6 Australian Wine Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

February 10, 2015
6 Australian Wine Destinations You Won't Want to Miss

Australia has been paving the way for New World wines since 1788 when Governor Phillip brought over vines to New South Wales. Now, some of the world’s oldest continuously producing vines can be found here. Because Australia is fortunate to have so many different climates, it can produce wine of all varieties — and Australian wine.

During the two years I spent in Australia, I made sure to sample more than the local Yellow Tail that I’d sipped during my college days. Here are some of the top spots to sip, swirl and spit in Australia.

6 Australian Wine Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

1. Hunter Valley

A quick day trip from Sydney (but worth more time if you have it), Hunter Valley encompasses great wines, top notch breweries and divine chocolate and cheese. I visited the area on a tour, and was picked up bright and early from my chosen location in Sydney and safely driven around all day as I partook in the libations of the region. The tour included five wineries, boutique food shops and lunch at the Bue Tongue Brewery. The wine of the region is Semillon, but you’ll also be able to sample shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and verdelho.

2. Yarra Valley

About 90km east of Melbourne, along the river it was named for, sits the Yarra Valley wine region. It’s by far the easiest winery to reach from Melbourne and there are several tour groups offering trips straight from the city. There’s nothing quite like waking up at 6 AM in order to start drinking wine by 9 AM. It can turn into a long day, but you’ll catch up on sleep during the bus ride back. Due to its relatively cool temperatures, the Yarra Valley is known mostly for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wine.

3. Margaret River

Margaret River is one of Australia’s most famous wine regions. If you’re wondering where your imported Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Shirazes come from, have a look at the label. There’s a good chance they came from Margaret River. Margaret River Shiraz quickly became my red of choice during my two years in Australia. In addition to producing award-winning wines, the area is worth visiting in its own right. It is home to long stretches of beach and incredible sunsets over the Indian Ocean. Rent a car from Perth and just keep driving.

4. Barossa Valley

Located in South Australia, just north of Adelaide, sits one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. The first vineyards were planted around 1842 after the area was settled by Europeans. I did an amazing tour there with a small local tour company one Christmas Eve–and it was the the best Christmas present I’ve ever given myself. The guides were hilarious, the lunch spread was dynamite–barbecued steak, kangaroo and bacon, loads of vegetables, baked potatoes and of course, the perfectly peppery Shiraz we’d purchased throughout the day. Like most wine regions in the country, small gourmet cheese, chocolate and bread artisans have cropped up all over the place and most tours will be sure to stop for samples.

5. McLaren Vale

Another South Australian wine region, McLaren Vale is home to some of the oldest vines in the world. Full of boutique wineries and some seriously good food, McLaren Vale is a must-see on the way to Kangaroo Island. I wish I’d given myself more time to explore the area. The vineyards line the stunning coastal roads along the peninsula as you wind your way to Cape Jervis to catch the ferry. Visit the farmer’s market for local produce, ride a bike along the Shiraz trail, or pop into one of Australia’s best craft breweries named for the area, which is what I wish I’d done!

6. Mudgee Wine Region

To the west of Sydney, the Mudgee Wine Region is becoming a major producer of Cabernet Savignon for the country. Locally known as Mudgee Mud, the region has been quietly producing and perfecting this blended red for decades. It’s only now becoming more popular as its displayed at Sydney’s farmer’s markets and wine festivals.


About Laura Bronner

Laura Bronner is an American girl addicted to life abroad. After graduating from college she set off on what was meant to be a year of travel. That was four years ago. Since then she has lived in New Zealand, Australia and now calls South Korea home. You can follow along with her experiences on An American Abroad

5 thoughts on “6 Australian Wine Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

  1. the mudgee rambler
    February 13, 2015

    Agreed – Mudgee Mud certainly does not and never did refer to wine. My late father told me it was because the Mudgee Brewery after the war changed its source of water giving the beer a muddy taste. Hence the name, he also said that because beer was short after WW 2 and he and his mates drank it anyway. We all know there is no such thing as bad beer, its just that some is better than others.
    Incidentally, our current brewery, The Mudgee Brewing company has revived the name and now proudly sells Mudgee Mud. from memory it is a robust stout boasting an alcohol content of 8%.

  2. Kevin Karstrom
    February 11, 2015

    Mudgee Cabernet is not and never has been referred to as Mudgee Mud. Long ago the beer made in Mudgee was referred to as Mudgee Mud because the barrels were stamped with MUD referring to it’s place of origin. Your incorrect reporting has not helped the Mudgee wine region one iota.

    • Laura
      February 12, 2015

      I’m sorry you feel this way Kevin. During a wine festival in Sydney last year I was told by several wineries (while sampling there wine) that the Cab Sav was in fact called Mudgee Mud.

    • Ernest Schuetz
      February 12, 2015

      You are 100% correct Kevin. I don’t know who Laura was talking to or how much wine they had been drinking? Mudgee producers will never refer to their wines as Mudgee Mud!!

  3. Mickey
    February 10, 2015

    Yes agree, great places and wines. Great to see Mudgee included as it’s a great spot with some lovely wines, especially reds.

    Queensland’s Granite Belt is also a worthy mention, especially as they’re producing some interesting wines using little known grape varieties. Only 3 hours from Brisbane.

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