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Wine

The Best Orange Wineries and Cellar Doors

It may seem like a recent success story, but Orange’s history as a wine region extends as far back as the 19th century. Take a tour of this highland, cool climate hotspot’s top-flight wineries and cellar doors, to discover why Orange is the new black in the world of Australian wine.

Nestled at the foot of the long-extinct volcano of Mount Canobolas, less than four hours’ drive from Sydney, Orange is Australia’s highest-altitude wine region, and has firmly established itself as one of the country’s premier food and wine destinations with its wealth of fresh local produce and an abundance of top-quality restaurants.

Once a rural centre of table grape production, since the 1980s it has slowly but surely evolved beyond its roots, and today is better known for its premium expressions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc – as well as its elegant cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Shiraz.

Blessed with mineral-rich soils – a legacy of Mount Canobolas’ fiery past – it is now home to over 60 vineyards and wineries, and comparisons to other iconic wine regions like the Mornington Peninsula have become increasingly commonplace as gourmet travellers and wine aficionados become more aware of all that Orange has to offer.

There’s so much to take in that we’ve compiled a list of highlights for you: our top picks of Orange’s best wineries and cellar door experiences, with some recommended places to stay for your visit and some tips on where to have lunch while you’re there. Let’s begin!

Shop Orange Wines

 

NASHDALE LANE

A proudly Australian family-owned and operated business, Nashdale Lane was founded in 2001. Husband and wife team Nick and Tanya Segger are hands-on and passionate in what they do, and have built a winery that is focused on ethical practices and a respect for the land.

Situated in the highlands of Orange on 60 acres at the foot of Mount Canobolas, the vineyard produces a range of quality varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Shiraz, as well as quality blends under their ‘social’ label.

Positioned almost 900m above sea level, visitors can enjoy the refreshing mountain air and the vistas while sampling the wines at the cellar door, a 70-year-old converted apple packing shed. Fully insulated with unobstructed views and a wood fire for those chilly days, it’s a great place to enjoy a matched wine, cheese and charcuterie tasting you won’t soon forget.

There’s even luxury glamping available, giving you a private escape among the vines in a distinctly Australian getaway – though do note that children are not permitted to stay in the glamping cabins.

125 Nashdale Lane, Nashdale
Open Monday to Thursday 12pm-4pm, Friday to Sunday 11am-5pm.

Visit Nashdale Lane

 

PRINTHIE

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Family-owned and operated by brothers Ed and Dave Swift, the story of Printhie Wines began in 1978, when the Swifts became only the third owners of the ‘Printhie’ property, named for a now-extinct goanna like lizard once common to the area.

In 1996, it was converted into a vineyard with 12ha of grapevines. The winery followed in 2004 as the plantings expanded to 33ha, and soon Printhie had established itself among the premier Orange wine producers with a reputation for cool climate craftsmanship.

With four different vineyards at differing elevations, a great deal of planning went into making Printhie what it is today, to ensure the highest quality fruit for their wines. Of the four vineyards, ‘Wattleview’ can lay claim to being the highest vineyard in the Orange region at 1068m above sea level.

Printhie’s Cellar Door, The Packing Shed, is located at their ‘Millwood’ vineyard less than 10 minutes from Orange. Set amidst a fully operational heritage apple orchard at Nashdale on the slopes of Mount Canobolas, it’s the ideal spot to sample Printhie’s award-winning Swift Sparkling wines – bookings essential.

208 Nancarrow Lane, Nashdale
Open Monday to Friday 3pm-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm.

Visit Printhie Wines

 

PHILIP SHAW WINES

Winemaker Philip Shaw, formerly of Lindemans, Rosemount Estate and then Southcorp, certainly knew which way the wind was blowing when he purchased the Koomooloo Vineyard in 1988. Shaw had been looking for some years for the perfect place to grow cool climate wines, and found it in Orange.

The vineyard’s first commercial vintage was produced in 2004, and Philip Shaw Wines very quickly established a considerable reputation among wine lovers and judges alike for turning out wines of impeccable quality and character. In 2015, Philip transferred ownership and management to his sons Damian and Daniel, to continue delivering on the promise of Orange’s soils. 

The cellar door at Philip Shaw Wines may not have a restaurant, but the cellar door’s small-plate tastings of local cheese, prosciutto and accompaniments certainly hit the spot. Or, if you’re really looking to treat someone special, try the lunch and graze picnic hampers – they come packed with all-local food items and a bottle of Philip Shaw Character Series Wine, for you to enjoy in the expansive garden and on the cellar door’s tiered lawns.

