The Yarra Valley, Barossa, and Margaret River. There’s a reason these regions have a huge following, with the history, beauty, and location to draw wine lovers to their cellar doors in droves year in and year out. But what this brand power can also mean is long tasting table lines, and depending on when you visit, less one-on-one time to learn about the wines. Without detracting from the deserved attention of superstar regions such as these, there are so many other places around Australia just waiting to be discovered. Get off the beaten path with the three little gems ahead.
Victoria is one state brimming with little gems to uncover among its more than 20 wine regions. One in-the-know favourite is Henty in Victoria’s southwest, which you might be surprised to learn is Australia’s coldest inland wine region, with a climate comparable to Burgundy in France. This environment, of course, means exceptional cool-climate wines, described by James Halliday as having “quite marvellous intensity, elegance and finesse”. It’s also a pretty place, with a hilly landscape that remains lush and green for much of the year. Adding to its appeal, you can make your way to Henty via Australia’s famous coastal highway, the Great Ocean Road, or follow the inland route which has equally exciting experiences.
- What to expect: small, family-run wineries and fine sparklings, rieslings, and pinot noirs.
It’s under an hour from Adelaide, but most visitors drive right on by to destinations like the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. That’s a crying shame, as Langhorne Creek is a stellar wine region with historic cellar doors pouring rich red wines. The region’s wine grapes are of such high quality, in fact, that you’ll find some recognisable labels from places like the Barossa are actually made with Langhorne Creek fruit. James Halliday recognised the talent of Langhorne Creek when he awarded Bleasdale winemaker Paul Hotker his Winemaker of the Year back in 2018, and more recently, Bleasdale scooped up the coveted Jimmy Watson trophy for Australia’s Best Young Red. Those are just some examples of the award-winning nature of the region, with others such as Lake Breeze also with a trophy cabinet full of awards. You don’t need to skip the SA favourites, but this underrated region is well worth adding to the mix.
- What to expect: welcoming wineries and luscious wines, with a focus on flavoursome reds.
While technically part of the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, Broke Fordwich has a flavour all of its own. And being a trail a little way from the heart of the action in Pokolbin, this area can sometimes get overlooked. Tucked away in a scenic valley with sweeping vines and mountainous views, getting off the well-worn path to this beautiful corner of the Hunter will reward you with inviting cellar doors, historic villages, World Heritage-listed wilderness, and so much more. The wineries of Broke Fordwich offer the traditional varieties of shiraz, semillon, and chardonnay, but also many less-common styles, providing a spectrum of wines to try.
- What to expect: a mix of high-quality small and large wineries in a secluded corner of the Hunter.