New South Wales is home to 14 distinct wine regions across the state, from the famous Hunter Valley to Mudgee, the Riverina and Shoalhaven. Sample some top drops near to the vineyard where the grapes were grown, and learn about production methods at cellar doors that range from rustic sheds at working wineries to cutting-edge operations replete with restaurants and cooking schools.
The cool-climate region around Canberra has some excellent wineries and cellar doors, including the much-loved Clonakilla, one of the district’s earliest wineries. Tasting the terroir while sitting amid the Murrumbateman landscape is magic. Nearby is The Vintner's Daughter, a small-batch winery run by husband and wife team Stephanie Helm and Benjamin Osborne.
Shaw Wines isn’t your average Canberra District winery: it offers a private tasting room, as well as a cosy lounge area with a roaring log fire in the winter months. Ask to try a glass of the exceptional 2019 Reserve Semillon. Poachers Pantry is an artisan smokehouse with an excellent restaurant alongside its cellar door, flanked by beautiful gardens.
Rosnay Organic Farm and Vineyard produce wines, olives and figs using biodynamic methods. Visit the cellar door or stay overnight in the 1910 farmhouse where you can enjoy wine, olives and oil in equal measure. Book an appointment at Wallington Wines’ cellar door to taste biodynamic wines and learn all about the property’s history as a lookout for bushranger Ben Hall.
Casual quaffers will enjoy tasting the most memorable wines produced in the Hilltops at Hilltops Region Wine Cellar, located within the historic Young Railway Station, which also serves cherry wines and liquors. Take your time and try the Italian wine varietals at Freeman Vineyards, including rondinella and corvina.
You’re spoilt for choice in the Hunter Valley, which has more than 150 cellar doors: enjoy a personalised wine tasting at Wombat Crossing Vineyard, overlooking Barrington Tops National Park; visit one of the largest cellar doors at Brokenwood Wines; or experience a different vibe at Vamp, a highly stylised, arty cellar door curated by winemaker Lisa McGuigan.
Sample brandy as well as wine at Millbrook Vineyard Estate and Distillery overlooking Wollombi Brook or enjoy a tasting at Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard, with its beautiful Provencal-style gardens and courtyard. Hanging Tree Wines cellar door is located in a converted cow shed, with sprawling gardens that are home to winery dogs, Vodka, Muscat and Bundy.
Lowe Wines specialise in small-batch organic wines, which you can sample at its charming cellar door while admiring the views over Mudgee’s beautiful landscapes and terraced vineyards. Lovers of French styles of wine should book an immersive private wine experience at De Beaurepaire Wines’ cellar door located in 170-year-old stables in nearby Rylstone, or enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace at Burrundulla Vineyards, where the Cox family has lived on the land since 1821. Art enthusiasts will also appreciate the sculpture garden at Rosby Wines Cellar Door.
Follow the meandering road to Merilba Estate Wines in Kingston, and you will be rewarded with sweet views over the Honeysuckle Range from the cellar door, housed in a heritage building that was originally a stable and later a shearing shed. Visit Topper’s Mountain Vineyard by appointment for a private wine tasting at the property, one of the most picturesque in New England.
Savour a glass of wine while at Nashdale Lane in the charming cellar door that was once an apple-packing shed; stay the night here in luxury glamping tents and cabins overlooking the vineyards and orchards and beyond to Mount Canobolas. Enjoy a sit-down cellar door experience at Swinging Bridge Wines while ensconced amid the vines.
After a wine tasting at Heifer Station Wines, within a 100-year-old shearing shed, families can visit the Funny Farm next door where kids will be kept happy petting the Polish hens, alpacas and highland cattle. The cellar door at Philip Shaw Wines is housed in a charming 130-year-old bluestone barn, located at the Koomooloo Vineyard in Orange.
The Riverina is in the heart of Australia’s food bowl and home to some of Australia’s biggest wine producers and companies, including Casella, makers of Yellow Tail Wines. There is a strong Italian heritage in the region, with plenty of Italian wine varietals produced and many family-run wineries staying true to traditions that have been faithfully transplanted in Australian soil.
Visit the De Bortoli Bilbul Cellar Door for a taste of the award-winning Noble One Botrytis Semillon – which has won 104 trophies and 352 gold medals – and enjoy a picnic in the secluded winery gardens. Calabria Family Wines has a beautiful Tuscan-style cellar door and serves a variety of wines including prosecco, vermentino and montepulciano.
The Murray & Perricoota
Discover fantastic cellar doors and intimate wine experiences along the Echuca Moama Food and Wine Trail. Don’t miss St Annes Winery located on the banks of the Murray, which produces excellent shiraz and chardonnay, and family-owned Wilksch Estate cellar door, where bud-to-bottle wines are produced using traditional techniques.
Why choose between an escape to wine country and a coastal getaway when you can marry the two? Cupitt's Winery is a family-run boutique winery, cellar door, restaurant, bar, microbrewery and fromagerie in Ulladulla that spills down the hills to the coastal plains. Spend a relaxed afternoon here overlooking the vines while sampling exceptional produce.
Discover alternative wine varietals you’ve never heard of – such as arneis, lagrein and refosco – at multi-award-winning Tertini where the cellar door is located amid a patchwork quilt of vineyards. Try premium pinot noir and wood-fired pizzas on Sundays at Artemis Wines or a tutored tasting at the charming St Maur cellar door in Exeter, once part of a dairy farm.
Sample cool-climate wines at Allegiance Wines’ Tuscan-style cellar door (by appointment only) or try the seasonal lunch menu at family-owned Courabyra Wines, which has made its mark in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. Obsession Wines and Johansen Wines both suffered damage during the 2020 bushfires; you can help them to rebuild by purchasing wines online (the cellar doors will reopen in late 2021).