100 Shiralee Road, Orange

Open Sunday to Thursday 11am-4pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-5pm.

Visit Philip Shaw Wines

 

COOKS LOT

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A boutique winery based on the edge of Mount Canobolas and dedicated to crafting wines that exemplify the terroir of the region, the Cook family estate works with a number of small growers in Orange from several vineyards across different altitudes and soils, with a shared focus on growing premium fruit.

The resulting wines have been celebrated by noted figures not only for their quality, but their modest pricing, and winemaker Duncan Cook celebrated for crafting wines of distinction, elegance and complexity.

They can be tasted at Ferment, the Orange Wine Centre, a modern European-inspired space in a preserved heritage building near the heart of town. Ferment’s Enomatic wine dispenser allows you to sample a range of exceptional local wines, all of which are available for purchase, and which can be enjoyed with matching cheese or salami boards.

Shop Cooks Lot Wines

87 Hill St, Orange
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm. Sundays by appointment.

Visit Cooks Lot

 

CUMULUS WINES

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The 508 hectares of Cumulus Wines’ high-altitude vineyard constitutes one of the largest single-estate properties in New South Wales and one of the few dual appellation vineyards in the country.

Established in 1995, Cumulus is one of the most-awarded wineries in the region, with premium cool climate wines that are fruit-forward and easy to drink, grown from vines that are among the oldest in the region.

Their range extends across a number of varietals and brands, with their Cumulus Estate Wines grown from premium blocks of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, whole bunch pressed, natural yeast barrel fermented and matured in a combination of French and American oak for 12 months.

Wine tastings are available at Ferment, the Orange Wine Centre.

Shop Cumulus Wines

87 Hill Street, Orange
Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am-5pm. Sundays by appointment.

Visit Cumulus Wines

 

SWINGING BRIDGE

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Operated by Tom and Georgie Ward since 2008, Swinging Bridge has evolved into a premier supplier of cool climate wines. Founded with initial plantings of Chardonnay and Shiraz, today it produces a range of wines that have won a number of awards.

It also brings a unique Cellar Door experience to the Orange region, showcasing the hard work and vision of Tom as winemaker. With some of the best views of Mount Canobolas in the district, visitors can sample the best of the winery’s individual selected block series, their best of Orange region wines and their Hashtag wine series.

It’s a premium sit-down tasting experience which was awarded 2018’s Gourmet Traveller Wine Best Cellar Door in Region, and is a great way to spend the day with friends taking in the view.

701 The Escort Way, Orange
Open Sunday to Friday 12pm-4pm, Saturday 10am-4pm.

Visit Swinging Bridge

 

HEIFER STATION WINES

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Located on the basalt slopes of Mount Canobolas and spanning 65 acres of red loam soils over limestone up to an altitude of 900m, Heifer Station was once part of a much larger property used by Cobb & Co. as a change station for their horse teams. Over the years Heifer Station was split up, and its history all but lost.

The preservation of that history is an important part of the vision of founders Phillip and Michelle Stivens, who purchased the property in 2009. It has since flourished, producing award-winning Shiraz along with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Merlot, enjoying a near-perfect balance of elevation and sunshine perfect for growing cool climate fruit with drive and elegance.

In 2016 they opened a beautiful Cellar Door in the old woolshed, and haven’t stopped since. There’s also vineyard tours and roaming tastings, numerous picnic sites you can reserve for that special occasion, and a kids petting zoo and farm. You can even arrive in style with a helicopter landing – though make sure to book first, as the landing area is a working cattle paddock!

1034 The Escort Way, Borenore
Open 7 days, 11am-5pm.

Visit Heifer Station Wines

 

ROSS HILL

Founded in 1994 by Peter and Terri Robinson with the planting of the Griffin Road Vineyard, Ross Hill Wines is regarded as one of Orange’s pioneering wineries. In 2006, their son James and daughter-in-law Chrissy joined them, and shortly after the Wallace Lane Vineyard and Winery was established in an old apple packing shed on Mount Canobolas, and Ross Hill wines quickly started appearing on wine lists at some of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants.

