By Jade Johnston
You have probably heard that Australia is a great place for wine lovers.
You may have even heard of some of the great wine regions here, such as the Hunter and the Barossa. But have you heard of Mildura? Or Coonawarra? Or the area around Canberra? Probably not…. but they are definitely worth a visit.
Lesser Known Australian Wine Regions
During our two week road trip through Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales with our spaceship camper van, we made sure to pull into any vineyard advertising a cellar door. And our poor designated driver made do with the antics of his three, increasingly more intoxicated, passengers as well.
Coonawarra – Famous For Cabernet Sauvignon
Our first wine region on the road trip was Coonawarra. You will pass through this region if you are planning to drive the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide.
This is a relatively small region, about 375 kilometers from Adelaide, the region is famous for it’s red wines – particularly it’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
As we were strapped for time, and didn’t want to navigate Adelaide in the dark, we only had time to visit three vineyards. We visited The Menzies, Wynn, and Rymill. These cellar doors were recommended to us by the ladies at The Menzies as the best to visit if you are short on time.
Mildura – Where Chardonnay Rules
Mildura was our planned rest stop between Broken Hill and Melbourne. We had read that it was a nice riverside community, but we hadn’t realised it was also a great wine region. When we checked into our cabin, the receptionist gave us a map of the cellar doors in the area, and we quickly formulated our attack plan for the next day.
Even though Chardonnay is the dominate variety in the region, they still also produce an astonishingly wide variety of other wines. I was particularly impressed by the Tempranillo at Chateau Mildura and the Pink Contessa Rose at Oak Valley – and I usually don’t even bother to taste Rose’s, but this one really impressed.
Even though I am not a fan of big bold Shiraz’s, my travel partners did thoroughly enjoy many of them at the Chateau Mildura cellar door.
But I think our favourite cellar door of the day was Trentham. The beautiful grounds are a joy to wander around, and the land goes right up to the river. They also serve great cheese and antipasta platters, and the sheer amount of wines on offer for tastings was dizzying! If you can’t find something you like at Trentham, then you should probably just give up on wine all together.
You can learn more about the Mildura wine region at their website.
Canberra – Home To Stunning Pinot Noir
The last thing I would have thought that Canberra would be famous for is wine. The city has a reputation for being dull, and most travellers avoid it. But by doing so, they miss out on some great Pinot Noir producing cellar doors.
In fact, there are 33 cellar doors within 35 minutes driving of Canberra.
Daniel and I actually had a fantastic time in Canberra (stay tuned for our city guide coming soon), and as we were leaving to drive to Sydney in our spaceship camper van we were surprised to see signs for vineyards. Since we can’t resist a wine tasting opportunity, but didn’t have much time, we chose one to pull into.
One variety that does very well in this region is Pinot Noir. So if you are a Pinot fanatic like me, then don’t miss the Camberra cellar doors!
You can learn more about the cellar doors around Canberra at their website.
Despite Australia being famous for the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, and Margarete River, we actually seemed to enjoy the lesser known regions better. Especially when you look at our purchases! We definitely bought more wine from the smaller regions than from the world famous ones. And what better way to enjoy with a cheese and cracker picnic, than with a good bottle of wine!
This post was made possible by our friends at spaceship campervan rentals.