Category Archives for "Regions"

Mudgee – Australian Wine Region

With Australia’s diverse climate, we are lucky enough to have wineries and grape growing regions spotted all over the place.

Big names like the Barossa, the Hunter Valley, and Margaret River may spring to mind when you think about Australian wines, but this week we are off to check out the Mudgee Wine Region. 

History of Mudgee

Mudgee is an Aboriginal word meaning “Nest in the Hills.”

The Mudgee area is surrounded by small hills, it’s easy to see how it earned its name and is the second oldest settlement west of the Blue Mountains after Bathurst, discovered in 1821.

Steeped in winemaking traditions that stretch back to 1858, Mudgee is known for full-bodied red varieties and award-winning chardonnay.  

Where is Mudgee?

Mudgee is a small country town approx. 4 hours drive west of Sydney in New South Wales.

It’s nestled in surrounding hills and has been a playground for small-scale winemakers since the 1850s.

Although in the last few decades this humble wine region has turned the heads of both Australian and international wine lovers alike.   

Mudgee Wine Region is on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, unlike its more famous cousin the Hunter Valley.

It’s interesting to point out that evern though these two wine regions are relatively close by, the difference in the climate and landscape is enough to see Mudgee going to harvest around four weeks after the Hunter. 

Mudgee Wines

Mudgee produces predominately red wine varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Shiraz makes up the highest percentage of wine produced here, at 22%. If white wine is a little more to your taste, Mudgee produces popular Chardonnay and Semillion varieties as well. 

While chardonnay and shiraz seem to be the front runners in the Mudgee wine game, family-owned vineyards such as Burrundulla branching out into Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Merlot.

They have also been experimenting with Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Petit Verdot.

In the last 10 or 15 years, Mudgee has started to capitalise on the success of its local wineries by ramping up the access given to the wine-loving tourists.  

Mudgee Explorer Tours offers group accommodation and winery day tours that cover the majority of the Mudgee Wine Region.  

Blue Wren Wines has a designating tasting room for you to sip away your Sunday afternoon with friends. 

Short Sheep Micro Micro-winery will give outsiders an inside look at handcrafted winemaking at its most pure. Sample their signature Syrah while you’re there.  

The Mudgee wine region is home to over 35 Cellar Doors, which showcase the local winemaking talent. With all those choices, you’re sure to find something that suits your palette.

If you’re looking for a wine region that has all the goods, with none of the crowds, then Mudgee might just be the spot. 

Yarra Valley Wine Region

6 Things to Do When Visiting the Yarra Valley

There’s no denying the great appeal the Yarra Valley has to the avid wine enthusiast, and with over 3 million visitors every year, we totally understand why.

The first vines in the region were planted in 1838, making it Victoria’s first wine growing district.

Today, there are approximately 160 operating vineyards which produce wine from over 6200 acres under vine.

With amazing and varied expressions of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the most planted and highly regarded varieties of the region.

Truth is however, there’s so much to discover in this region beyond wine, and with only 51km’s to travel from the Melbourne CBD, it makes for a great day-trip or long weekend.

The landscape is open, lush and green, with sweeping mountain range and valley views. The fact you can take home a few bottles of your favourite Pinot is really just an added bonus, right?

So let’s explore our list of 6 Things to do when visiting the Yarra Valley


1. Visit a Yarra Valley Cellar Door, Brewery or Distillery

This obviously tops our list of things to do. However, the great thing about a region as vast as the Yarra Valley is that you can visit some not-so-obvious cellar doors when in the area. 

There’s something to suit everyone, from the smaller, hidden-away boutique wineries like Pimpernel Vineyards, to the more well-known and flashy big-name producers such as Domaine Chandon.

One thing is for sure, the hospitality you experience and the calibre of the wines are second to none.

Of course, for the non-wine drinker amongst us, you can mix things up by visiting Napoleone Brewery & Ciderhouse or the one and only Four Pillars distillery for expertly crafted gins.


2. Dine in Style

There’s no better way to experience the best wines in the state, than with the best local produce, in a stylish world-class setting. 

Taking cues from the famous foodie scene of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is home to some of the most sophisticated and indulgent food and wine experiences in the country.

Treat yourself to award-winning meals at Oakridge Estate or Ezard at Levantine Hill and celebrate the amazingly fresh seasonal produce, masterfully put together by highly acclaimed chefs. 


3. Picnic at a Winery

If fine dining isn’t your thing, why not pack a picnic basket and rug, so you can enjoy the great outdoors with great local wines. 

