Australia is blessed with some of the best winemaking conditions on earth. Its diverse terrain means you’re never far from a world-class wine region, be it the inviting cellar doors of the Hunter Valley or the celebrated estates of the Margaret River.
Beyond the big names, there’s also a range of smaller estates offering unique wine experiences like the chance to bottle your own drop or tour historic underground cellars. Not sure where to start? Here’s our guide to Australia’s best winery experiences.
Josef Chromy Wines, Tasmania
Josef Chromy is one of the few wineries on the Apple Isle that grows and bottles its grapes on the premises. At the on-site restaurant you can soak up the vino with dishes such as pinot-poached beetroot and grass-fed beef carpaccio, making this a great one-stop food and wine experience.
Wine to try: The 2017 pinot noir.
Cellar door: $5 per person will get you tastings with views over the vineyard; bookings are required for groups of six or more.
370 Relbia Road, Relbia; (03) 6335 8700
St Hugo, Barossa Valley, South Australia
The family behind St Hugo have been in the wine business since 1847 but in 2019 the best way to experience their grapes is at the St Hugo restaurant, where wines are expertly paired with a seasonal tasting menu. The best seat in the house is the Chef’s Table, where you can see straight into the kitchen, watching the chefs at work and interacting with them as they discuss ingredients and techniques.
Wine to try: A shiraz or cabernet sauvignon from the Private Collection sold exclusively at the St Hugo property.
Cellar door: St Hugo goes beyond the standard cellar door tasting to provide one-hour guided experiences that include a tour of the vineyards and tutored tastings in their private cellar, priced at $50 per person.
2141 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat; (08) 8115 9200
Jacob's Creek, Barossa Valley, South Australia
An extensive range of wines and the on-site restaurant offering fresh local produce make Jacob’s Creek a great place to spend an afternoon. But it’s the grounds of the winery that really sell it – visitors can set off on a bike ride between the vineyards or spot wildlife during a walk along the banks of that famous creek.
Wine to try: A Limited Release wine exclusively sold at the cellar door.
Cellar door: Groups of 8 or more can enjoy a 30-minute tasting for $10 per person.
Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat; (08) 8521 3000
Tahbilk Winery, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria
The oldest vineyard in Victoria, Tahbilk Winery has been family-run for five generations and retains its original underground cellars from 1860. With the winery set close to the Goulburn River and surrounded by walking tracks, you can easily extend a visit here into a full-day affair.
Wine to try: The Marsanne 2018 or Museum Release Marsanne 2012.
Cellar door: The cellar door is open for tastings from 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas.
254 O'Neils Road, Tabilk; (03) 5794 2555
Mandoon Estate, Swan Valley, WA
Mandoon Estate makes excellent boutique wine but that’s not all you should come here for. The Swan Valley winery is also home to a microbrewery, the fine dining restaurant Wild Swan, a gourmet deli and the Linton & Kay Art Gallery, where you can view work from selection of established and emerging artists in the property’s original homestead.
Wine to try: The 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon or the 2011 Reserve Shiraz.
Cellar door: Private tastings, available by appointment, are priced at $35 per person. Group tastings can also be booked.
10 Harris Road, Caversham; (08) 6279 0500
Montalto, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Enjoy a bottle over share plates at Montalto's relaxed piazza café, sit down for a meal at the Montalto Restaurant or join a ‘Perfect Pairing’ experience, where you’ll sample four award-winning wines expertly matched to tasting dishes. A catered picnic in a secluded part of the property can also be arranged.
Wine to try: The pinot noir or chardonnay.
Cellar door: Tastings are $5 per person; bookings not required for individuals.
33 Shoreham Road, Red Hill South; (03) 5989 8417
Wirra Wirra Vineyards, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Wirra Wirra makes organic wines free from systemic chemicals and pesticides, an all-natural approach that’s made them one of the McLaren Vale’s best-loved wineries. Linger at the relaxed café Harry’s Deli or fire up the barbecue with a bottle and a view of the vineyards, where you can fire up a barbecue.
Wine to try: The Amator range, sourced from biodynamically farmed vineyards at the estate and available exclusively at the cellar door.
Cellar door: Tastings are $5 per person for individuals or $10 per person for those arriving in groups of six or more.