Besides the distinction of their wines, Ross Hill is also recognised as Australia’s first NCOS Certified Carbon neutral winery, and its cellar door on Wallace Lane is one of the hottest seats in town with its modern take on rustic style and exquisite setting. It’s simply the best place to experience Ross Hill’s premium cool climate expressions, particularly during spring when the sweet white cherry blossoms come alive in the surrounding orchards.

Tasting plates and tours are also available, but if you’re after a truly special experience keep your eyes out for the Long Lunch events held at their Barrel Hall, which showcases dishes from such celebrated restaurants as Fratelli Fresh. Great wine, gourmet food… it’s the quintessential Orange wine region experience. Or, take up the gauntlet of learning to cook with the Barrel & Larder School of Wine and Food, housed in the cellar door – whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!

134 Wallace Lane, Orange

Open 7 days a week, 10.30am-5pm.

Visit Ross Hill Wines

 

ROWLEE WINES

Rowlee Wines is a family project that has its roots in the Dalmatian wine country on the Adriatic coastline of Croatia, where the family tradition of grape-growing and winemaking began – a tradition revived here in Australia by Nik and Deonne Samodol with the establishment of Rowlee’s single vineyard in Orange, New South Wales.

Nik and Deonne set out to combine European viticultural heritage with new world practices to produce grapes and wines that reflect the character of their vineyard. Today, winemaking and viticulture at Rowlee is overseen by Nik and Deonne’s daughter Nicole, and her partner James, following the philosophy of working in harmony with the seasons to produce the best quality wine possible.

The Rowlee Wines cellar door is located on the Cargo Road Wine Trail, and offers a range of food and wine experiences, from simple varietal tastings to picnics among the vines, vine-to-table tours and even two-night wine escapes staying in the private guesthouse. Delicious wine, fine accommodation… truly, this is what living is all about!

Shop Rowlee Wines

19 Lake Canobolas Rd, Nashdale

Open 7 days, 11am-5pm.

Visit Rowlee Wines

 

BEST THINGS TO DO IN ORANGE

Besides its wineries and cellar doors, Orange’s heritage buildings, stunning natural beauty and cultural calendar has made it a tourist destination that really does offer something for everyone. Here’s what we’ve marked in our calendars for whenever we’re in this utterly enchanting wine region.

 

Orange F.O.O.D. Week

Running from the 9th to the 18th April, this is one of Australia’s longest-running and highest-rating regional food festivals, celebrating the Orange region’s diverse, high-quality food and wine, and showcasing the work of all the farmers, chefs, cooks, winemakers and restauranteurs that have it the destination it is today. Learn more at Orange Food Week.

 

Orange Farmers Markets

An Orange institution since 2002, the Orange Farmers Markets is held on the second Saturday of every month from 8.30am to midday at Northcourt (cnr of Peisley and March Streets), and occasionally at the nearby Showground. Over 60 stallholders offer visitors everything from nuts to fresh fruits and veggies, meats of every kind, chutney, jams, pies, and more, it’s an absolute cornucopia of fresh, seasonal produce that should be on every food lover’s bucket list. Learn more at Orange Farmers Markets.

 

Ferment the Orange Wine Centre and Wine Store

Housed in a carefully preserved heritage building, Ferment the Orange Wine Centre, has a sleek contemporary European interior emphatically announcing that the Orange wine scene has arrived. Ferment’s full selection showcases wines from the Central Ranges of NSW and beyond, inviting patrons to experience a wide range of local wines while exploring the heart of Orange. Learn more at Orange Wine Centre.

 

Hiking trails and lookouts

Get back to nature with Orange’s many and diverse trails and lookouts. Soak in the vista from the summit of Mount Canobolas – especially magical in winter – or try a bushwalk at Federal Falls and be rewarded for your efforts with more spectacular views. Hit the heritage trails and try a self-guided walking tour for a step back in time and see how life was for generations past, taking in the beautifully preserved historic buildings and local folklore. You’ll be glad you did! For more information on the many walks you can explore, visit the Orange360 website.

 

The Orange Cultural Precinct

The Orange Cultural Precinct is a vibrant public space that also includes the Orange Regional Gallery, Orange Civic Theatre, Orange City Library and the Visitor Information Centre. It’s impossible not to be inspired by the creativity and passion on display in these landmark regional facilities, with their regularly rotating shows and exhibitions. To learn more, visit the Arts, Culture and Community page of the Orange360 site.

