- The award-winning New South Wales wine region of Orange is home to producers of exquisite cool-climate wines. As the highest altitude wine-growing area in the country, Orange wineries sit at elevations of between 600 and 1200 metres above sea level, with sweeping views of the surrounding valleys and undulating hills.
- At about three hours drive from Sydney, the quaint town of Orange is small but mighty, with a plethora of gourmet food and wine produce on offer. And with boutique, luxury accomodation too, this little gem makes for an ideal weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Find out more about Orange and six of the region's top cellar doors below – plus, hear from local winemakers on what they think makes the place so unique.
The Amour winery is a rustic wine experience by appointment only, located in a homely and cosy 120-year-old shearing quarters. Each visit is conducted by winemaker Matt Eades as he expresses the process of each wine and the Old World techniques used to create their elegance. The wine tasting experience is presented next to the winery, overlooking the vineyard. Everything about the winemaking process is in view, including the barrels, vats, bottling line in the winery and the close-planted, hand-tended vines.
The Highland Heritage winery and cellar door is a cool-climate vineyard, located 890 metres above sea level. The fourth-generation owned family business was established in 1985, by the D’Aquino family – who have been winemakers in the Orange region since 1946. Located on 125 hectares, the vineyards are planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, merlot, riesling, shiraz, prosecco and cabernet franc.
Located on the west side of Australia’s agricultural province of New South Wales, is the JS Wine winery and cellar door. About eight kilometres from the centre of Orange and a three hours’ drive from Sydney, the vineyard sits on the side of the ancient volcanic, Mt Canobolas, with an average elevation of 960 metres.
Nashdale Lane Wines
Situated down a quiet, quaint country lane, just under ten minutes drive from the vibrant town centre of Orange, you’ll find Nashdale Lane Wines. The stylish cellar door is open 7 days and offers thoughtful, informed wine tastings complete with cosy wood fire and breathtaking views. The onsite vineyard planted to eight different varietals and unique wine tasting gives guests a 360-degree ‘From Vine to Wine’ experience.
The Printhie cellar door is housed in a 110-year-old apple-packing shed, nestled amongst vineyards and heritage apple orchard on the slopes of Mt Canbolas. Situated at 1000 metres above sea level on what is known as the Orange ‘Snow Line’, the winery is afforded stunning views down to the valley below. Excitingly, the Printhie team is in construction for a new cellar door and restaurant, designed to hero the spectacular natural surrounds – due to open late 2021.
Ross Hill Wines
Visit Australia’s first NCOS certified Carbon Neutral winery for an outstanding wine tasting experience. A Halliday Wine Companion 5 Red Star Winery, the cellar door on Wallace Lane is a modern design interpretation on country style. Simply a beautiful spot to taste exceptional wines surrounded by vines, singing birds and glorious open skies. Before opening for tastings each day, you can also join a personalised tour of the winery.
Amour wines are naturally made, with wild primary and secondary fermentation, no pumps and no filters – resulting in a real purity of expression in the glass. The winter wine experience at Amour is always by the fire pit, enjoying premium Orange wines alongside matched locally produced cheeses and cured meats.
Winemaker Matt Eades says: "Amour is located at 690 metres altitude. It’s a small, premium boutique label produced on small acreage, so everything about the wine production is in full view. I suggest anyone coming to Orange look to the smaller premium producers."
69 Bruce Rd, Orange | amourwines.com.au
The Highland Heritage winery altitude has a profound affect on the resulting wines, producing sophisticated and alluring reds and elegant well-structured whites. The label’s connection with the environment is evident, as you will often see abundant wildlife including kangaroos, ducks, various birds and white cockatoos on the property. And don’t forget to say hello to the D’Aquino’s pet alpacas, who are always hiding in the long grass.
Winemaker Rex D'Aquino says: "Orange is a cool-climate, award-winning wine region with the added benefit of an elevation ranging from 600 metres to just under 1200 metres. Cool temperatures during most of the growing season, coupled with dry autumn conditions, are ideal for grape-growing, allowing us to produce sophisticated, quality wines."
4968 Mitchell Hwy, Orange | highlandheritage.com.au
JS Wine is born from humble beginnings that date back to its French founders, whose approach to growing their own grapes inspires the team to continue hands-on growing methods today. The estate’s natural basalt volcanic soil is afforded ample sunshine by day and the benefit of cooler night temperatures to create the ideal environment for producing outstanding wines – including the multi award-winning Reserve range, featuring shiraz, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc.
Winemaker Phillip Shaw says: "Orange is the highest altitude wine region in Australia. All dominated by Mount Canobolas – which at 1,395 metres, always forms part of the background landscape. Orange’s cool-climate wines continue to gain a reputation for being superb in quality and flavour."
42 Lake Canobolas Rd, Nashdale | jswine.com.au
Along with enjoying high quality, cool-climate wines, guests gain insight to sustainable management of the vineyard – focusing on biodiversity, hand-picked fruit and the brand’s individual approach to producing each of their eight red and white varietals. The tasting menu changes regularly to showcase the vineyard’s unique terroir and nutrient-rich, basalt soil. Expect a comprehensive mix of award-winning wines, mesmerising views and stylish décor – plus luxury in-vine accommodation for wine lovers wanting something extra special.
Owner Nicholas Segger says: "Orange is the only wine region in the world to denote its Geographical Indication (GI) by altitude. To be classified as a GI of Orange, NSW, grapes must be grown at an elevation of 600m or more above sea level. This gives our wines a unique, exceptional cool-climate elegance, refinement and complex characteristics – similar to many of the best wine growing regions across the world."
125 Nashdale Lane, Orange | nashdalelane.com
Printhie has four vineyards across the Orange wine region, each chosen for their site, aspect and elevation. This is key to producing the best quality fruit for each different variety and can be sampled firsthand with a tasting of the Topography wine range at the cellar door. With the highest vineyard elevation in Orange, at 1070 metres above sea level, the winery produces elegant and refined cool-climate varieties – plus highly awarded traditional method sparkling wines, such as those in the Swift Sparkling range.
Winemaker Ed Swift says: "The Orange wine region is the only wine region in Australia (and possibly the world) that is defined by elevation. Printhie has the highest vineyard in Orange and our wines demonstrate how altitude and a cool climate can produce such elegant and refined styles. We’re delighted to have been awarded the best sparkling in NSW three years in a row for our Swift Sparkling range."
208 Nancarrow Lane, Nashdale | printhiewines.com.au
The Cellar Door is open daily for wine tastings from the Ross Hill Pinnacle and Family Series wines. The popular 'Tasting Flight' includes seven delicious food matches – or on Saturdays, opt for a two or three course lunch paired with Ross Hill Wines. Barrel & Larder is the venue’s custom-designed cooking, function and presentation space where revered chefs from around Orange and Australia conduct intimate cooking classes for up to 12 people.
Owner James Robson says: "2020 saw people from across NSW visit Orange for the first time and discover the delicious wines and amazing food scene in this beautiful country town. Two festivals each year highlight Orange’s food and wine scene – Orange F.O.O.D (Food of Orange District) Week in Autumn and the Orange Wine Festival each Spring. Both include popular events such as long lunches and night markets."
134 Wallace Lane, Orange | rosshillwines.com.au
Discover more about Orange in our essential guide.
*This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
Top image credit: JS Wine