Philip Shaw Wines, was established here in 1989, owner Phillip having searched Australia for years to find the best site, and the opportunity to pioneer and champion an emerging wine-growing region appealed. It’s now run by his son Dan, a passionate winemaker who takes pride in competing with his dad to make the best wine. Be sure to taste the Cabernet Franc.
Tamburlaine Wines is a Hunter Valley-based label that source 95 per cent of their fruit from this vineyard in Orange. Covering an area of 92 hectares, it’s the largest vineyard in Orange, 100 per cent bio dynamically managed and certified organic.
Ferment – Orange Wine Centre, is a very funky wine bar run by Simon Forsyth in the town centre. Simon represents most of the wineries in the region so you’ll find most local wines here. Be sure to try the award-winning Carillon Riesling, and a Davis Verduzzo.
Racine Restaurant is an old homestead looking over a sweeping valley crisscrossed with grape vines across to Mt Canobolas. The menu here changes regularly, according to what can be sourced seasonally and locally, delicately presented and delicious. Owners Shaun and Willa Arantz aim to provide the ultimate Orange experience.
The Agrestic Grocer is an organic grocery store and café. This former apple packing shed has been transformed by two couples, recently returned home to Orange after living in the Big Smoke for years, working in the music business. The menu is impressive, making it difficult to choose, but I highly recommend the poached eggs with creamed leeks, mushrooms, double cream brie and truffle oil on wood-fired sourdough.
For more scenic look at the Orange vineyards, take a helicopter flight with Helicruz, which will take you over some magnificent scenery, and you might even manage to buzz a few roos hopping through the vineyards.
D’Aquino Highland Heritage Estate is the oldest winery in Orange, established in 1946, and now run by Rex D’Aquino, third generation manager of this family business. Taste: two styles of Riesling, a German Kabinett and an Australian, both current gold medal winners and a lovely dry Shiraz.
Ross Hill cellar door is another repurposed apple packing shed. James Robson manages the vineyard and winery. His mother, originally from Orange, returned in 1994 and planted 12 hectares of vines, it’s now a successful carbon neutral and sustainable operation. The highlight here is another delicate, fragrant red: Cabernet Franc.
Brangayne Vineyard is named after the catalyst of the opera Tristan and Isolde, the handmaiden who gives Isolde a love potion so she will fall in love with Tristan. Not only is the cellar door another converted apple shed, the vineyard is a converted apple orchard.
De Salis Wines cellar door is the highest, at 1050m above sea level, on the northern slope of Mt Canobolas. The view from the veranda of the cellar door is spectacular. Owners Charlie and Loretta Svenson make all wines using traditional methods. Tasting highlight again, is the Cabernet Franc.
Union Bank Wine Bar is a Heritage-listed building that was once the first bank in Orange. Now run by Nick and Emma Bacon, the menu is an Australian-Asian fusion, everything from salt and pepper tofu to crispy pork belly and chicken schnitzel.
Orange Wine Festival. The 11th annual Orange Wine Festival will run 14-30 October, with a great line up which includes wine tasting Masterclasses, the Wine Show Public Tasting and the Festival Wine & Food Night Market. Two new events will be introduced this year; to kick off, a Wine Festival Launch Party and on the final weekend, jump on the Vino Express which departs from Central Station in Sydney for a weekend of food and wine.