Some wineries often have picnic packs for hire which also include local cheeses and other delightful snacks so you don’t have to bring your own.

When you run out of wine, the cellar door is only a few steps away so you can replenish your supply.


4. See Wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary

Get up close and personal with iconic Australian wildlife and share in some unforgettable moments with Kangaroos, Koalas, Platypus, Dingos, Wombats and Emus. 

A great, interactive way to learn about the past and future of these amazing animals. An unmissable experience for all ages, and all just one hour from Melbourne.


5. Get Amongst Nature With Trees Adventure

Zip through the trees with the greatest of ease at Trees Adventure, an eco-adventure site in the heart of Yarra Valley’s Belgrave.

Catch a rare glimpse of native trees, some over 150 years old while flying by on one of 15 flying foxes, balancing bridges and tight-ropes.

Courses are available for all skill levels and ages. An exciting opportunity to explore your adventurous side awaits!


6. Puffing Billy Railway

One of the most popular and well-preserved steam railways anywhere in the world.

Puffing Billy has been delighting its passengers with journeys through the mountainous lush forests of the Dandenong Ranges for generations.

Dangle your legs from the open-sided carriages and feel the wind in your hair as you travel on the 24km track, still in its original form. The train also features first-class luxury dining carriages for something a little more special.


Want to make your next trip to the Yarra Valley one to remember? Check out these Yarra Valley tours with Wine Compass

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit the McLaren Vale

The Barossa Valley is typically proclaimed the wine capital of South Australia, but what about its southern counterpart, McLaren Vale?

The McLaren Vale wine region has been solidly gaining ground throughout Australia and internationally as SA’s premier wine region, and it’s not hard to see why.

Home to some of oldest grape vines in the world and showcasing over 80 cellar doors, you’ll find an abundance of wine, food and culinary experiences here, nestled amongst sensational natural beauty with stunning beaches on one side and the Mount Lofty Ranges on the other. 

We’re suckers for a good McLaren Vale Shiraz, but it’s more than just world-class reds that draw us to this region.

Here are our top four reasons why you should consider a visit to the McLaren Vale wine region, giving you a great excuse to stock up your wine collection along the way. 

1. Wine Tasting at McLaren Vale’s cellar doors

With over 80 cellar doors and vineyards in the McLaren Vale wine region, the choices truly seem endless.

While you’ll never be able to visit them all, selecting a handful of cellar doors to stopover over a long, lazy weekend in the region is the perfect way to sample different wines and get a taste of what McLaren Vale has to offer.

The cellar doors range from expansive powerhouses like d’Arenberg, Hardy’s Tintara and Wirra Wirra, to the charming and quaint like Dog Ridge Wines, Samuels Gorge and Alpha Box & Dice.

Visit a blend of both and savour a tasting platter while taking in the beautiful surrounds and let the good times roll!

McLaren Vale Wine Region

2. Hit the Shiraz Trail

The Shiraz Trail offers up eight kilometres of picturesque scenery to enjoy while walking or cycling between some of the regions signature wineries.

The trail stretches past the old railway line that joins McLaren Vale with nearby Willunga, and then continues on for another 30 kilometres as the Coast to Vines Rail Trail for those who want to venture out further.

The Shiraz Trail is flat and scenic, making it an easy ride or stroll and offers a great way to take in the local area. Bikes can be hired from Onya Bikes or Oxygen Cycles on McLaren Vale’s main road. 

3. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of McLaren Vale’s restaurants

Like the cellar doors, the dining options at McLaren Vale are plentiful. One of the best things about this region is that there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer to eat wood oven pizza in a relaxed setting or sample five-star cuisine in award-winning dining rooms.

For a high-end experience, try Maxwell’s, Coriole Winery or Penny’s Hill and for something a little hipper and more rustic, head to Pizzateca, The Currant Shed or Russel’s Pizza.

4. Check out the beaches

It’s not just the wine that draws visitors from across the globe to McLaren Vale.

The region is also the gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula, with easy access to a stretch of six of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf of St Vincent, including Port Noarlunga, Sellicks Beach, Aldinga and Maslin Beach (where clothing is optional).

Rolling hills and dramatic cliff faces meet powder white sands and pristine waters, where fishing, surfing and diving are all popular activities for locals and tourists alike.


McLaren Vale is only a 45-minute drive from Adelaide, with a wide range of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets.

Driving is the best way to see the area, but there’s also plenty of operators who offer wine tours, chauffeured services and day tours from the city.

There’s so much to see and do in this stunning part of the world, making McLaren Vale a must-see for any wine, food or nature lover.