Exciting beer & wine festivals in NSW
New South Wales produces fantastic beers and wines, best sampled at the state’s culinary-focused festivals. Whatever your tipple, there’s an event that introduces you to incredible makers and producers, then takes you behind the scenes.
Beverage events don’t get much cooler than the Kosciuszko Craft Beer Festival, held annually in the Snowy Mountains resort town of Thredbo. There’s nothing quite like unlacing your hiking boots (this is summer, after all) and ordering an icy craft beer from local makers like Jindabyne Brewing and Tumut River Brewing Co.
Sample craft ales paired with flame-kissed barbecue meats at the Hunter Valley Beer & Barbecue Festival at Hope Estate Brewery, in the Hunter Valley town of Pokolbin. The two-day festival features the Australasian Barbecue Alliance Championship, beer masterclasses, a steak cook-off, displays and demonstrations.
Further north in Camden Haven on the mid-North Coast, Slice of Haven is a sustainable lifestyle event that celebrates local produce and purveyors.
As the mercury drops, 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.
The Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival is every gourmands dream, a delectable union of the region's most outstanding wine and food with a series of events and activities designed to celebrate local producers. Who doesn’t love a red wine by a fire?
Expect everything from under-the-radar wineries to tipples that suit everyone’s taste at August’s Wines of the West Festival, which showcases vineyards from the Blue Mountains and Central West NSW. The two-day event held at The Carrington in Katoomba features dozens of winemakers, with opportunities to taste drops that you’d normally only find at cellar doors. Don’t miss the wine-fuelled degustation dinner the eve before festivities commence.
The all-encompassing Mudgee Wine & Food Month every September/October features a diverse range of events including live music, tastings, lunches, dinners and tours. The festival is a chance to follow one of the many food and drink trails across the region, sampling local wines, beers and spirits that have been expertly paired with regionally inspired small plates.
The rolling hills around Orange, the gateway to Country NSW, are famed for producing many of the cool-climate wines that will be on show during the two-week Orange Wine Festival every October. The program includes a mind-boggling list of experiences, not in the least the Orange Wine Show Tasting, Festival Night Market and Wine in the Vines, highlighting local producers in surrounding villages.
Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival takes place within the confines of 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, take part in workshops and explore the storied cells of the heritage-listed building.
In the Southern Highlands – the closest wine region to Sydney – the Food and Wine Festival in Moss Vale is a celebration of everything that’s local, sustainable and tasty. There’s a lot on offer. Meanwhile, the Pop & Pour Festival in Perricoota – close to the Murray River in the very far south of the state – will introduce you to enough wineries, brewers and distilleries to warrant a return visit.