463 McMurtie Road, McLaren Vale; (08) 8323 8414
Vasse Felix, Margaret River, WA
Established in 1967, Vasse Felix is the Margaret River’s founding wine estate. The legendary vineyard is home to a refined wine lounge, art gallery, fine-dining restaurant and ‘The Vault’, a dedicated wine museum where you can view historical vintages including the last remaining bottle of the winery’s 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine to try: The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, the first red wine produced in Margaret River.
Cellar door: Sample the wines a la carte at the Cellar Door Tasting Bar, open every day from 10am to 5pm.
Caves Road, Cowaramup, Margaret River; (08) 9756 5000
Brown Brothers, King Valley, Victoria
Brown Brothers boast one of the largest selections of wine varieties in Australia, a range that spans crowd-pleasers such as moscato as well as traditional drops like shiraz. Sample them over a cheese platter at the wine bar or take a tour of the winery to learn more about the label, which has been family owned since 1889.
Wine to try: Prosecco.
Cellar door: Visitors are welcome from 9am to 5pm daily; groups should book ahead.
239 Milawa Bobinawarrah Road, Milawa; (03) 5720 5500
Yalumba Family Winemakers, Eden Valley, South Australia
Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s most historic family-owned winery. You can learn more about that long history in mini masterclasses that showcase the label’s best wines or set off on signature walking tours through the vineyards, visit the family’s private museum cellar and finish off with lunch prepared by a local chef.
Wine to try: The 2014 Signature Cabernet Shiraz.
Cellar door: Complimentary tastings are available as are paid tour experiences.
10 Eden Valley Road, Angaston; (08) 8561 3309
Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley, South Australia
The history of Seppelstfield dates back to 1851, just 15 years after the European settlement of South Australia. You can explore the estate’s historic buildings on daily heritage tours and enjoy modern touches like a meal at Fino, Seppelstfield’s destination dining experience.
Wine to try: The 1919 Para Vintage Tawny from the Centennial Collection.
Cellar door: You can taste a range of wines free of charge at the cellar door; private tastings for groups should be booked ahead of time and are $12 per person.
730 Seppeltsfield Road, Seppeltsfield; (08) 85686217
Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, Hunter Valley, NSW
Perched atop a foothill in the Brokenback Mountain Ranges, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard offers panoramic views of the Hunter Valley. Your visiting options range from a short and sweet half-hour tasting through to a behind-the-scenes winery tour where you can taste wine straight out of the barrel.
Wine to try: The 2018 Hunter Valley Semillon.
Cellar door: Wine tastings start at $5 per person; tours or picnic experiences are also available.
750 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin; (02) 4993 3600
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate, Victoria
De Bortoli has been in the family for three generations, with a history that dates back to 1928. The Yarra Valley estate comprises 240 hectares of vines and produces some of the region’s best-loved chardonnays and rieslings, as well as lesser-known varieties such as nebbiolo and gamay. There’s also the option of dining at the on-site Italian restaurant, Locale.
Wine to try: Vinoque Nebbiolo Rosé.
Cellar door: $5 counter tastings with the option of upgrading to a cheese and wine pairing for $14 per person; $32.50 gourmet tastings are held in the De Bortoli Trophy Room.
58 Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek; (03) 5965 2271
Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Immerse yourself in the 175-year history of one of Australia’s most revered wine brands. Penfolds' Magill Estate in Adelaide features the original vineyard, winery and cellars, as well as a sleek cellar door with private tasting rooms and two restaurants where Grange can be enjoyed by the glass.
Wine to try: The 2016 Barossa Valley Shiraz Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cellar door: A variety of premium tasting experiences are available at both locations, including the chance to make your own blend. Tailored tastings can be organised for group bookings.
78 Penfold Road, Magill; (08) 8301 5569
The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Get hands on with a winemaking masterclass, indulge in a private tour of The Lane Vineyard (with a glass of vintage cuvee in hand) or enjoy a meal at the modern Dining Room. This friendly Adelaide Hills estate crafts distinguished single vineyard wines and boasts sweeping views of the surrounding Hills.
Wine to try: The Beginning Chardonnay.
Cellar door: Choose from three different tasting formats, from $5 per person to the $35-a-head Gathering Experience, which pairs wines with creations from the kitchen.
