It would be remiss to visit one of NSW’s 14 wine regions and not indulge in a little food. After all, where grapes grow well, so too does a plethora of other produce. From Australia’s oldest wine region to some of its most innovative, culinary experiences range from fine dining to rustic and even vineyard picnics.
The Hunter Valley may be Australia’s oldest wine region, but its purveyors are forward-thinking when it comes to bottling delicious vintages – and serving equally delicious food. Muse Restaurant, located on the grounds of Hungerford Hill Winery, offers a four-course menu that might include heritage pork, kangaroo, kingfish or squid. Everything is seasonal. Its more casual sister restaurant Muse Kitchen has two locations: one at Keith Tulloch Winesnear Pokolbin and a second in Lorn near Maitland.
Margan Restaurant, on its eponymous winery in Broke, has views over the dramatic Broken Back Range. Tear your gaze away to enjoy dishes led by seasonal produce from the kitchen garden. Boydell’s Cellar Door – the first of its kind in Morpeth – is housed in an historic 1820s slab hut adjacent to Boydell’s restaurant, which serves food designed to complement its award-winning wines.
Bimbadgen means ‘place of good view’ in the local Indigenous language. And that’s what you’ll get from your window seat at Esca Bimbadgen. The restaurant at Bimbadgen winery serves refined mod-Oz cuisine paired with estate wines. Good food and wine also come together at Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyard Estate, which is popular for its three and five-course tasting menus – a number dedicated to vegan and vegetarian cuisine.
There are plenty of delicious reasons to visit the cellar door at Naked Lady Wines. Tantalising tipples aside, the Rylstone estate on the outskirts of Mudgee dishes up wood-fired pizzas and charcuterie platters, best enjoyed on a sun-kissed table overlooking the vineyard. The Zin House nods to Lowe Wines’ flagship varietal, zinfandel, the perfect complement to hearty cuisine such as pappardelle with foraged mushrooms.
Within the Robert Stein Vineyard & Winery, Pipeclay Pumphouse offers a six-course set menu that is driven by produce grown on the farm or otherwise sourced from local suppliers. The menu at Burnbrae Wines echoes the earthy palette of the landscape. Give thanks for the simple pleasure of pizza here on Sundays, accompanied by live music.
Sisters Rock Restaurant is located on one of the Orange region’s highest vineyards, Borrodell, with expansive views of the countryside. The estate produces wine and seasonally grows cherries, plums, apples and truffles, all of which are incorporated into the restaurant menu. Meanwhile, enjoy a three-course lunch at the Pantry at Ross Hill Wineson Saturdays, or try a wine-tasting and food-pairing experience at the family-run cellar door.
The closest wine region to Sydney, the Southern Highlands makes memorable cool climate vintages. Begin your journey here at Bendooley Estate, a place that you could lose yourself in for days. There’s a restaurant and bar, casual cafe, cellar door and the incredible Berkelouw Book Barn. At Centennial Vineyards, you can choose to eat on the veranda, in the courtyard, or in the romantic restaurant, where high tea (with bubbles) is the order of the day.
Indulge in Italian cuisine at Southern Highland Winery, where every dish is expertly prepared by head chef Marco Salvestrin – he keeps wine front of mind when creating recipes. Salvestrin and vintner Eddy Rossi also offer food-and-wine workshops, as well as tours through the winery, which is located in the tranquil village of Sutton Forrest.
Despite its name, the Canberra District is actually part of NSW. And we’ll gladly claim its delicious wines and tasty produce. Head to Cafe Lerida at Lerida Estate for casual lake-view dining in the lee of the Cullerin Range, just 30-minutes from Canberra or Goulburn. If it can be cured, smoked, baked or fermented, it’s done in-house at Poachers Smokehouse & Vineyard. This pretty property offers a fairy-tale farmhouse experience, from the neat rows of grapes to the light-filled dining room.
Indulge in wood-fired pizza with imaginative toppings such as potato and gorgonzola at Four Winds Vineyard and Cellar Door, or a French-farmhouse-inspired lunch at Tallagandra Hill. The folks at Pankhurst Wines offer a cheese platter to accompany wines, while Pillagio Estateis all about paddock-to-plate dining at The Pavilion and flame-grilled meats at Market Grill.
A renovated 150-year-old coach stable is your cellar door at Merilba Estate in Uralla, a dreamy patch of New England countryside that comes with plenty of forward-thinking purveyors. The family grow the grapes, make the wines… and still find time to personally serve up lunch weekends. Petersons Guesthouse and Winery offers lunch for visitors at the cellar door at weekends and dinner for guests staying overnight – pistachio buttered duck breast, anyone?
At Silos Restaurant in Berry, farm-fresh seasonal dishes hero native Australian ingredients, from warrigal greens and lilly pilly to Davidson plum and wattleseed. The eatery is part of the bucolic Silos Estate,where varietals produced range from riesling to shiraz.
Cupitt's Estate, between Ulladulla and Milton, is worth the detour, whether for a sip at the cellar door or lunch in the restaurant. Just about everything on your plate is grown in the kitchen gardens or produced in the on-site fromagerie – there’s also a microbrewery and new villas to check in to.
Relax with a plate of local cheeses and a highly awarded rosé from Two Figs Winery, all the while admiring 360-degree views from the estate’s elevated position overlooking the Shoalhaven River. Or open a bottle of wine over lunch at historic Coolangatta Estate, the most awarded winery on the NSW South Coast.
Trentham Estate Winery Restaurant, set on the banks of the Murray River, is a local favourite for its share plates made up of homegrown and local artisan produce. If you’re in a houseboat, you can dock at the property’s private pontoon and walk up the grassy hill to take a seat. Views of the Murray also steal the scene at Morrison’s Riverview Winery, Restaurant & Brewery in the pretty riverine region of Perricoota. The establishment’s name pretty much sums up the extensive offerings here. Order focaccia, cheese and croquettes and enjoy on the veranda under the shade of enormous gums.
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