Australia is home to a variety of grape types from Shiraz to Sauvignon to Riesling. For travellers wanting to experience a fantastic wine scene, it is one of the best places in the world.
With wine produced in every state in the country, you have no shortage of places to visit. From the esteemed Yarra Valley near Melbourne to picturesque McLaren Vale, Australia is a perfect destination for wine lovers. These are the top vineyards the country has to offer.
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
The lush vineyards of Hunter Valley in New South Wales house some of the oldest and most celebrated wine producers in Australia. Famous for Semillon and Shiraz varieties, Hunter Valley is home to over 120 wineries, ranging from household names to boutique operations.
Escape the rush of city life by staying at Spicers Vineyards Estate, surrounded by acres of private vineyards and bushland. The luxurious estate is one of the most peaceful vineyards in Australia, offering private wine tours and an award-winning wine list at its Restaurant Botanica.
For a truly premium experience, the Audrey Wilkinson Winery escorts guests by helicopter to an indulgent three course lunch at one of Hunter’s private restaurants. Further your knowledge of the region’s local wines by dining with the vineyard’s chief winemaker before rounding off your visit with a scenic flight over the Hunter Valley.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Yarra Valley is a short day trip from Melbourne and is Victoria’s oldest wine region, dating back to 1838. The region’s cool climate is ideal for viticulture and there are over 4000 hectares of vine growing here, contributing to its position as one of the most visited wine regions in Australia.
Travellers can experience its esteemed reputation as a top producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on a behind the scenes barrel room tasting. If you’re a true oenophile, head out early for a mesmerising hot air balloon ride over the vineyards before attending a wine tasting matched with a Yarra Valley produce plate.
Wildlife lovers can visit Yarra’s iconic Healesville Sanctuary, where they can interact with native Australian wildlife in an authentic bushland environment, before stopping for lunch at family owned De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate. Another Yarra Valley gem concludes the tour, with Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery providing indulgent free chocolate tastings.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Located within an hour’s drive of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula is famous for a variety of things. From seaside villages to world-class golf courses, a trip to Mornington’s vineyards is sure to be a real people pleaser. The Peninsula’s wineries are relatively small but the region’s varied soils and climates make for an array of exotic wines, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay being the house specialities.
Food aficionados can take advantage of the gourmet experiences on offer at Montalto vineyard. Montalto also caters to creative souls, combining a working vineyard and olive grove, kitchen gardens, fruit orchard and berry plantation with an extensive permanent sculpture collection. After you’ve tasted grapes and learned how to grow seasonal produce, you can experience Montalto’s estate-to-plate philosophy with a delicious five-course tasting menu.
After a day packed with exploring, we recommend a stay at the exquisite Jackalope Hotel. A real favourite for native Melbournians, Doot Doot Doot restaurant is Jackalope’s headline act, offering a contemporary four or eight course dégustation menu. Outside you’ll find a black infinity pool and a yoga lawn, set amongst the surreal setting of Willow Creek vineyard.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Margaret River is just south of Perth and is Western Australia’s easygoing wine country. This region is also a haven for foodies, as a distinct collection of cheeses and ice creams are produced here, giving it an artisanal feel. Vasse Felix winery is one of the most opulent vineyards in Australia, with visitors able to walk through the region’s oldest vines before enjoying a three course meal paired with some of the area’s best wines.
Leeuwin Estate, also located in Margaret River, is the ultimate vineyard experience. After being welcomed with a glass of Brut, you’ll be given an overview of the history of the region and an introduction to the world class Leeuwin Concert series. A visit to the on site contemporary Art Gallery complements the behind the scenes tour of the winemaking process that follows. To round off your vineyard experience, you can sit down to a tutored wine tasting of five Leeuwin Estate wines, perfectly matched to various canapés. Upon returning to the winery’s award winning restaurant, guests will be wowed by a seven course dégustation menu.
Lying in the heart of Margaret River wine country, Cape Lodge is the perfect place to relax, unwind and rejuvenate. Guests can complement their wine based excursions with cooking classes run by Executive Chef Michael Elfwing. The hotel also offers a selection of spa treatments, scenic tours of the Margaret River area and whale watching and surfing outings.
Tasmania, Australia’s smallest state, is an island of incredible natural beauty with a phenomenal wine scene waiting to be explored. Renowned for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Tasmania produces cool climate wines at around 200 of the smaller vineyards in Australia. Dubbed as arguably the greatest region for sparkling wine anywhere in the world outside of Champagne itself, Tasmania has also made a name for itself as Australia’s sparkling wine capital.
At Josef Chromy Wines, visitors can go behind the scenes to learn how traditional method sparkling varieties are made. From base wine to corking and wiring, the art of making sparkling is explained. Guests then work with the winemaking team in the winery’s laboratory to choose the finishing touch, the liquor. After a day touring the vineyard and learning about Tasmania’s wine industry, guests are rewarded with their own handmade bottle of sparkling wine, suited to their personal taste. Josef Chromy Wines also shares a site with the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), so art enthusiasts can enjoy Australia’s largest private art collection alongside their unique wine experience.
As well as its pink granite peaks and white sandy beaches, Tasmania’s secluded Freycinet National Park is home to family run Freycinet Winery. The grapes are hand-picked here to ensure quality, and it’s the perfect place to learn the art of winemaking and indulge in some traditional Tasmanian fare. Recognised for its award-winning wines, it’s also one of the most stunning vineyards in Australia.
Another one of Tasmania’s wine related gems is the Tamar Valley, just north of Tasmania’s second major city Launceston. Beautiful scenery abounds in this region, with landscapes such as forested hills and lavender fields sitting alongside picturesque towns. With over 30 vineyards scattered across the Tamar Valley wine route, travellers have plenty to choose from.
The Barossa Valley, South Australia
An internationally renowned wine region, Australia’s Barossa Valley produces Shiraz and Riesling as its local specialities. With European immigrants planting the first vines in 1842, the Barossa has a longstanding European tradition of celebrating food and wine. The region produces some of the most sumptuous wines in the world, and visitors can spend time exploring over 70 wine cellars, as well as sampling delicious local food produce.
The iconic Centennial Cellar offers visitors the rare opportunity to taste a vintage Tawny from their birth year, directly from the barrel. This special tasting experience provides an unrivalled insight into the ageing process of premium fortified wine, proving that sometimes older truly is better.
We love staying at The Louise for an idyllic countryside retreat, where guests can enjoy local fine wines and gourmet offerings. Outdoor rain showers, gas log fireplaces and king size beds contribute to a collection of relaxing suites, complete with marble en-suite bathrooms and some private courtyards and terraces. Award-winning restaurant Appellation won’t disappoint, with the kitchen creating delicious food and wine pairings, making use of the bold Shiraz and aromatic Riesling.
McLaren Vale, South Australia
McLaren Vale is populated by family-run boutique wineries and is famous for intensely flavoured Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Art lovers will feel at home here, with eccentric art galleries sitting alongside the region’s five star retreats and quirky cafés. The region is ideal for grape growing, with the nearby ocean providing varying climates in which different varieties can thrive.
At d’Arenberg Cellar Door, guests can play winemaker in an interactive blending experience. Guests are presented with a palette of wine parcels to choose from, each with distinctive flavours and textures. The Blending Bench experience gives you the unique opportunity to take home a 750ml sample of your own branded wine bottle. Once you’ve finished blending your creation, indulge in an eight course degustation menu in d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, overlooking the rolling hills of McLaren Vale.