2 days in Orange? Too little time for this beautiful Australian wine region!

The vineyard view at Nashdale Lane, Orange NSW Australia

2 days in Orange? Too little time for this beautiful Australian wine region!

ORANGE

The first thing that comes to mind?  The color, the fruit….

Then maybe you remember something about Prince William of Orange?

There were actually a few Prince William of Oranges.  This city in New South Wales Australia was named after one of them.

We spent just 2 days exploring the Orange Wine Region that surrounds the city last October, while we were in Australia for the Wine Media Conference.  This excursion was sponsored by Orange 360, in partnership with the Orange City Council.

Michael and I drove from the Hunter Valley to Orange, as we had rented a car for our entire Australian stay.  It’s a shorter drive if you are coming from Sydney, a mere 3 ½ hours and through the beautiful scenery of the Blue Mountains.

Our First stop the Village of Millthorpe

Millthorpe

Millthorpe is a historic village within the Orange Wine Region.  It’s a charming town, filled with shops. The 19th-century buildings remain largely unchanged.   We passed the Grand Western lodge the two-story building wrapped with a veranda that was built in 1901.  We stepped into the Millthrope Corner store & café and ordered sandwiches and a coffee for me.  Then we wandered through the sleepy town down Pym Street past it’s shops to the historic train station.

We caught up with our group at the Angullong Cellar door.

This cellar door is in a historic stable building made of bluestone.

We wandered into the garden behind the tasting room, where we were poured a Sparkling wine and gathered for our official Welcome to Country ceremony.

The Wiradjuri

The traditional landowners of this region are the Wiradjuri people.  The name means “People of the three rivers”, those rivers being the Lacklan, Macquarie and Murrumbidgee.  We crossed the Macquarie as we came into Wellington on our drive here.

Michael Newman offered us a traditional “Welcome to Country” in the native Wiradjuri tongue.  Reminding us to respect and honor the land and all things living and growing.

Wiradjuri dancers then performed a series of traditional dances to cleanse our spirits and tell us about their land.

As wines were poured we tasted bites of Emu with Warrigal Pesto on Wombok, Emu Kofta w/smoke bush tucka dressing & Johnny Cakes, Crocodile with Lemon Myrtle Sweet Chili Sauce, and Kangaroo screwers with bush tomato relish, prepared by Indigenous Cultural Adventures and Gerald Power.  Food from the land and of the people.  This made for a warm welcome to the region.

Finally, Ben Crossing spoke to us about the wines.  Ben is the General Manager for the family business his brother James manages the vineyard which sits at the edge of the Orange region above ancient limestone caves.  If you are a wine lover with a bit of knowledge about soil, I’m better your ears just perked up.  Vineyards on limestone soil are prized in the wine world.  We tasted through the wines and finished with cheese biscuits baked by Ben’s mother, just for us.

What to do when you visit!

While they don’t do this sort of thing everyday, you can contact them to do a seated tasting at this enchanting cellar door. 

You should also look to learning about the Indigenous Cultures of the region and I recommend emu!

Angullong Cellar door

Feeling fully welcomed to this beautiful region, we set off to our provided accommodations for the night.

Nashdale Lane

Nashdale Lane‘s cellar door is located on their vineyard which sits just outside Orange.

As we pulled up Nick and Tanya were waiting for us in front of the cellar door. Before settling into our Glamping Tent, we spent some time with them in the tasting room learning a bit about them, the vineyard and their wines which range from Riesling to Shiraz.

They are listed as a 5 star winery by the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion.

Glamping at Nashdale Lane

We then headed to our luxury glamping tent on the vineyard.

Outfitted with a four-poster bed with netting, a wood stove, a bathroom complete with shower, a kitchen-living room dining space, we were beautifully set up to be completely comfortable.

The view of the vineyard can’t be beaten.

What to do when you visit!

Visit their site to schedule a booking, to join them at the cellar door to taste through 6 of their wines.  Currently for safety reasons (Sept 2020) they allow just 7 groups at a time in order to abide by social distancing rules.
Leave some time to snap some photos of this beautiful vineyard.

