Best Wine Regions to Visit in New South Wales, Australia
New South Wales is one of Australia’s premier wine destinations – not just because of its proximity to Sydney and other well-trafficked tourism areas, but because of the quality of the wine and the gorgeous setting. Surprisingly, NSW has 14 wine regions, which include the oldest wine region in the country, Hunter Valley, to more recently established regions, such as Orange. Let’s explore some of these regions, grouping them by their most predominate grape varietal.
Although not as well known internationally, Semillon (and the common combination of Semillon and Chardonnay) is one of Australia’s strengths. Two wine regions in particular excel at the art of making crisp and refreshing semillon wines: Hunter Valley is the most popular and largest, and Hunter Valley’s Semillon has been called “Australia’s gift to the world.” It’s probably one of Australia’s most complex wines, given how the fruit flavours change so much with age. Not to be outdone is the Riverina wine region, which features their long standing Botrytis Semillon, which is made in the style of Sauterne. Riverina is also known for other blends of delectable dessert wines.
Most non-Australians commonly associate Australian wine with shiraz, given it is one of the country’s most popular exports. Shiraz is the same grape as a syrah, just named differently and produced in a slightly different style here in Australia. The Canberra District is over 160 years old, but in recent years has been winning many awards for its local variety of shiraz, which seems well suited to the cooler capital climate.
One of NSW’s newest and smallest wine regions, Gundagai, also is a producer of shiraz. Even smaller but more specialized is the Perricoota, which is almost exclusively producing shiraz because of its small size, a tiny region near the Victoria border. However, you’ll most likely find a Hunter Valley shiraz on your supermarket shelf, as large producers of shiraz are found there.
If you’re looking for a Cabernet Sauvignon, you don’t have to look far. I would suggest heading to one of newest wine regions in NSW, Hilltops. The first vines here were planted in the 1860s, but the region as a whole has only recently started to develop, with Cabernet being a specialty.
The cooler climate from this elevation gives the fruit a bit more of a chance to really become more bold yet elegant. Another Australian favourite is Mudgee, known perhaps more for its picturesque rolling hills and small town vibe than wine brands, but the growing conditions here are almost perfect – rich soil, warm days and cool nights.
Mudgee’s reputation is for bold wines, hence why the cabernet is so popular, but recently the varietal specialties have expanded to include grapes such as Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Barbera.
These are just some of the more popular wine regions in NSW; we’ve not covered some of the other regional specialities, such as Verdelho in Hastings River, the New England Rieslings, Southern Highlands pinot noir, or the Sauvignon Blanc from Orange. You cannot go wrong when it comes to a NSW wine destination. For more tips, visit the official New South Wales tourism page.