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Just the right slope in the hill, just the right southern sun exposure, a warm and dry climate and soil that may not be good for much else but growing grapes — these are the natural characteristics or “terroir” of a good winery. When we hear about great wine our imaginations naturally go to sloped hills in Northern Italy or the South of France. Maybe Americans think of Northern California. But what about wineries in Australia?
From Sauvignon Blancs to sparkling wines to Pinot Noirs, Australia has a great deal to offer. It may not have the fame of some of the more traditional spots, but a trip Down Under is a new adventure that offers more than just tours and wine tastings. It’s a dive into a wild continent that has all the pieces necessary to create an unforgettable wine vacation. With that, let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful wineries in Australia.
Moorilla Estate, Tasmania
Founded by Italian-Australian Claudio Alcorso in 1958, this winery has a considerable wild and rebellious side. Initially discouraged by local officials on the grounds that the soil was only good for apples and pears, the founders rolled the dice and went ahead with their dream of making artisanal wines with roots traceable back to Alcoroso’s Italy.
Today visitors can tour the winery, enjoy lunches and take part in affordable tastings. The island of Tasmania is an adventure in itself so if the wine is only a half-day event, you can explore the nearby city of Hobart, go on a hike or kick back on one of the island’s gorgeous beaches.
Josef Chromy Wines, Tasmania
While on the island, we should cover this gem as well. With fine-dining and premium wine pairings, Josef Chromy is a complete experience. Guests can fly fish, play golf, participate in wine tastings and even take part in cooking classes led by visiting chefs.
Perhaps the best part of Josef Chromy is the ‘Ride the Vines’ tour. To get the full winery experience you have to get outside and get a little dirty, and that’s exactly what ‘Ride the Vines’ is about. On this tour, you exit the winery doors and spend two hours exploring the vineyard with an expert guide — mean you come to truly understand what it is you’re sampling.
Vasse Felix, Margaret River
Located at the southwestern tip of Western Australia, Margaret River is one of Australia’s premier wine regions. Isolation, excellent vineyard soil and the local wineries’ dedication to the finer art of creating excellent Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnays has made the region a can’t-miss destination for wine-enthusiast travelers.
Visitors can enjoy gourmet cuisine and excellent wine pairings in the winery’s restaurant, tour the art gallery, tour the facilities and, of course, take part in tastings.
Seppeltsfield Wines, Seppeltsfield
Located in Southern Australia’s Barossa Valley, Seppeltsfield Wines is one of Australia’s oldest wineries and carries over a century of winemaking tradition. Best known for its signature 100-year-old Para Tawny, Seppeltsfield set the standard for wine production soon after the European settlement of Australia.
Daily tours let you dive into the history of the vineyard so you can have a better idea of how Australian wine developed and how it found its niche in the global wine market.
Wirra Wirra Vineyards, Mclaren Vale
Mclaren Vale is perhaps Australia’s most famous food and wine region and is nothing short of gorgeous. Located just south of Adelaide, the region rests on South Australia’s coast and is home to vine-covered rolling hills and miles of beautiful coastline. The natural scenery is worth the visit alone.
Warra Warra Vineyards itself is full of both excellent wine tradition and fun-loving culture. Along with the wine tastings, we suggest you make a stop at Harry’s Deli for excellent cheese and paninis to go along with whatever wine stood out to you most in the tastings. A vineyard tour is quite the sightseeing event as well.
Remember that wineries in Australia are multi-faceted experiences. From the wine cellar door to the vines crawling through the vineyards, you’re best off covering everything. You might discover that wineries in Australia are a refreshing dose of humor and character in contrast to some of the more traditional operations in more typical wine regions. Think of it as a new form of adventure. After all, that’s what Australia’s good at.