 

Picnic in the Orange Botanic Gardens

A naturally undulating 17-hectare site featuring an impressive native and exotic plant collection, the Orange Botanic Gardens were officially opened in 1988 for the Australian Bicentenary, with plantings ranging from original native and exotic trees to newly developed displays. They’re an ideal place in which to relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery and district views, as well as being a popular site for bird watching, family picnics or a relaxing stroll.

 

7 BEST PLACES TO EAT IN ORANGE

Feeling peckish? Orange is packed with great spots to grab a bite. Here’s our current list of favourites:

 

  1. Mr Lim – Contemporary Asian cuisine plus Korean BBQ like you wouldn’t believe, in an atmosphere that simply must be experienced.

  2. Sweet Sour Salt – Modern pan-Asian flavours to die for, with three set menus offering a universe of savoury-sweet flavours.

  3. Tonic – Classic rustic dishes meet contemporary style at one of the most highly-awarded restaurants of Central NSW.

  4. Raku Izakaya – The first modern Japanese cuisine in Orange, Raku Izakaya combines ambience and local flavours in a winning combination.

  5. Racine Bakery – artisan-made and fresh daily, Racine’s butter pastry pies and sausage rolls are like nothing else this side of the Blue Mountains.

  6. Agrestic Grocer – home-spun, home-grown and honestly one of the best spots anywhere to enjoy the fruits of Orange’s local food movement.

  7. Groundstone – nestled in the heart of the Orange Cultural Precinct, Groundstone’s fresh Scandinavian design is as tasty as its local, seasonal menu.

 

PLACES TO STAY IN ORANGE

There’s so much to see and so many great things to do in Orange that you’re going to want to stay there as long as possible. Being a major tourist destination, there’s no shortage of delightful spots to rest your head after a full day exploring the vineyards or scaling Mount Canobolas, from humble to hoity-toity, in both Orange itself in the nearby towns only a short distance away.

Besides such excellent winery accommodations like the Ultimate Wine Escape at Rowlee Wines, or the luxury glamping experience at Nashdale Lane, here are some of our top picks for accommodation when visiting Orange.

 

BYNG ST BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Byng St Boutique Hotel is a stunning spot to stay, a unique accommodation experience located in the heart of Orange’s heritage precinct, the perfect location to enjoy everything Orange has to offer. A beautiful juxtaposition of the significant historical homestead and contemporary architecture, this 4.5 star, 22-room hotel welcomes guests who appreciate unique style, luxurious comfort and sophistication. Book now at the Byng St Boutique hotel website.

 

MERCURE ORANGE

Located in the heart of the Orange Central Business District and its many local wine bars, restaurants and quality shopping hot spots, the Mercure Orange is a contemporary accommodation experience ideal for leisure or business guests. Part of the Accor family of hotels, service and style are par for the course. Book now at the Mercure Orange website.

 

DE RUSSIE BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Located half a block from the CBD on Hill Street, de Russie Boutique Hotel offers 25 well-appointed rooms for the corporate or casual traveller. Decorated in a modern style with European influences, you’ll want for nothing with a stay at de Russie. Book your stay now at the de Russie Boutique Hotel website.

 

THE ORIANA, ORANGE

The Oriana, with 49 rooms, was one of the first motels in Orange, opening in 1968. The owners, Ted Marr and Espen Harbitz, took over the Oriana in February 2017, and have embarked upon a major program to upgrade rooms, dining and other guest facilities. With its Travellers Lounge, pool and gym, it’s a stylish yet comfortable stay – secure your accommodation at the Oriana Orange website.

 

For a more exhaustive list of top places to stay in and around Orange, the Orange360 website has you covered – and find your ideal spot to stay while soak in the splendour of Orange!

 

THE BEST THAT AUSTRALIA’S WINE REGIONS HAVE TO OFFER

Want to see more of what our great wine regions have to offer? Then don’t miss our comprehensive guide to Australia’s Best Wineries and Cellar Doors – from Hunter Valley in the east to Great Southern in the west, it’s the ultimate go-to guide for planning your next wine adventure.

For Wine Selectors Members, make sure to check out our Members Extras offers before planning your next trip, and discover what fantastic offers are available for your wine region destination!

Want to see what all the fuss about Orange wines? Order some for yourself, experience some of the finest examples of premium, cool climate winemaking this country has to offer and save with Wine Selectors.

Wine
Words by
Brendan McCallum
Published on
19 May 2021

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