Nashdale Lane cellar door

Before our evening/morning of glamping, we still had dinner to fit in.  We joined the gang at…

Rowlee

Nicole and James met us at the Rowlee cellar door on the vineyard and we sipped on their Pinot Gris, Riesling and Rose as we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.

After a stroll of the grounds and some fascinating conversation about some of the scientific and technological advances they were making that would influence Australian and world winemaking, we took in sunset and then made our way inside for an elegant family-style meal, paired with some extraordinary wines and the stories behind them.

What to do when you visit!

They have a wide range of experiences you can book here.  From a simple wine tasting that you can add cheese or chocolate to picnic hampers with wine that you can takeaway, to a two-night getaway staying in their private guest house.  While we had a wonderful evening here, it would be a perfect spot to spend a couple of days. They are open daily.

Rowlee cellar door

Sated and happy, we returned to our Glamping at Nashdale Lane. The luxurious bed had separate heat controls for each side which made both Michael and I happy.

Morning saw me on the front deck looking out over the vineyard with a French press of coffee and some comfy provided slippers.  This is Glamping at its finest.  We felt far away from the rest of the world, with all the comforts of home.

What to do when you visit!

By all means Glamp!  There are only 2 tent/cabins, so plan ahead.  You won’t regret this.  It is the perfect opportunity to disconnect and decompress.  Put the electronic gadgets away.  You will find the space outfitted with books and games.

Really all you need is the view and some quiet…oh and maybe some wine.

Glamping at Nashdale Lane

Now it was time to pack up and head out for breakfast at…

Agrestic Grocer

The Agrestic Grocer is more than a restaurant.  This straw-bale/brick building is all about the local area and houses Badlands Brewery and The Second Mouse cheese company as well as a shop for local food and art.  They often do music in the evenings.

We were here for Breakfast and enjoyed freshly squeezed juice, amazing coffee and delicious locally grown food for breakfast.

What to do when you are here!

Come hungry!  And yes, they are open!  Head to the website and book ahead for Breakfast, which they serve from 8:30-11:30 or Lunch which is served from 12:00 to 3:00.

The Grocer is open 8:30-5:30 through the week and 8:30 to 4:00 on the weekends.

The Agrestic Grocer

From here, we were out for a bird’s eye view of the region from the top of…

Mt. Canobolas

Mt. Canobolas is an ancient volcano standing over 4,500 feet (1395 meters) above sea level.

It’s topped with transmission towers and has a series of walking trails.

From here you can see over the entire Orange region and to the Blue Mountains to the south east.

What to do when you are here!

Visit the lookout and then leave a bit of time for a hike!  There several walks to do.  But do check out their site ahead of time to check for alerts. 

Mt. Canobolas National Park

Leaving the Mountain we drove to our lunch tasting at…

Philip Shaw

Philip Shaw Winemaker, Nadja Wallington, met us to tell us about the vineyards and the wines.

We enjoyed their Winemaker Pairing with small bites and an amazing lunch, followed by a vertical of Chardonnays. Sitting at Nadja’s elbow, I soaked up so much information on the region that she graciously shared.  She grew up working in her families vineyard Wallington Wines in Canowindra, southwest of Orange.

What to do when you are here!

Currently you can book ahead for their Koomooloo Taste & Plate, pairing 4 of their wines with cheese and charcuterie.  Check their site to see what other experiences they are offering.  As we move out of the pandemic they will add back many of their additional experiences and tastings.  They are open 7 days a week, but their Saturdays book out quickly!

Philip Shaw

We left unwillingly to head to check in to our new abode for the evening…

Byng Street Boutique Hotel

From the front the Byng Street Boutique Hotel is quaint and historic in the city of Orange.

As you drive in you are greeted by a more modern stylish design in the newer section of the hotel that sits off the street.  This is a luxury Boutique.

I was almost sad to miss the evening wine happy hour.  Luckily we were able to enjoy the complimentary breakfast the following morning.

