We love wine tasting and there isn’t anything better than a day of wine tasting..? Unless it’s a long weekend of wine tasting!!!
We have found the wine in Australia quite different to what we are used to in South Africa. The wine selection here is HUGE and when we go to the bottle store (or bottle-o as it’s fondly called here) we stand staring at the wines forever, not knowing what to choose. So we have found visiting the different wineries has helped us figure out which Australian varietals we prefer which makes our bottle-o experience slightly easier.
We were invited to Orange for the long weekend with family and when we heard there was wine tasting involved, we could hardly say no (and we quite like spending time with our family).
Orange is a city 254km west of Sydney, it’s a cool-climate wine region with picturesque vistas and a charming country feeling.
Here is our exact itinerary and all the places we visited (all planned for us by our amazing friends and family, Kelvin & Kristen and we would not have changed a thing!)
We hired a 12 seater van in Sydney and all hopped in for our drive to Orange together, singing “this is Australia” and playing I-spy along the way – this is what family trips are made of! 🙂 Eventually with hoarse voices and empty tummies, we arrived at our AirBnB in Orange with just enough time to unpack our bags and get ready for dinner.
DINNER – FIORINIS
Our first meal in Orange was at a tiny Italian restaurant called Fiorinis, located just out of town. When you first arrive you will probably think “where the heck have Gary and Jenna suggested we come!!?” Because that’s exactly what we were thinking! But don’t leave just yet, take a seat at your table and get ordering!
Fiorini’s is run by 2-3 Italian woman and the food is authentically Italian, no fuss, just good food!
They do not serve any alcohol, so BYO bottle of wine from one of the many cellar doors near by. Also, make sure you phone and book a table as it’s a tiny place.
a: 816 Canobolas Rd, Orange
t: +61 2 6365 3863
BREAKFAST – FACTORY ESPRESSO
Factory Espresso is a small cafe and coffee roasters located in the centre of town. They serve delicious coffees which are made from their own beans that they roast on site. As well as a variety of light to hearty meals to line your stomach before a big day of wine tasting.
On your way out, make sure you purchase a bag of coffee beans to take home as a pleasant reminder of your trip to Orange.
a: 135 Kite St, Orange
t: (02) 6360 2858
PHILLIP SHAW WINES
Philip Shaw Wines is one of big name wineries in Orange. The cellar door is beautifully designed incorporating what looks like an original stone cottage into the modern design of the tasting room. From the cellar door there are great views of their terraced garden, vegetable garden and the valley.
Choose a table inside beside the fire or out on the patio and enjoy their wine flight. Take note of the branding of their wine for some fun and creative names and labels.
a: 100 Shiralee Road, Orange
t: 02 6362 0710
Bloodwood Wines cellar door is a 10 minute drive out of town, on a farm with gorgeous views of the valley and vineyards. You will need to plan ahead for this and book a tasting with Stephen and Rhonda.
They will invite you into their home, seat you around the table and allow you to taste their full range of wines.
But beware, their wines are so delicious that you will leave with at very least a box of wine and when you get back home you will wish you had bought more… you have been warned!
DE SALIS WINES
De Salis Wines is a family owned winery overlooking the valley and Mt Canobolas, a great spot to end your day of wine tasting and watch the sunset. Charlie (the owner and wine maker) took us through their full range of wines while we sat in the sun on their deck overlooking the valley. Charlie was wonderful, very patient (this was at the end of a day of wine tasting) and very entertaining. Their wines are delicious, we bought a few bottles to keep in the cellar for the next special occasion.
And for fellow animal lovers – Tank (a Red Cattle dog), Knox (a Blue Staffy) and Honey Barbara (a Wheaten Border Collie, the newest addition to the family) will keep you entertained and give you lots of cuddles when they’re not chasing each other and playing on the grass.
Dinner on our second night in Orange was at Lolli Redini, a fine dining one-hatted restaurant. This restaurant comes highly recommended by many of the locals, they serve contemporary Italian and French influenced food and offer either 2 or 3 course options. The food was all beautifully plated, inventive and delicious!
We would suggest making a booking here before your arrival in Orange as they are quite popular.
a: 48 Sale Street, Orange
t: 6361 7748
Byng Street is a bustling cafe in Orange that serves tasty food and perfectly brewed coffee.
They tend to be quite busy on weekends, but we managed to get a table relatively easily even though we were a big group.
Seating is available inside the cafe or outside in their courtyard. They have some delicious healthy options as well as things like the Australian favourite bacon and egg roll to choose from.
Hop back into your vehicles and take a drive to Millthrope to Angullong Vineyards cellar door. Their tasting room is located in a beautiful old stone building with a big fireplace (perfect for winter!) They have a large selection of wines and we tried our very best to try them all!
We managed to get a seat right next to the fire and were well looked after by the wonderful ladies that run the place.
Angullong produce quite a few delicious, easy to drink wines as well a few special ones that you will want to cellar for a couple of years.
a: The Old Bluestone Stables, Cnr Park & Victoria Sts, Millthrope
t: +02 6366 4300
THE OLD MILL CAFÉ
After our wine tasting we headed off to lunch at The Old Mill Cafe. The cafe is located in a beautiful old building that was once the old bakery. They have the most delicious cakes, tarts and slices on display, so make sure you save some space to try these!
The owners, Darren and Stacey are both qualified chefs, Stacey trained under Adriano Zumbo and Darren worked as a sous chef to Chef Daniel Hughes at Manta in Sydney.
They have a great breakfast and lunch menu and the cafe has a nice relaxed vibe. Their is some outside seating for warmer days, otherwise grab a table inside next to one of the large windows overlooking the street.
a: 12 Pym Street Millthorpe
t: 02 6366 3188
After lunch you will want to take a little stroll around Millthorpe. The Main Street is a wide old street lined with historic building housing little cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops.
Our last stop for the day was at Heifer Station. Heifer Station has a charming tasting room/cellar door alongside a petting farm, vineyards, picnic tables and great views.
On a chilly day grab a seat inside their barn style tasting room next to the giant roaring fireplace. On a sunny day get yourself a table in the sun or a blanket on the grass and enjoy a tasting of their delicious wines and bubbles.
For our last night we opted to have a BBQ at our Airbnb. But there are plenty of restaurants in town to choose from. Our suggestion would be to speak to the staff at the wineries and see where they suggest, locals always know the best spots!
We hope to visit Orange again and try a couple of new places, let us know if there are any you think we should try!