Orange, New South Wales

Orange is one of Australia’s highest cool-climate wine regions, producing diverse styles from its elevated sites. As well as its vibrant, elegant wines, it’s a hub for fine food, with top dining, produce and events all part of the package.

Average Ratings & Price By Varietal Orange
Varietal Name
Av. Rating Av. Price
Syrah
Other Reds and Blends
Grenache Blends
Sweet
Shiraz Blend
Riesling

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Orange, NSW: high and cool

The Orange wine region of NSW boasts some of the country’s highest-elevation vineyard sites, producing a diverse range of vibrant, cool-climate styles. The wineries in the altitudinous area surrounding Orange are undoubtedly a drawcard, but they’re far from the only attraction in this peaceful place. Orange’s thriving food scene complements the wine perfectly, making it an ideal destination for an indulgent escape – after a winery tour featuring benchmark chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, distinctive reds and blends, the charming town and its award-winning restaurants, bars and produce shops await.

It’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive or 40-minute flight from Sydney to Orange. Canberrans can also reach the region by car, and direct flights are available from Melbourne and Brisbane. The rest of the country can arrive via connecting flights through Sydney.

Orange wine region

The history of wine in Orange

Orange in NSW has a history of fruit-producing spanning almost 200 years – but it’s not known for its oranges. In fact, it’s one of Australia’s leading producers of apples and also cherries. As well as the flourishing orchards of the region, the area’s rich soils, high altitude and cool climate have proven to be perfect for growing wine grapes.

The region’s wine story begins in the 1940s, when an experimental viticulture station was established. But it wasn’t until the first commercial vines were planted at Bloodwood in 1983 that Orange truly made it onto Australia’s wine map. Since then, wine production has taken off in the region, today with almost 60 wineries, many small and family-run.

Climate and soils in Orange

Producers in the Orange region of NSW benefit from a cooler climate and vineyard sites with an altitude of between 600 and 1100 metres of elevation – among the highest in Australia. James Halliday explains it is “dominated by Mount Canobolas, which provides the high-altitude slopes and hence the cool climate; the volcanic basalt from which the soils have evolved, and the spectacular panoramic views which many of the vineyards enjoy”. The weather in Orange is generally mild to moderate, with the temperature seldom rising above 32 degrees Celsius in the height of summer, and any heat offset by cool to very cool nights during the growing season and refreshing breezes in spring.

Leading wine styles in Orange

Orange is renowned for producing refined, delicately flavoured examples of everything from sparkling to reds. From sauvignon blanc to chardonnay and shiraz, discover more about the region’s hero varieties below, which James Halliday says show “elegance and fine-boned intensity across styles”.

wine companion, orange wine

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the region’s foremost white variety and performs remarkably well across varying elevations. Orange’s cool-climate styles are known for their “ultra-fine, slow-developing citrus-and-cashew style”, according to James.

Sauvignon blanc

The conditions in Orange see sauvignon blanc thrive. When grown above 750 metres, it achieves the signature tropical style, with James explaining the tougher soils produce sauvignon blanc with a “herbaceous character that complements the fruit flavours”.

Shiraz

Standing tall as the most widely grown grape variety, shiraz has excelled in Orange in a short amount of time. Equal parts exotic dark berries and lingering spices, generally, Orange produces excellent, elegant shiraz styles.

Cabernet sauvignon and merlot

Mostly appearing alongside popular blending partner merlot, cabernet sauvignon from Orange is typically medium-bodied, with fine tannins and earthy, herbaceous flavours adding complexity to its dark-berried sweetness.

Pinot noir

Orange produces limited quantities of pinot noir, tending towards light-bodied, aromatic styles with cherry fruit flavours.

Things to do in Orange

As well as its wine offering, Orange is a premier destination for food, with top restaurants and cafes, produce shops, farm-gate experiences, and one of the country’s leading food festivals, Orange F.O.O.D Week. Once you’ve completed your wine tour, excellent dining, drinking and accommodation are all available in Orange. 

All quotes and facts in this guide are from James Halliday’s Wine Atlas of Australia.

Facts

Wineries 59
Tasting Notes 2575

Geographic

Latitude 33°15’S
Altitude 600–900 m
Heat Degree Days 1200–1309
Growing Season Rainfall 440 mm
Mean January Temp 19.9°C
Harvest Mid-March to early May