of gin from 55 distillers, alongside masterclasses and tastings. For a day out sampling fine food, wine and spirits head to Sydney’s The Good Food & Wine Show. There are hundreds of stalls to meander through, plus whisky tastings, wine and cheese pairing masterclasses and pop-up restaurants.

Friends enjoying the Sydney Gin Festival, Randwick

Sydney Gin Festival, Randwick - Credit: Sydney Gin Festival

If whisky tickles your fancy, ensure you book tickets to the Dubbo Winter Whisky Festival – it often sells out well before the event. Makers from Australia and beyond gather in Country NSW to celebrate whisky, rum, gin, vodka and liqueurs – it’s an opportunity to find rare and limited-run spirits alongside some of your favourite distillery’s offerings.

 

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