5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf; (08) 8388 1250
Moorilla, Derwent Valley, Tasmnia
David Walsh doesn’t just do art. Mona’s creator also owns Moorilla, the Derwent Valley winery that creates small-batch, cool-climate wines. The cellar door is next door to Tasmania’s famously provocative art gallery, meaning you can quaff Pinot beneath John Olsen work The Source. Visitors can also tour Moorilla’s southern vineyard and taste wine straight from the tank on the property’s winery tours.
Wine to try: The 2007 Cloth Label Late Disgorged Sparkling.
Cellar door: $10 per person from Wednesday to Monday; bookings required fro groups of 10 or more.
655 Main Road, Berriedale; (03) 6277 9960
Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, WA
Family-owned Leeuwin Estate is one of the five founding wineries of the Margaret River region. The label now exports to more than 30 countries, while touches like its celebrated restaurant, summertime concerts and private airstrip make a visit here a premium experience. Don’t miss the estate’s art gallery, which houses more than 100 paintings from contemporary Australian artists that were commissioned to feature on Leeuwin’s ‘Art Series’ wine labels.
Wine to try: The 2015 Art Series Chardonnay.
Cellar door: Open seven days a week from 10am-5pm; behind-the-scenes tours depart at 11am daily.
Stevens Road, Margaret River; (08) 9459 0000
Gemtree Wines, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Gemtree Wines is dedicated to making wine the sustainable way. Husband and wife team Mike and Melissa Brown work together to grow grapes with minimal intervention, using an environmentally conscious farming system. Free from herbicides and pesticides, the wines are certified organic and biodynamic – a process you can learn about on tours of the property.
Wine to try: The 2016 Obsidan Shiraz.
Cellar door: $5 per person or $10 per person for a sit-down structured flight in the private tasting room. Groups of nine or more should book ahead.
167 Elliott Road McLaren Flat; (08) 8383 0802
Voyager Estate, Margaret River, WA
Go beyond the cellar door at Voyager Estate with one of the family-owned winery’s tour and tasting experiences, which range from seven-course discovery lunches through to guided walks through the Boodijidup Valley. You can also take a tour that focuses on one of the Margaret River's two famed varietals, the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, and learn more about how the estate is converting to organic production methods.
Wine to try: A limited release wine from the Project collection, such as the 2015 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.
Cellar door: $35 per person for a premium tasting experience.
41 Stevens Road, Margaret River; (08) 9757 6354
Pizzini, King Valley, Victoria
It might be in Victoria’s King Valley but there’s a touch of the Mediterranean to Pizzini. This family-owned winery wears its Italian heritage on its sleeve by staging cooking classes alongisde the cellar door, where guests learn how to make fresh pasta, the perfect pizza and smoke their own meats. Pizzini specialise in Italian varietals such as prosecco, pinot grigio, sangiovese and nebbiolo.
Wine to try: The 2004 Coronamento Nebbiolo.
Cellar door: Open seven days from 10am to 5pm.
175 King Valley Road, Whitfield; (03) 5729 8278
d'Arenberg, McLaren Vale, South Australia
d’Arenberg is one of the only wineries in Australia to basket-press both its white and red wines. It’s a labour intensive process – small batches of grapes are gently crushed, then transferred to fermenters – but it ensures only the best fruit makes it through. All its vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic and while that winemaking approach might be new, the legacy is old – the family-owned winery has a history that dates back to 1912.
Wine to try: A 2012 Single Vineyard Shiraz.
Cellar door: Entry to the five-level d’Arenberg Cube building is priced at $10 per person including a complimentary tasting. Advance bookings are recommended.
58 Osborn Road, McLaren Vale; (08) 8329 4888
The Sunshine State might not spring to mind as a wine destination but the team at Sirromet has been challenging that perception with their experimental, quality wines for the past two decades. The winery and cellar door are located in Mount Cotton, approximately 45 minutes south of Brisbane, where you will also find a fine dining restaurant, relaxed al fresco fare at the Tuscan Terrace and luxury glamping accommodation at Sanctuary by Sirromet, all set against breathtaking natural scenery overlooking Moreton Bay.
Wine to try: 2013 Le Sauvage Chardonnay
Cellar door: Open seven days; bookings not required.
850-938 Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton; (07) 3206 2999