What a pleasure to be writing about Australia’s winery cellar doors.
I have been the CEO at the Boutique Winemakers Association for more than 20 years and have grown to love my visits to the winemakers’ shop front – the cellar doors.
Generally grapes are grown on the winemakers’ estate; the wine is made on site and then sold to visitors at the cellar door.
When you visit the cellar doors you are able to taste the range of wines, sometimes in tutored tastings with the winemakers if you book ahead; choose some wine to take home and pick up a jar of jam or a bottle of estate grown olives. You can then load a few bottles into your car and press on to the next experience just down the road.
The Hunter Valley is two hours drive north from Sydney where you will reach the lush vineyards, the B&Bs, cafes, restaurants and the land of many award-winning wine companies.
Giant companies such as Tyrrell’s, Mount Pleasant and Brokenwood are side by side with the boutique winemakers such as Allandale, Tintilla and Lake’s Folly, providing an exceptional day or weekend get-away.
The Hunter Valley is best known for its semillon, chardonnay and shiraz. Ask for these varieties if you want what’s great in the Hunter.
One of the first wine estates you reach when travelling to the Hunter is Allandale Winery on Lovedale Road.
They produce multi award-winning wines known for their full flavour, excellent structure and distinctive varietal characters. Open seven days a week for sales and tastings.
Heading south? A stunning cellar door not to be missed is Cambewarra Estate which lies at the foothills of the majestic Cambewarra Mountain in the Shoalhaven Coast wine region – only 2.5 hours from Sydney.
The estate is famous for its chambourcin (a rare red variety). You can book for lunch or high tea and the child and pet-friendly cellar door is open for wine tastings from 10am Friday to Sunday.
Get away to the Southern Highlands. Some outstanding trophy-winning wineries close to Moss Vale and Mittagong are Tertini Wines and Centennial Vineyards which offers an outstanding restaurant – go treat yourself! This region is much cooler than the Hunter and is best known for riesling and pinot noir.
Tertini’s cellar door is open 7 days and always busy on weekends If you are lucky you will catch winemaker Jon Holgate giving a tutored tasting or helping wine lovers to carry a box of his famous pinot noir to their car.