Now is a great time to start thinking about a visit to Orange. With four distinct seasons, 80 vineyards, nearly 40 cellar doors and around 50 cafés and restaurants, the town in the Central West of New South Wales is a bit of dream destination for wine lovers and foodies.
This year the Orange region is celebrating 20 years of being formally recognised as a wine-growing region and accorded formal cool-climate status. In broad terms, that means the wines are admired for their tart fruit flavours and acidity. It also means that Orange is a wine-growing region hitting its stride. And with the Orange Wine Festival just around the corner (October 14-30) it’s a great time to pay a visit.
The festival program features more than 90 satellite wine and food events as well as the six signature festival events. These include Wine Central hosted at Union Bank Wine Bar throughout the festival, offering opportunities to drop in, meet the local winemakers and vignerons, participate in free wine tastings and listen in on public winemaker discussions.
The Orange Wine Show Tasting is the festival opening event on Friday October 14, held at the Agricultural Pavilion at the Orange Showground. This event showcases all the wines that were entered for judging in the more formal Orange Wine Show, including the trophy and medal winners. This public wine tasting event is an opportunity to dive right into the cool-climate wine experience of Orange, compare notes against the judges, attend masterclasses and enjoy live entertainment.
The Wine & Food Night Market on Friday October 21 is always a popular event, held in a local park under starry skies. More than 60 wine and food stalls showcase the very best of the region; it’s the perfect taster to start a weekend festival experience.
New for this year is the Vino Express, an all-inclusive packaged weekend departing Sydney Central on Friday October 28, and including return train tickets, two nights’ accommodation, behind-the-scenes wine tastings, local fine dining and participation in the Wine in the Vines event. Cost is $850 per person, twin share.
Outside of the festival dates, Visit Orange are also offering a Wine Lovers Weekend Away package deal. For $499 you get $1,000 worth of value including two nights at De Russie Boutique Hotel, a full country breakfast at Byng Street Local Store, and a welcome hamper of regional goodies from Completely Hampered (offer valid before November 21).
Orange Wine Festival runs Oct 14-30 in Orange, NSW. For details visit orangewinefestival.com.au.