A visit to wine country is like stepping into the promised land. Instead of milk and honey there is definitely riesling, cabernet franc and chardonnay grapes in abundance. It is strangely refreshing to be standing in a vineyard where your favourite drop is growing right in front of you.
Now most Sydney siders head to the Hunter Valley with the allure of the added convenience. However Mudgee has far more to offer in the way of wine, food, escapements and colonial charm of the town.
Everything is quite central in Mudgee, the town and vineyards are all neatly packed together, perfect if you remember to bring your bike along or drink a little too much at wine tastings.
While there are so many vineyards our favourite was Robert Stein vineyard and also has a converted restaurant overlooking a pond called PipeClay. You will want to lock in your dinner reservations well in advance, otherwise you will miss out and have to eat at Eltons in town – although its also fantastic. If you run out of time, Roths had a good selection of local wine to try and also had more of a local buzz about the place.
Lowe wines are also worth visiting, especially the restaurant Zin House which has a farm to table mantra. Visitors are welcome to roam around the vineyard sipping wine and picnicking on the lawn. The good wines are not that easy to find but there are a few hidden gems.
Robert Stein Vineyard
Our airbnb, Lewis Road Cottage
It is easiest to find a place in the centre of town so you can get coffee in the morning from the good cafes, or supplies if you plan to have a night in and put your developing chef skills to the test. There are local farmers markets on the odd Saturday with gorgeous organic produce like pomegranates, grapes, fennel, zucchini and of course – cheese. It is best to go early as everything runs out quickly.
There are a few great Airbnb’s out there where you can rent your own cottage for the weekend. If you are after a more rural experience then Turon Gates offers an eco lodge and other clamping options if you want to catch your dinner too. Trout is rumoured to be in the river along with the volcanic soil that brings out the flavours in the wine, amongst other things.