From coast to coast, Australia has its fair share of stunning wine regions. Natasha Dragun settles in to taste some of the country’s best grapes – with a twist.
Unique experiences in Victorian wine regions
Explore the Mornington Peninsula in a 1956 Chevrolet
Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is home to some of Australia’s most forward-thinking wineries, not to mention dramatic hotels and artisanal producers. Why not wind back the clock and explore them in style?
D’Luxe’s fleet of classic cars includes a turquoise 1956 Chevrolet Sport Sedan affectionately known as Lois, and then there’s Lucille – a 1957 Chevy Sport Coupe so shiny you can see your reflection in her bodywork. Take in the region’s attractions at a leisurely pace. Stop for lunch at Pt Leo Estate’s applauded restaurant Laura, with a stroll through the alfresco sculpture park before you leave. Your driver will ferry you on to revamped Montalto for a wine flight, before dropping you at Peninsula Hot Springs for a little soak in the facility’s freshly minted thermal offerings.
While most people do it all in a day, we recommend overnighting at Jackalope – book a suite with pool panoramas.
Blend your own wine in the Yarra Valley, VIC
Fancy yourself as a fledgling winemaker? Grab at least three of your best friends and sashay into the Yarra Valley’s Rochford Estate for a wine tasting with a difference. Upon arrival you’ll be handed tasting charts and aroma kits; all the tools you need to win a friendly vino blending competition.
Victoria’s oldest wine region is also home to top distiller Four Pillars Gin (they, too, offer blending masterclasses) and a host of luxe hotels to enjoy when you’ve had your fill of food and wine. Head over to Seville Estate, where the light-filled homestead and villas have been transformed into upscale accommodation.
Prosecco festivities, King Valley, VIC
Dal Zotto Wines first planted prosecco in the King Valley 21 years ago. And the vintners here make it an annual ritual to celebrate the grape at Primavera del Prosecco – La Dolce Vita held in November each year. It is a weekend of prosecco cocktail masterclasses, private wine flights and helicopter joy jaunts.
The latter sees you chopper over some of Victoria’s most postcard-perfect wine country, enveloped by the rivers and mountains that characterise the state’s Alpine National Park – you’ll want to rest your head at Casa Luna, which is like a slice of the Cotswolds. Come back during harvest to pick grapes that will be turned into a bottle of bubbles you can pop the cork on the following year.
Unique wine experience in South Australia
Drive a Ferrari in Adelaide Hills, SA
If you love your car to be as smooth as your wine and as sophisticated as your food, then you’ll be happy to hear Mount Lofty House, Bird in Hand and Hentley Farm have teamed up with Prancing Horse Driving Experiences. The union means that you can now sink into the leather seat of a Ferrari 488 GTB or Lamborghini Huracan and enjoy a high-octane drive across the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley.
Taking in South Australia’s countryside is thirsty work – it’s a good thing your day is punctuated with a five-course lunch at Hentley Farm’s two-hatted restaurant, not to mention stops at Bird in Hand Winery and Applewood distillery. Final stop? Sequoia Lodge at the historic Mount Lofty House.
Western Australia winery with a difference
Margaret River, WA
The best way to make an entrance in Western Australia’s premier wine region is to drop in from above. Your chariot from Perth to the is a Swan River Seaplane. It will whisk you south to the Margaret River for a lavish day of wine tasting and cheese grazing in the sun.
Before you touch down you’ll take a sky-high tour of the region, including a lofty loop over the coast and Sugarloaf Rock. On the ground, wine flights await at two estates, with a long alfresco lunch prepared to showcase the area’s stellar produce: think Olio organic olive oils, Yallingup cheeses and seafood plucked straight from the sea just metres from where you sit. If you can’t bear to leave, head to grand Cape Lodge instead, where your room comes with vineyard views.
Highlights of the Barossa Valley
Cruise around this postcard-perfect patch of South Australia. Meander through charming historic towns, linger at cellar doors, meet the winemakers – then settle in for an indulgent lunch at an award-winning restaurant.
Locations not to miss in the Barossa Valley are the landmark Penfolds’ estate to sip Grange at the cellar door, historic Seppeltsfield Winery, where you can swill a Tawny made the year you were born. The Barossa comes with an abundance of luxurious accommodation, not in the least The Louise, where country-chic rooms sit beside on-site restaurant Appellation, which has three chef’s hats and serves degustations that speak of the region.
New South Wales
Horse ride in the Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is impossibly pretty during the day, but it really shines at sunset, when the last rays of the afternoon cast a fiery orange glow over the vines. While most people take in the spectacle from the closed-off comfort of a car, with Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures you’re given a front-row seat to nature, the wind in your hair as you gallop past some of the region’s most fabled estates.
Jump off halfway and lay out a picnic blanket under a tree, sipping a local chardonnay or shiraz. Your accommodation for the night? Spicers Vineyard Estate, where each of the 12 rooms come with an open fireplace.