A Weekender's Guide to Mudgee
Hop between cellar doors, then sleep among the vines.
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With more than 150 years of winemaking history, the Mudgee region is a well-known weekend destination for wine lovers exploring New South Wales. Sheltered in the Cudgegong River Valley and surrounded by fertile farm land, it's the third largest grape-producing area in the state. The warm, temperate climate is ideal for varieties like tempranillo and garnacha. And many of the varieties you'd find in the Hunter Valley are also on offer here.
Whether you're taking a road trip from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney, we've partnered with Destination NSW to bring you a guide to spending 48 hours in the wine region, from which vineyards and restaurants you should visit to the boutique accommodation on offer in the region. Start planning your road trip now.
Please stay up to date with the latest NSW Government health advice regarding COVID-19.
Thanks to powerful promotion of local produce, Mudgee specialises in high-quality eateries. Market Street Cafe is one of them. The large, sunny space feels like a French country kitchen and the food follows suit — classic dishes, cooked with premium ingredients. For dinner, there's Pipeclay Pumphouse. It's part of the Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard, one of Mudgee's best-known winemakers. Opened in October 2013, the fine diner presents a range of seven- and ten-course degustations and you can add on matching wines from the Robert Stein range, or from Mudgee vineyards more broadly. Meanwhile, good coffee can be found at cute, French-influenced, courtyard cafe Alby + Esthers.
Start your wine tasting experience at Lowe Wines. Headed by sixth-generation Mudgee man and intelligent farming advocate David Lowe, it's home to expansive organic, biodynamic vineyards, rescued donkeys and a recycled 'chook palace'. Take it all in on a self-guided walking tour. Next, head to one (or more) of several wineries in the area specialising in European varieties. Mudgee's warm, temperate climate is ideal for them. Vinifera is known for its excellent Spanish-inspired drops and was one of the first wineries in Australia to experiment with tempranillo. Then, at Di Lusso, you'll find a focus on Italian wines and food, and at Mansfield, you'll discover unusual Portuguese-style drops. There are another 30 or so wineries to visit, including slick, big-name operations like Robert Oatley and smaller, fifth-generation winemakers Gilbert Family Wines, so be sure to book into your favourites in advance to secure tasting sessions before you travel.
When you want to drink somewhere other than at a vineyard, head to Roth's. It's the oldest wine bar in New South Wales, having set up as an illicit operation in the 1920s. And the 80-percent local wine list gives you the chance to sample anything you might have missed on your tasting adventures. Just up the road, the Mudgee Brewing Company is where to sample locally made ales and, when up and running again, hear local live music. If shopping is more your thing, check out the diverse range of native products and foods at the cafe and shop by Indigiearth.
For those looking for some outdoor adventuring, there's the western fringe of the Wollemi National Park to explore, including the incredible scenery of Dunns Swamp, which forms the head of the Cudgegong River, and has plenty of opportunities for cycling, walking and kayaking.
One of the most beautiful (albeit pricey) options for sleeping is Evanslea. The estate sprawls across nine acres on the Cudgegong riverfront, yet it's within walking distance to town. Accommodation takes the form of five-star luxury spa cottages, and there's a communal pool and a tennis court. Here's the clincher: private wine tours in a vintage Valiant can be organised on request. Alternatively, you can stay at luxury glamping site Sierra Escape, which is only 20 minutes' drive from the centre of Mudgee, but feels a million miles from anything as it's surrounded by rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. Two-person tents start at $440 per night. Or, for a more architectural experience, there's The Black Shed. The newly built shed is found five kilometres from Mudgee, set within a working vineyard with free-roaming chooks and farm dogs.
Now that interstate border restrictions have started to ease, start planning a trip to this picturesque wine region in NSW. For more details, visit Destination NSW's website.
Top image: Lowe Wines, Destination NSW
Published on November 26, 2020 by Jasmine Crittenden