9 Dreamy Australian Wineries Worth A Visit

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9 Dreamy Australian Wineries Worth A Visit

These vineyards go beyond the usual wine tasting menu

Australia’s wineries have elevated wine touring to an art form. Unlike some other prestigious regions around the world, there is a complete lack of snobbery Down Under. There, wineries want you to visit, relax and stay for a meal—in a rustic cellar surrounded by a pretty garden, perhaps, or at a glamorous state-of-the-art space with stellar vineyard views. Whatever the venue, these nine winery restaurants, from Margaret River to McLaren Vale to the Mornington Peninsula, have that X factor that transforms wine tasting and feasting to an experience that oozes The Good Life.—By Susan Gough Henley

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    SKILLOGALEE
    Clare, South Australia

    North of the Barossa Valley, Clare is a pretty region renowned for its Riesling and Shiraz and best explored on the rail trail. There, you'll find Skillogalee, housed in an 1850's Cornish miner’s cottage set amidst expansive cottage gardens. Though the word Skillogalee is Gaelic for "poor man’s soup," these days, you feast on hearty country fare as well as terrific morning and afternoon teas with delicious baked goodies. In summer, sit on the veranda overlooking the vineyards or under the shade of an old olive tree. If you can’t bear to leave, there’s a luxury sandstone house with open fireplace and terrace, plus two cottages.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF SKILLOGALEE
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    MAGILL ESTATE
    Adelaide, South Australia

    Just eight kilometres from the city of Adelaide, Penfolds Magill Estate is one of the country’s most historic wineries. Dine on hand-crafted Blackwood tables in the striking glass-walled restaurant which overlooks historic vineyards and the 1840s Grange cottage built by Christopher and Mary Penfold. And of course, savour it with a Grange, Australia’s most renowned wine, right where visionary winemaker Max Schubert developed the first vintages in the 1950s. The exquisite degustation menu showcases hero ingredients with a subtle Japanese technique. For a more informal experience, enjoy bistro-style dishes at the Magill Estate Kitchen.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGILL ESTATE
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    HENTLEY FARM
    Barossa, South Australia

    Australia’s oldest and most prestigious wine region, Barossa, is an hour-and-a-half drive north of Adelaide. This is the home of big, bold Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 1880s stone stables at Hentley Farm's Cellar Door restaurant is where you enjoy one of two set daily menus built around produce from the farm’s garden and orchards as well as foraged fare and meats from local Barossa farms. Each dish is matched to Hentley Farm’s multi-award-winning wines. Hentley Farm was named the 2015 Australian Winery of the Year by James Halliday, Australia’s foremost wine critic, and is regularly listed as one of South Australia’s top restaurants.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF HENTLEY FARM
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    D'ARENBERG
    McLaren Vale, South Australia

    Just under an hour’s drive south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale is an area of rolling vineyards beside the calm waters of Gulf St. Vincent. Shiraz and Grenache are key varieties. D’Arenberg winery, which celebrates “the art of being different”, is an icon amongst McLaren Vale’s bevy of eccentric winemakers who love to outdo each other with quirky wine names. But there is nothing shoddy about the exquisite food served at d’Arry’s quintessential Aussie-style Verandah restaurant with its views over sheep grazing in the vineyards. You might even order lamb lollipops with a d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz to complete the picture.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF D'ARENBERG
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    POLPERRO WINES
    Morning Peninsula, Victoria

    Just over an hour’s drive southeast of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula offers acres of undulating vines with sweeping blue-water vistas, plus olive groves and orchards, cheese makers, and chocolatiers. Polperro Wines is the region’s hottest winery restaurant. Its dining room, decked out in charcoal and cream with cosy mohair wraps, is the place to enjoy confident preparations of produce from the gardens, seafood from the surrounding waters, and local meats which go pair perfectly with the estate wines. Relax all afternoon on the spacious deck shaded by a row of exquisite Angophora trees and gaze over the vineyards that descend to a wetland pond. You can even curl up in one of the elegant villas and do it all again the next day.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF POLPERRO WINES
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    LEVANTINE HILL
    Yarra Valley, Victoria

    An hour’s drive east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s largest premium wine-growing region focusing on cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The spectacular steeply sloped Levantine Hill, which takes its name from the biblical lands of the Levant, is the most ambitious new winery in the Yarra Valley. Take a seat at the Restaurant Ezard @ Levantine Hill, whose sweeping roof evokes the curve of a wine barrel, and enjoy an exquisite degustation of inspired dishes that blend well with the estate’s encyclopaedic wine varieties. Soon there’ll be truffles on the menu from their very own truffiere. There’s a terrific casual all-day dining menu as well.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF LEVANTINE HILL
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    MOORILLA ESTATE
    Tasmania

    Tasmania is renowned for its cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which also go into producing some of Australia’s finest sparkling wine. Moorilla Estate, just 10 kilometres from Hobart’s CBD in the Derwent Valley is a thriving vineyard and winery that shares space with the iconoclastic Museum of Old and New Art. Come here for a terrific selection of sharing plates at the Wine Bar, which overlooks the working winery, or go more upmarket at the Source Restaurant which offers inventive ‘artistic locavore’ dishes that go perfectly with Moorilla’s eclectic wines and its Moo Brew beers.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MOORILLA ESTATE


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    CULLEN WINES
    Margaret River, Western Australia

    Margaret River is one of Australia’s most beautiful wine regions wedged between tall karri trees and pristine white-sand beaches three hours’ drive south of PerthCullen Wines is a Margaret River pioneer and one of Australia’s leading biodynamic wineries. Take a fascinating vineyard tour to learn all about biodynamic farming before a wine tasting at the down-to-earth cellar. Savor a superb lunch of finely crafted local produce as you relax on the veranda overlooking the vines and wash it down with some of Australia’s finest Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF CULLEN WINES
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    MARGAN ESTATE
    Hunter Valley, New South Wales

    A little over two hours’ drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine growing regions, renowned for its aged Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz. Located in the beautiful Broke Fordwich area, the multi-award-winning Margan Estate Restaurant is set in a striking rammed-earth cellar door. This sustainability pioneer is surrounded by an acre of vegetable and fruit gardens, olive groves and bee hives, free-range chickens and Black Suffolk lambs that supply the seasonal menu. The dishes complement Andrew Margan’s diverse range of exquisite wines. And if you want more, try their fabulous garden-to-plate cooking classes.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGAN ESTATE
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