In Food + Drink

Five Australian Wineries To Visit This Spring

Australia’s temperate southern climate is ideal for winemaking. And we take full advantage of that fact with over 60 official wine regions across the country and no shortage of amazing vineyards and wineries to visit within them.

From household wine names producing quality drops to boutique wineries leading the way in innovation and sustainability initiatives, we round up some of our favourite. Consider this your spring Australian wineries must-visit list.

Millbrook Winery

Millbrook Winery’s estate is by far one of the most beautiful in Western Australia. Nestled into the hills of Jarrahdale, a 50-minute drive south-east of Perth, the picturesque property backs on to the Serpentine River.

From the cellar door, gape at beautiful views of the fringing lake and rolling hills of the region. In autumn, the bucolic property is at its most picturesque. The hills are lush and green, and inside, the open fireplace is crackling away.

While Millbrook is worth visiting for the photos alone, the on-site restaurant is garnering the most attention. Chef Guy Jeffreys tends to one of the most impressive commercial kitchen vegetable gardens. Growing all his own heirloom vegetables from seeds of the previous year’s crop, Jeffreys cultivates a true paddock-to-plate experience.

The Millbrook menu constantly changes to reflect what’s been harvested from the garden that day. The most exciting menu is the three-course ‘no-waste Monday’ experience ($50 per person). It challenges the chefs to create delicious and exciting meals from the fresh produce remaining after the weekend service.

Old Chestnut Lane, Jarrahdale, WA

Brokenwood Wines

Brokenwood Wines has come a long way from the quaint cellar door established by James Halliday, Tony Albert and John Beeston in 1975.

After undergoing an $8 million refurbishment, the new Villa & Villa-designed cellar door opened late last year. It’s now considered the biggest in the Hunter Valley with a whopping 1,400 square meters of floor space. But though it may be big, its inviting lounge corner with fireplace lends it a cosy atmosphere.

Brokenwood has given the wine tasting experience a shakeup, with a concierge and circular, pod-like tasting stations added to the mix. Varietal tastings ($10 per person) at the pods will take you through six whites, six reds and two dessert wines.

The space also has private tasting rooms, a wine museum, two dining venues and a large outdoor terrace with views out over Hunter Valley. Cru Bar + Pantry is Brokenwood’s casual dining option, with the more finessed food left up to the chefs at The Wood Restaurant.

401-427 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin, NSW

Trofeo Estate Winery

australian wineries

Image: Trofeo Estate Winery / supplied

In a climate where innovation is seemingly paramount, Trofeo Estate Winery is choosing to stick with the tried and tested.

Trofeo take their cue from the winemakers of 6,000 years ago, fermenting their yearly yield in terracotta amphora pots. With more than 100 amphorae on hand, they’re the largest producer of terracotta wine in the Southern Hemisphere.

As terracotta doesn’t react with or impart any flavours on the wine, the ancient technique of fermenting in amphora pots allows the delicate aromas of the fruit to shine. The results? Soft, elegant wines with fantastic varietal character.

The vineyard also employs unique organic and biodynamic viticulture processes. Cover crops of oats, legumes, and vetch are used to protect and enrich the soil in which the vines are grown. To keep the cover crops and weeds at bay, a flock of sheep roam free, acting as natural fertilisers along the way.

Trofeo’s amphora wines are best enjoyed on-site. For the ultimate ‘sense of place’ experience this autumn, crack a bottle of shiraz in the farmhouse style cellar door, while gazing out over green farmland.

85 Harrisons Road, Dromana, VIC

Vasse Felix

In 1967, Dr Tom Cullity planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec vines on a property in Cowaramup. Those vines were the founding of Vasse Felix, and what would become world-class wine region Margaret River. Suffice to say, as far as Australian wineries go, Vasse Felix is one of the most important.

Today, those first vines are still producing fruit for the winery’s signature Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec blend. Alongside the Heytesbury Chardonnay, the Tom Cullity is one of the region’s best-known wines.

But Vasse Felix is more than its historical significance. The multi-award-winning restaurant has really cemented Vasse Felix as one of the best wineries in Australia.

Headed up by chef Brendan Pratt (ex Fat Duck and The Ledbury), the restaurant is serving up some of the most interesting and refined dishes in Western Australia. The menu has wine pairing at its core, taking inspiration from the textures and flavour profiles of wine from the region. The ever-changing menu can be enjoyed a la carte, or in a five-course tasting menu paired with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from $122.00 per person).

After an indulgent lunch upstairs, guests can sip on more of the Vasse Felix catalogue by the roaring, ceiling-suspended fire. It’s one of the cosiest spots in the venue, with a perfect view out over the vineyards.

Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive), Cowaramup, WA

Wirra Wirra

australian wineries

Image: Wirra Wirra / supplied

In amongst the gum trees of McLaren Vale, the centuries-old ironstone Wirra Wirra winery is one of South Australia’s favourites. It produces rich reds and cool climate whites, but is best known for its red blends, ‘Church Block’.

It’s also a shining example of organic and biodynamic viticulture. Receiving its official biodynamic certification from NASAA group in 2014, its advocacy for biodynamic and environmentally friendly practices extends back more than a decade.

The team at Wirra Wirra are serious about good wine, and the environment. Practicing organic viticulture, no chemicals or pesticides are used on their vines. There’s also a composting area within the vineyards, where waste from each vintage is sent.

And those gum trees the winery sits amongst? Over five thousand of them were planted by the team at Wirra Wirra, in partnership with the Natural Resources and Management Board.

The exposed brick and timber-heavy cellar door at Wirra Wirra is a South Australian favourite. Home to Harry’s Deli inside, and a lush garden with barbecues outside, there’s plenty of space to pull up and enjoy their wines. In the autumn months, Wirra Wirra ramps up the wine tasting experience with live music sessions and comfortable couches around the fireplace.

Cnr Strout and McMurtrie Roads, McLaren Vale, SA

(Lead image: Millbrook Winery / supplied) 

Published 15 August, 2019