You’d think a wine region located in central west NSW, situated just under four hours’ drive west of Sydney, would be mostly known for its big, robust tannic red wines, right? In reality, the diversity of vino styles you’ll come across in Mudgee is at a level you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Australia. They do just about everything here!
With its diverse range of microclimates, soils and altitudes, Mudgee is a region lucky enough to be able to produce a range of varieties. On your travels you’ll find crisp riesling, vermentino and semillon, as well as classic, stone-fruited chardonnay and deliciously dry rosé. You’ll also struggle for choice in the red wine department, with everything on offer from savoury, medium-bodied shiraz, sangiovese, grenache, merlot, tempranillo and barbera all the way to broad, cellar-worthy cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel.
This three-day itinerary takes in both the traditional and modern Mudgee winemaking scene – expect the classics as well as organic and modern-style drops from up-and-coming producers. Mudgee’s contagious country charm and laid back atmosphere makes it the perfect destination to unwind and escape the daily grind.
Where to Stay
You can’t go past self-contained houses and apartments, as well as cosy yet chic B&Bs. Some wineries also offer on-site accommodation, such as Burnbrae’s Winemaker’s Cottage. If you want to be closer to town, The Tannery, a fully-equipped 19th-century cottage, is a great option. If rusticity isn’t your vibe, look no further than the four-star Perry Street Hotel – with its prime location, it’ll no doubt be the perfect place for your Mudgee getaway.
One of Mudgee’s newer producers, Logan Wines is a great place to start (the view from the cellar door is pretty handy, too). Be sure to sample the Ridge of Tears series of shiraz, as well as riesling, tempranillo, sauvignon blanc and Clementine, an amber-hued pinot gris. Next stop is First Ridge, Mudgee’s premier producer of Italian varieties. Set in a converted shipping container, the cellar door is an architect’s dream boasting sweeping vineyard views. Head over to Moothi Estate whose modern cellar door on the slopes of Mount Frome offers steep competition to First Ridge in the panoramic vista stakes. Traditionally a red wine-focused producer, the team at Moothi are also producing quality white wines such as riesling, viognier, semillon and pinot grigio.
On your way back into town, stop in at historic Burrundulla, which was established in the early 1820s. Whether or not you’re a lover of chardonnay, Burrundulla’s is a fresh and well-balanced example of the Mudgee style.
Drop into one of Mudgee’s many outstanding pubs for a palate cleanser – the Oriental Hotel or the Lawson Park Hotel are two of our faves – before an incredible dinner at Pipeclay Pumphouse (but be sure to book in advance – it fills up quickly).
Fuel up on breakfast at the Butcher Shop Café before heading to Vinifera Wines to sample a range of organically-grown Spanish-inspired wines including tempranillo and graciano. A ten-minute drive takes you to Bunnamagoo Wines for a relaxed tasting of sparkling, white and red wines – be sure to give yourself a decent time slot to try everything.
Head back south to Mudgee’s oldest winery, Craigmoor Pavilion, now the home of the Robert Oatley cellar door, to experience historical and family charm. Take your time to try a range of wines from the label, before making your way to Lowe Wines. Owner David Lowe is a bit of a legend around these parts and is well-known for his focus upon organic, biodynamic and minimal preservative wines.
Check into Mudgee’s only hatted restaurant, The Zin House, for an exquisite long lunch designed around and prepared with local produce. After lunch, head to Robert Stein Winery, where you can taste a range of quality drops from GT WINE’s 2012 Young Winemaker of the Year Jacob Stein, who’s widely regarded as the face of Mudgee’s new generation of winemakers. Riesling is Stein’s forte but shiraz, cabernet and gewürztraminer are equally exceptional.
Heading south towards town, make a stop at Huntington Estate, awarded GT WINE’s Best Small Cellar Door in 2018. It’s a red wine lover’s dream, with bold, classic reds on show, as well as luscious semillon and chardonnay. Finish off the day at local favourite Roth’s Wine Bar for an aperitif and a snack before a light, tapas-inspired dinner at Alby & Esthers.
You would have seen it on your travels so far, but The Cellar by Gilbert is worth leaving until last. Sourcing grapes from both Mudgee and nearby Orange, they produce some of the Central Ranges’ most elegant wines. Settle in for a tasting of their current and museum release wines, as well as small plates and local cheese.
Head to the Burnbrae cellar door to enjoy delicious yet approachable examples of pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, shiraz and cabernet merlot from both Mudgee and Orange. The cellar door offers antipasto platters, but if you can time it right they also offer wood-fired pizzas every third Sunday and on long weekends.
Heading back towards Sydney, be sure to pay a visit to De Beaurepaire Wines to experience a range of quality French-style drops. Set on the hills above the historic village of Rylstone, the cellar door boasts a rich sense of tradition and history. Take the time to settle in and indulge in a tasting while enjoying the views - it’ll be the perfect end to your Mudgee getaway.