NSW Beer & Wine Festivals
New South Wales is home to 14 wine regions and a range of diverse, independent distilleries and breweries. This burgeoning beverage scene has led to a boom in festivals that become a starting point for exploring the surrounding landscape. Head to one of the many regional festivals to learn about production methods and to sample some of the state’s best drinks.
Expect everything from under-the-radar wineries to tipples that suit everyone’s taste at the Wines of the West Festival, which showcases vineyards from the Blue Mountains and Central West NSW. The two-day festival features 25 winemakers, with opportunities to taste the wines and offers special access to the cellar doors.
The Snowy Mountains craft beer scene has well and truly stepped out of the shadows and the Kosciuszko Craft Beer Festival is the place to be to celebrate the thriving art of craft beer brewing in Thredbo. You can sample some of the region’s best beers in the resort town, including ales by Jindabyne Brewing and Tumut River Brewing Co.
After its beaches, Port Macquarie is perhaps best known for its diverse food and drink scene. Westport Park is set to host Port Macquarie Beer and Cider Festival in February, a unique and exciting event that celebrates beer, cider, food, games and music. The free Beer, Food & Wine Festival at Towradgi Beach Hotel & Waves is also held in February.
If you’ve had your fill of wine tasting, join in with some stomping of the grapes at the annual Footcrush Feast Mudgee, held at the picturesque Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard. Spend the afternoon touring the winery, defined by uniform rows of vines ablaze in autumn colours, followed by dinner at the Pipeclay Pumphouse.
Pack your picnic blanket and head to Jefferson Park on the hillside behind Mereweather Surf Club for the annual Barrelled festival of ‘wine, waves and good vibes’. You can tear the top off a few tinnies at the Murrays Craft Brewing Co. stall, enjoy a splash of wine with the team from Tyrrell’s and enjoy live festival tunes all day long.
Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival showcases the region's wine and food with a series of events and activities throughout May and June designed to celebrate local producers. Further north, in Camden Haven, on the Mid North Coast, Slice of Haven is a sustainable lifestyle event that celebrates local produce and purveyors.
Discover more than 80 craft beers and ciders from 20-plus breweries at Byron Bay Craft Beer Festival in May. Or visit the Snowy Mountains during 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.
Beer enthusiasts and cider connoisseurs will find more than 100 varieties of their favourite brews at the Central Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival, held at the Kincumber Hotel in June. Tickets to the festival include a tasting glass and a festival passport, and the opportunity for home brewers to vote for their favourite festival beers.
Sample craft beers and a delicious barbecue feast at the Hunter Valley Beer & Barbecue Festival at Hope Estate Brewery, in Pokolbin. The two-day festival features the Australasian BBQ Alliance Championship, beer masterclasses, a steak cook-off, displays and demonstrations. Entry includes 10 beer tokens for adults, allowing admission into the pop-up Beer Cave.
The month-long Mudgee Wine & Food Festival 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. The program includes more than 80 events including 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. Escapism at its finest.
Many of the region’s best food and wine producers come together for the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival in Bowral, while the Pop & Pour Festival in Perricoota will introduce you to enough wineries, brewers and distilleries to warrant a return visit. The South Coast Food and Wine Festival is also set to flaunt the region’s best wineries, breweries and distillers.