In Food + Drink

Australia’s Best Cellar Doors To Visit In Winter

While soaking up the sunshine over some lush vineyard views and enjoying a glass of wine in the sunshine with friends and a solid charcuterie board or woodfired pizza is a great way to spend a summer afternoon,

Wineries in summer may be ideal for soaking up sunshine with lush vineyard views, but there’s nothing like open fires and a warming glass of wine come winter. Throw in a charcuterie board or wood-fired pizza and you have the perfect after

Winter might not feel like prime time for cellar door shopping, the vines are bare and the temperature is cooler, but many wineries use these quieter months to host special events including dinners and winemaker talks. You can sip and often chat with the winemakers directly and on top of that, no crowds standing around the tasting table. Keen to warm up this winter? Rug up and check out some of these amazing cellar doors.

South Australia

Sevenhill Winery Photo: Hazel Cochran

If you’re a wine connoisseur, South Australia is certain to be on your go-to list for a great drop and the Clare Valley region is not just one of the country’s oldest wine growing regions, it’s especially beautiful in winter. The region, best known for its Riesling, also produces some quality Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

While you’re there, check out Sevenhill Winery’s cellar door. Sevenhill has been around since 1851 when the Jesuits settled in the area and planted vines to make sacramental wine. It’s a tradition that’s stayed, with their production of sacramental wine as well as their range of table wines.  It’s the only remaining Jesuit-owned winery in Australia, with residing Jesuits still actively involved in Sevenhill’s ongoing development. But what makes this cellar door so interesting aside from its history, is the wine museum and underground tunnels that look like their straight from Game of Thrones.

Tasmania

Arguably one of best winter destinations, Tasmania’s winter festivals are pretty incredible. So when the sun sets earlier the temp creeps down, festivals such as Dark Mofo at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) are one of the hottest places to be. It also happens to be the home of Tassie’s oldest winery. Cool climate wines reign supreme here so it’s all about the Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and sparkling wines.

The cellar door at Moorilla Wines shares the grounds with MONA and offers tours and tastings and of course it’s a great day out enjoying the quirky museum as well.

Western Australia

The Margaret River region has earned its reputation for producing some of the country’s finest, but if you simply can’t make the three-hour trek from Perth, then head to the Swan Valley, just 30 minutes from the city. Here the specialities are on the sweeter side including Verdelho, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Rosé and fortifieds. Check out Houghton’s cellar door, an incredibly cosy place to escape from the cold where you’ll find chairs made from wine barrels, an art gallery and museum as well as a serious wine list.

Victoria

Relatively new to the Victorian Mornington Peninsula, Point Leo Estate is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons. With a wine list that showcases Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (signature wines of this region) Point Lea is home to not just the winery, but 100 head of Black Angus cattle, chickens and bees, 50 acres of vines and a remarkable Sculpture Park with more than 40 large scale sculptural pieces.

A word of advice, bring your appetite as Point Leo’s on-site restaurants are led by culinary director, Phil Wood. Phil was the Executive Chef of Sydney’s Rockpool which, under his leadership, received Three Hats in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide between 2011 to 2016.

New South Wales

You’ll have your choice of wine regions to explore in New South Wales but the oldest is the Hunter Valley, just north of Sydney. Winter mornings are frosty, but get up early and make your way to any one of the many local farmers markets to stock up on the goods.

You’ll want to make your way to Tempus Two, brainchild of the McGuigan winemaking family. The cellar door has a striking design and the next-door cheese shop to pick up plenty of gourmet goods at the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop or make it a date at neighbouring cocktail bar The Goldfish or Japanese restaurant Oishii.

Queensland

You might not expect Queensland to have a thriving wine scene, but it definitely does. And along the Queensland Granite Belt, you’ll even find snow in winter with temperatures similar to that of central Victoria. In this region the specialities are Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet and sparkling.

Here you ease into the cooler climate at Ballandean Estate and enjoy the rustic surrounds with a gourmet food market fully stocked with local produce and artisan creations. While you’re there, it’s also worth taking a peek into the oldest working barrel hall in the state. The 150- year-old German beer barrels have been at the winery for more than 40 years and today they are used to store ageing Port and Muscat.

Published 24 July, 2018