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Vineyard
Photograph: Supplied/Hoosegg

The best wineries in Orange

Where to sip on cool-climate wines and take in the pretty pastoral scenery

By Divya Venkataraman
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The country town of Orange is filled with picture-perfect vineyards. Its wine scene is fledgling compared to stalwarts like the Hunter Valley and Mudgee, but these young guns can pack a punch. The area's cool climate and varying altitudes have attracted the attention of classically trained viticulture fiends, who are putting their knowledge gleaned in regions like northern Italy and Champagne to the test in the climes of country NSW.

Unlike some other regions, Orange doesn't pride itself on just one type of grape variety, but is remarkable for being able to produce a full-bodied shiraz as well as a light, crisp sparkling within the same square radius of nearby volcano, Mt Canobolas. We've rounded up the stars of Orange's flourishing wine scene for you – here are the ones to add to your hit list. 

Recommended: The ultimate guide to Orange.

Two men talking over wine
Photograph: Destination NSW

Printhie Wines

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With its giant barnyard-style doors and exposed beams strung with fairy lights, there's a sense of the ethereal when you walk into Nashdale's Printhie Wines. Helmed by the Swift brothers, who've gleaned the art of wine-making in the Champagne houses of southern France, this relatively new winery has been making a splash in the sparkling scene. Try bubbly specialities like a cool, crip cuveé, to a rosé blend, and finally, the ultimate sparkling wine, the blanc de blancs made exclusively from chardonnay grapes. In the cooler months, warm up around with a stroll around the lakefront beside the cellar door, or sit by the fire pit and gaze out over the surrounding hills.   

Man standing in a vineyard in sun
Photograph: Hoosegg

Hoosegg

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Head to the Tuscan villa-like home of esteemed wine-maker Philip Shaw for an appointment-only tasting of wines from his fresh, youthful new label Hoosegg. The winery won numerous industry accolades in its first two years, and you'll find it hard to leave without at least one cheekily labelled bottle. Hoosegg's wines – the Seven Heaven chardonnay and the Mountain Jade cabernet merlot in particular – are something special, and to swill them in the late afternoon sun as it filters through the grand arch windows seems only deserving. Afterwards, if you're lucky, wander through the Koomooloo vineyards surrounding his home on the heels of Lucca, his regal dog.

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Gazebo with people standing inside
Photograph: Destination NSW

Ross Hill Wines

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With cherry orchards stretching out over one end of an expansive property and rows of wine grapes on the other, Ross Hill's cellar door on the outskirts of Orange is a great starting point to understand the character of the wine region. With its pretty, light-filled cellar door and ample outdoor seating (rosé is, of course, best drunk in the sun) Ross Hill is run by James Robson and his wife, Chrissy, who took over the family business in 2006. 

Wine grapes
Photograph: Supplied

De Salis Wines

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Now that's a good angle. Situated at 1050 metres above sea level, halfway up the northern slope of a volcano, De Salis Wines has to be one of the best vantage points to take in the orchards and vineyard rows of central-west New South Wales. The long-standing winery prides itself on minimal intervention wines that are designed not be cookie-cutter imprints of vintages of years past, but speak to the season and time in which they were grown, plucked and produced. Their wines are sourced from the aptly named nearby Lofty Vineyard. 

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Painting and lights
Photograph: Divya Venkataraman

Ferment

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Whether you're short of time on your viticultural tour of Orange or you've made a last-minute decision to finally buy that cab merlot vintage you loved on a cellar door visit, Ferment is the place to go.  Situated in the heart of Orange's town in an old heritage building, Ferment isn't a winery so much as an aggregation of many of the region's finest wines – but it's also the only place you can get your hands on local favourites like Cumulus Wines and Cook's Lot. Settle in for a pre-dinner session in the Byng Street tasting room, where a platter decked out with muscatel grapes on the vine, hard and soft cheeses and locally made crackers acts as a perfect foil to the far-reaching range of wines. 

People sitting around patio
Photograph: Supplied/Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge

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With its trellis-decked outdoor spaces and exceptional variety of wines that speak to the particular terroir of the region, the cellar door at Swinging Bridge has quickly become an Orange institution. Winemaker Tom Ward created Orange's first Swinging Bridge vintage in 2009 – the family's winemaking business originally began in Cowindra in the '90s, which is generally a hotter, less favourable area for wine grapes to flourish – and hasn't looked back since. Nab an outdoor table if you can for a tasting session, and make sure you don't leave without trying the Tempinot, the cellar door's own combination of pinot noir and tempranillo grape varieties, which wash together in a smooth, aromatic blend.

Want to stay in the city?

Easy hikes in Sydney
Photograph: Destination NSW

The best easy day hikes near Sydney

Sport and fitness Walks

In the national parks that sit on the city’s fringes, you'll find several wonderful hikes that are perfect for those who prefer a relaxed amble to a major expedition. Lace-up those boots, grab a fistful of trail mix, top-up your water bottle and head out on one of these easy day hikes near Sydney. 

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