Mudgee

New South Wales

About

The heritage streetscape of Mudgee reflects the region’s rich history with vines and sandstone buildings amid a groomed, green landscape.

The region has an exciting food and wine scene, and a viticultural history dating back to the mid-1800s. The area grows a range of styles, with cabernet sauvignon among its leading wines, as a straight varietal and also in blends with the likes of shiraz and merlot. Other key grape varieties include chardonnay and, more recently, riesling is shining.

The town shares its gold rush beginnings with many other Australian wine regions, but it now attracts visitors for its cellar doors, local produce and heritage tours. At night, away from the pollution and big-city lights, discover the soft diffuse of natural sky luminance and stargaze at the Mudgee Observatory, just a short drive from the town centre. Drivers can expect to arrive in this fertile valley within three and a half hours, northwest of Sydney.


James Halliday on Mudgee


Mudgee has its own particular history. Three German families – Roth, Kurtz and Buchholz – were instrumental in establishing vines from 1858, with the descendants of the first two carrying on viticulture for a century and keeping the tradition alive when all others had abandoned it. The next event of importance was the discovery of gold in 1872. This was nowhere near on the scale of Victoria’s gold rush but was enough to bring people and prosperity to the district until the great bank crash of 1893.

Then it was the turn of the Italian-born and trained surgeon Dr Thomas Fiaschi, who not only served Australia well in war but became head of Sydney Hospital. Although his vineyard and winery continued in production until his death in 1927, and Craigmoor, founded by Adam Roth in 1858, survived until the renaissance of the 1960s, from the 1920s onwards the 55 vineyards that had existed in 1893 slowly dwindled. Even when the region’s renaissance came, it was essentially driven by a few energetic enthusiasts.

Both through the circumstances of relatively small-scale winemaking and the softly beautiful and intimate nature of much of the scenery – the outer rim of hills providing a sense of security, and the smaller hills within the perimeter creating mini-vistas and valleys of their own – Mudgee has always seemed an especially friendly and welcoming place to visitors. Indeed, the Aboriginal people who lived there gave it the name Mudgee, meaning ‘nest in the hills.

It is no-frills red wine country first and foremost, with the staples of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon leading the way; merlot, too, is a long- term resident, along with three Italian varieties – sangiovese, barbera and nebbiolo.

If you live in Sydney, and want to get away from it all, Mudgee is the place to go.

Facts

Wineries 62
Tasting Notes 2254

Geographic

Latitude 32°36’S
Altitude 450–600 m
Heat Degree Days 2050
Growing Season Rainfall 360 mm
Mean January Temp 22.9°C
Harvest Late February to late March