9 of our Favourite Winery Haunts

By Leigh O'Connor. 

As vineyards around the country harvest their grapes in anticipation of great 2019 vintages, it looms as an interesting year with climate and palate changes shaping the future of the Australian wine industry. 

When to remove the fruit from the vine is probably the most important decision made all year. It sets the tone for the rest of the wine’s life and to get it right, a winemaker and viticulturist must work closely together.

They will walk the rows of vines each day, checking the condition of the fruit, looking, touching and tasting to see if the berries are ripe enough to harvest, usually from late January to April.

While we wait in anticipation for the next batch of bubbles, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, let’s pick up a glass, swirl the vino around and contemplate our favourite haunts to wine and dine at during harvest time.

9 of our Favourite Winery Haunts

New South Wales Harvest Haunts:

Located near Tumbarumba at the foothills of the majestic Snowy Mountains, Courabyra Wines sits in one of Australia’s premium cool climate wine regions, perfect for the production of high quality sparkling and table wines. Find sprawling green vineyards as far as the eye can see before taking to the cellar door to taste the likes of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, in a relaxed home style setting.

Once finished with tasting and touring the vineyards, head to Courabyra Wines Restaurant, set above the vines to enjoy a ploughman’s lunch of regional cheese, housemade dips, olives, quince paste, smoked meats and fruit, served with freshly baked bread and crackers.

Experience passion, fine fare, wine and views at Crooked River Wines in Gerringong, on the beautiful south coast of NSW. This family owned and operated winery sits on volcanic alluvial oil between the mountains and the sea and offers wedding and function facilities, with panoramic views through the onsite restaurant.

Try signature red Saddleback Mountain, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, or the ultimate blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in their Foxground Classic White, with dishes like harissa lamb backstrap, smoked aubergine tapenade and cilantro yoghurt; or market fish with du puy braised lentils, fig and nashi pear chutney and saffron crème fraiche.

9 of our Favourite Winery Haunts

Wander these Western Australia Wineries:

Award-winning wines and delicious lunch platters await guests at Jane Brook Estate Wines on Toodyay Road in the heart of the Swan Valley. This family-run winery has been producing sparkling, white, rose and red wines for more than 45 years, along with fresh produce and picnic hampers available at the cellar door and pantry.

Spoil yourself with a bottle of glitz and glamour with 23-carat Western Australian gold leaf floating in blanc de blanc, or a rich Malbec bursting with hearty red flavours. Team with a picnic basket of duck paté, farmhouse terrine, balsamic onions, brie, cheddar, olives, dip, sourdough baguette, salad, fruit and chutney and find a spot among the vines to enjoy your feast.

Try a taste of Spain in the Swan Valley at Pandemonium Estate on Great Northern Highway in Baskerville, with pintxos and wine tastings. Pintxos means to spike or spear and is a popular way of eating snacks like tapas, Pandemonium has matched pintxos to four of their Spanish wine varieties such as Manchego cheese, pear, honey and thyme with a Tempranillo Rosé.

This smaller, boutique vineyard has a spacious cellar door, taking in sprawling views of the Darling Range; guests can sit inside at the tasting bar, or take a glass of wine alfresco to enjoy the pergola area after ordering a cheese platter.

9 of our Favourite Winery Haunts

Harvest Season in South Australia:

Find many ways to enjoy a visit to Taylors Wines on Winery Road in Auburn from relaxing in the garden with a glass of red and a cheese platter, to an educational tasting experience and tour. Three generations have crafted great Australian wines at this Clare Valley vineyard, capturing the essence of each grape variety, leading to Taylors being recognised as the World’s No.1 Winery.

Delve into an amazing selection of delicious drops, such as Jaraman Chardonnay 2017 or Taylor Made Malbec 2017, at the cellar door; or perhaps opt for a decadent wine and chocolate pairing, with a selection of four award-winning wines matched to individual Cuvée chocolate, in a self-guided tasting flight.

9 of our Favourite Winery Haunts

Try this Tasmanian Wine and Dine Haunt:

Sitting pretty on the site of an old dairy farm in North-eastern Tasmania, Clover Hill Vineyard is one of Australia’s very few premium sparkling wine producers in the traditional method. This Lebrina winery has a reputation for uncompromising quality and has been awarded the state’s vineyard of the year twice, crafting wines from traditional varieties of champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Grab your someone special by the hand and head to the cellar door to enjoy a glass of 2013 Vintage Brut, along with share plates like sardine paté, pickled mushroom, bee pollen and honey loaf – all made from seasonal local produce.

Victorian Vineyards to Visit this Harvest Season:

For those wanting to get away for the weekend, LynneVale Estate on Cahills Road in Bendigo awaits. This true boutique winery has bed and breakfast accommodation, where guests can wake up to spectacular sunrises over the vines and the sound of native birds, a cellar door for tastings and a restaurant surrounded by gardens and water features, overlooking the Mandurang Valley.

Sample a signature 2003 Cabernet Shiraz, while perusing a Modern Australian menu with Asian influences, which changes seasonally. LynneVale is also a popular wedding venue with ceremonies by the fountain, followed by canapés and drinks and an intimate reception at the cellar door.

Capture the essence of life at D’Angelo Estate Vineyard in Officer, just 45 minutes south-east of Melbourne. Boasting views of Western Port Bay, D’Angelo Estate is an ideal spot for weddings and functions, or a pleasant Sunday lunch, featuring gourmet pizza and ­­shared plates like prawns coated in bamboo charcoal infused Panko crumb with wasabi mayo.

Join owner and winemaker Benny D’Angelo for weekend cellar door tastings of cool climate varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Sip on a glass of award-winning Reserve Lady Chardonnay while enjoying live music or visit for a wine degustation evening.

Queensland Wine Harvest Haunts:

Perched on a stunning elevated position above the Great Dividing Range and Lockyer Valley, Preston Peak Wines cellar door and function centre is just 10 minutes out of Toowoomba. Find lush, sweeping landscapes, 330 hectares of vineyard and land, providing an extensive panorama over the surrounding region, making the estate well suited to hosting special occasions.

Drop into the cellar door to taste a broad variety of wines from red and white to sparkling and fortified, perhaps starting with a fruity Wild Flower White with lychee and honeydew melon flavours. Don’t forget to ask the staff about their catering service, covering anything from cocktail tapas and feasting tables to food truck-style events.

Still looking for somewhere to celebrate the 2019 wine harvest? Click here for more wineries.