New South Wales Wine Regions

The Hunter Valley

Catherine Vale Winery in the Hunter Valley
Catherine Vale Winery in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is around a 2 hour drive north of Sydney. It is accepted as the first and most successful wine growing region in Australia with vines being planted as early as 1825. A large area, it produces specialized wines from land nestled in mountain foothills. Generally the soils are black because they are close to the river systems. The climate is temperate and most of the rainfall occurs in January and April. Cloud cover and very slight sea breezes make this area ideal for gently coaxing the grapes to maximum ripeness and sweetness. At this time, the Hunter’s primary reputation is with white wines and softer red wines.

The Orange Region

Canobolas Smith Winery in the Orange region
Canobolas Smith Winery at Orange

Long established as a cold climate orchard area, vines were first planted commercially in the 1980’s near the town of Orange. The temperatures of Orange (about 3 hours drive west of Sydney) vary from summers in the high 30oC (90o F) range to frosts and snow in the winter, so the first of the grapes to appear on the vines are warmly greeted after the cold winter hibernation. Continued cool nights during the growing season result in slow ripening and with the area’s elevation meaning that watering is restricted, the grapes mature slowly and sweetly. Nearby Mount Canobolas has the ideal soil type of red brown clay with basalt. This area is perfect for cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


South Australia

Western Australia


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