Australia is cooling off and itching to get up and going again. And, with the cosy season upon us, we’re already dreaming of the crackle of a blazing fire and a pinot noir in hand from the cellar below.
While wineries make for a great trip in any season, the would-be-sommeliers amongst us know that winter is the best time of year to hunker down and get comfortable with a glass or two of our finest local plonk. And with the June long weekend in our sights, now’s the time to round up your mates and plan a trip into the vines of some of the lesser-known wine regions across Australia.
Stop dreaming and start planning with our favourite alternative wine regions that will quench your thirst and leave you plenty to explore beyond the glass.
Swan Valley, WA
Margaret River’s lesser-known sister, Western Australia’s Swan Valley is a lush region lined with towering pine trees and dotted with rustic charm. Located only a short 30-minute drive from Perth, this is the perfect place to escape with a hire car for a long-weekend.
Swan Valley boasts a Mediterranean climate, making it the perfect place for growing and sipping local varieties like verdelho, chenin blanc, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and fortified wines. And with an abundance of regionally renowned cellar doors worth visiting, Swan Valley could keep you happy and full for days on end.
Drop into Farm Wines to pair locally made chocolate with your wine tastings, or swing by Pinelli Wines, a relaxing and award-winning winery and cellar door. Other honourable mentions for Swan Valley include Houghton, Vino Italia, Sittella Winery, John Kosovich and Mandoon Estate. Had enough wine? With a thriving and traditional community, Swan Valley is also bursting at the seams with historical spots to explore.
Gold Coast, QLD
Known for crystal-clear waters and soft white sands, Queensland’s Gold Coast region isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of wineries. However, located far off the beaten path, this region is home to a smorgasbord of hidden gems. Nestled inland near Brisbane, the cool climate of the Gold Coast Hinterland is a wondrous backdrop for swapping sunbathing for sipping.
Start your day of tasting at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards. This multi award-winning vineyard is family owned and perched on the edge of rolling hills, cattle farms and country cottages. Dedicated to boutique wine, settle in for a tasting and enjoy a pizza or cheeseboard above their jaw-dropping landscape of 6,000 grape vines.
Another one to try with your mates is Witches Falls. Located on Tamborine Mountain, this stunning cellar door is oozing with passion and love for the art of winemaking. With a focus on handcrafted wines (and the people you choose to share them with), Witches Falls is a world of its own.
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Mudgee, NSWResist the temptation to take another trip to the Hunter Valley, and instead turn west towards Mudgee, a small region in New South Wales that's played a big part in Australia's wine history. Framed by the outer rim of the Blue Mountains, Mudgee also claims some of the country’s highest cellar doors, with winemakers and tasters alike relishing in the unique flavours of the region.
There are more than 35 cellar doors to choose from, and a solid place to start is the beloved Logan Wines, which has been drawing visitors for over ten years. Centred around award-winning winemaker Peter Logan, here you can get a sense of the full-bodied flavours that define the region. Next, stop by the famous First Ridge and pull up a seat. Housed within two cosy shipping containers, you’ll feel like you’ve walked right into little Italy.
Whether you explore Mudgee with a plan or give in to the weekend and go with the wind, make sure you take advantage of the great hotel deals available with Wotif.
Riverland, SAMove over, Barossa Valley – it’s time to get acquainted with the tranquil region of Riverland. Perched on the banks of the Murray River, this lesser-known wine region focuses on local flavours that complement the area's Mediterranean climate, making for a South Australian experience you won't want to miss.
Watch the flow of the majestic Murray from Caudo Vineyard, a family-run cellar door that's big on lifestyle-inspired wines and vineyard history. You’ll also love feasting on locally-sourced food and wine at Banrock Station, renowned for its commitment to sustainability. Finish your escape with a trip to Whistling Kite Wines, known for its range of award-winning biodynamic wines. In an exceptional display of craft, all grapes here are hand-picked and basket pressed, wooing wine lovers with an unmatched passion and commitment to flavour.
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