With its 65 wine regions, you can indulge in a true wine experience in Australia. Offering one of the oldest wines in the world as the first grape production dates back from 1791, Australia’s wines are exported to over 100 countries all over the world.
In addition, each and every wine region is specific in terms of climate and soil type allowing the production of any wine you can imagine, from red wines to sparkling wines. New South Wales is not an exception.
The Hunter Valley Wine Region
The Hunter Valley is a NSW region a 2-hour drive north from Sydney. The two biggest cities, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle merit a visit, while the pristine and quiet atmosphere of the New South Wales Central Coast and national parks such as Watagan, Yengo, Wollombi, and Barrington Tops are not to be missed either.
The Hunter Valley is the first wine region on the list simply because it is regarded as the cradle of the Australian wine industry. The long tradition of 180 years of winemaking in Australia started with Semillon in the Hunter Valley. Due to specific climate conditions, Semillon is known as one of the most unique wines this country has produced. Shiraz, Verdelho, and Chardonnay may be younger, but they are praised for their outstanding quality nonetheless.
The Orange Wine Region
Located 3½ hour-drive west of Sydney, the region offers some of the most exciting tourist attractions. When you get there, start your day with the historic cities of Millthorpe and Molong, relax in Cook Park and Lake Canobolas recreation area and finish off your visit with bushwalking in the Borenore Caves next day.
This wine region is noted for its longer cooler ripening period during summer than in other wine regions resulting in the unique wine flavor. On the other hand, a large number of microclimates allows the production of a great variety of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Cabernet.
The Southern Highlands Wine Region
The Southern Highlands is a region 110 km south-west of Sydney and it sits between 500m and 900m above sea level. Drop by Canyonleigh, the outback of the Southern Highlands, visit Trainworks, Australia’s largest rail museum, and experience amazing Fitzroy Falls.
Even though this wine region is one of the youngest (the first vines grown in the 1980s), it is brimming with a plethora of wineries cultivating award-winning wines specific to cool climate: Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling wine and Shiraz. The lovers of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris should visit Southern Highlands as these wines are the specialty of this region. True wine aficionados can order online the finest imported wines, such as Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir and Barranco Oscuro El Pino Rojo from Bootleggers to round off their Pinot Noir experience.
The Shoalhaven Coast Wine Region
Running along the South Coast, the region is close to Sydney, Canberra, and Wollongong. The Shoalhaven is home to a plethora of natural attractions, including Morton National Park, Jervis Bay National Park, the Kangaroo Valley, the Budawangs and the Ettrema Wilderness.
The Shoalhaven Coast Region boasts over 16 cellar doors (see this printable Shoalhaven Coast Wine Guide & Map) producing a great diversity of classic wines, including Chardonnay, Verdelho, Semillon, Shira and Cabernet Sauvignon along with the new varieties, such as Arneis, Tannat, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Viognier. However, one wine does stand out in this part of Australia: a regional hero, Chambourcin. It is a French red wine variety the winemakers on the Shoalhaven Coast pride themselves on.
The Riverina Wine Region
The Riverina, or the south-west of NSW, is abundant with natural beauties and heritage and culture attractions. Top experiences of the region are the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, Lake Cowal and the Pioneer Park Museum.
The largest wine exporter in New South Wales, the Riverina is a distinctive region due to its European influence as a result of the waves of migration that took Europeans to the region after WWI and WWII. This part of Australia is highly acclaimed for botrytis-affected white wines. The impressive yellow tail wine is a specialty of the Casella family. When it comes to red varieties, the most prominent are late maturing Durif and Petit Verdot, as well as Saint Macaire, a red Bordeaux variety.
The old tradition of winemaking coupled with modern technology, some of the most excellent wines in Australia, various wine festivals and vineyard tours are just some of the reasons why you should visit New South Wales and its winemakers.