What to do when you are here!

To start with you will need to determine if you want to stay in the elegant historic Heritage Wing or in the Modern Wing.  Both are beautiful.  Allow time to stroll through Orange as well as time to curl up in your beautiful room with a book and a cup of tea.  You may never want to leave.  But, come morning, you will need to so you can enjoy the delicious breakfast in the beautiful Yallungah Dining Room.

Byng Street Boutique Hotel

Bags dropped our driver for the group picked us up and ushered us off for an afternoon of bubbles at…

Printhie Wines and their “Swift” label for Sparkling Wines

Their cellar door at this Printhie Wines site is in “The Packing Shed”.  It is an old apple packing shed.

This region has been known for apple orchards for a long time.

Ed Swift and winemaker Drew Tuckwell met us with sparkling wines that are under the brand “Swift” appropriately and with oysters in abundance!  They talked us through the wines.

Their Swift Cuvee has been listed in the “Best of the Best” sparkling wine category in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion.

What to do when you are here!

You can book a tasting at “The Packing Shed” . They have a couple of options so visit their site to check those out. 

Hours are longer on Weekends right now, from 11:00 to 5:00.  Weekdays are just 3:00-5:00. 

Do read over their Covid conditions on their site.  They are looking to keep the experience safe for everyone.

Printhie Wines

As the sun began to set over the vineyard we were off to our final stop…

Ross Hill Wines

Ross Hill Wines Winemaker Luke Steele and his wife met us.  We toured the winery and then settled in for a cooking class and dinner with Chef Michael Manners, paired with Ross Hill Wines.  After another delicious and educational meal we stolled back out to a gorgeous cloud filled moonlit sky.

What to do when you are here!

Book a tasting and enjoy the day outside if it’s spring!  You can also book one of their early tours of the carbon neutral winery (these happen at 10 am!).  They have a flight and tasting plate option with olives, hazelnuts, cheese and meats to pair with wines also.

In addition Barrel & Larder does have cooking classes and event.  Visit their site and see what is coming up!

Ross Hill Wines

There is so much more to Orange, NSW Australia!

There is so much to Orange.  We barely scratched the surface.  But the people of the region are warm and the food and wine exceptional.

This gives you an idea of how much there is to take in.

This is just a quick overview, you can look forward to much more from us on the wineries we visited.

Orange is a great region.  If you only have 2 days do it!  Just know that you will want to return.  No, 2 days are not nearly enough to take in all of Orange.

While you might not be able to travel to Australia right now.  When we can all travel again, this is a wonderful region to visit and celebrate in. They make quite a bit of bubbles here.

If you happen to be in Australia, the cellar doors in Orange are open and would love to see you.  You can visit the websites of the wineries we mentioned to see what their current status is for bookings and experiences.

And of course, check out The Orange 360 site for the latest details on what is happening and for help with planning your trip!  https://www.orange360.com.au/

As always be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up to date on all of our posts.

Keep your eyes on this space!  This is just our overview.  We look forward to sharing more details on our visits to these wineries in the Orange Region of Australia.

Robin Bell Renken I have always loved people’s stories. I spent a career in Theatre helping to tell stories, as a Stage Manager. Daily enabling artists to freely and safely tell stories through their art. Then I fell in love with wine. There are so many details, so many nuances, not just in the glass, but in the vineyard, the region and the people. As I met winemakers and vineyard owners and even the people in the tasting room excited to pour me a glass and tell me the story of this wine, I knew these were stories I wanted to share. I completed my study and became a Certified Specialist of Wine and continue learning daily as I meet and interview people in this industry.

Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.

When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.

This visit to Orange was held in conjunction with the 2019 Wine Media Conference.  It was supported by Orange 360, who provided transportation within the region as well as lodging for the media attendees. They arranged with local wineries for time and tastings with winemakers as well as several meals.  Media attendees paid a small fee as well as provided their own transportation to and from the region.

All opinions are our own.

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More on wine regions in New South Wales

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Robin Renken
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