Drive three-and-a-half hours northwest from Sydney through the stunning Blue Mountains and you’ll hit the picturesque wine region of Mudgee. Named for its deep valley and surrounding hills, this historic township has lots to offer.
Go on a hike, indulge in one of the region’s many gourmet food experiences, or stop in for a tasting at one of its many wineries. Here are three to get started.
Gilbert Family WinesEstablished in 2004 and led by father-and-son winemaking team Simon and Will Gilbert, Gilbert Family Wines makes wines of “great elegance, structure and purity” from vineyards in Mudgee, Orange and Eden Valley. Their multi-award winning Mudgee cellar door – the Cellar by Gilbert – is on the outskirts of town in a charming sandstone building, and offers guests the chance to enjoy a selection of wines and small bites made from locally sourced and homegrown produce in a wine-bar like environment.
As well as the relaxed tasting room, guests can also choose to indulge under the vine covered pergola in the courtyard or by the open-hearth fire during the cooler months. A visit to the Cellar by Gilbert will include a guided tour through the winery’s award-winning current and museum release wines from Mudgee, Orange and Eden Valley, as well as insights into the Gilbert family story.
Owners and winemakers Simon and Will Gilbert say: We currently have a strong focus under the Gilbert range on pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, méthode traditionnelle, pétillant naturel and skin contact whites – interesting and complex wines that are hand-crafted while pushing the boundaries with vinification. However, we suggest our 2022 Gilbert Rosé from our Mudgee vineyard as the perfect introduction to our wines. Salmon pink and textural and delicate, it has aromas and flavours of ruby grapefruit, pink peppercorn and strawberry leaf. We love to drink it with grilled prawns, summer salads and cheese boards which include goat’s cheese. It’s also wonderful as an aperitif.
Favourite local spot: We love to support the other wineries in Mudgee, all with unique family stories, beautiful vistas and friendly and special cellar door experiences and offerings. Visiting one of the olive groves and trying and buying local olives and olive oil is wonderful as well. Mudgee is a charming country town with some great shops, pubs, and coffee as well.
Find out more | 137 Ulan Road, Mudgee | (02) 6372 1325
Robert Stein WineryWith wonderful views overlooking the Mudgee township and valley, the Robert Stein winery and vineyard is the perfect place to absorb the surrounding environment. Its rustic cellar door is located within the winery, giving guests a real sense of the magic winemaking encompasses.
“A visit to our winery is a must when visiting Mudgee,” says chief winemaker Jacob Stein. “See our farm and vineyard, taste our wines in our rustic cellar door, sample our free-range charcuterie products and visit our vintage motorcycle museum.
“Tasting our wines while overlooking the vineyard in all its glory is a truly immersive experience,” he adds.
Chief winemaker Jacob Stein says: We offer a wide selection of very well-made, great-value wines which suit a range of tastes. Riesling is our flagship variety and it is among the best examples in the country, with differing styles ranging from dry to half-dry to single-site Reserve releases suitable for ageing for many years. Our main vineyard is the Robert Stein Vineyard site, planted in 1976 by my grandparents. We manage all our sites with a holistic approach, and use cover crops and composts and mulches from our farm to improve soil structure without the need for too many other inputs.
Favourite local spot: There are so many eateries that offer fresh, local produce including beer, wine and spirits. We have four awesome local breweries plus the Baker Williams Distillery which makes excellent spirits and liqueurs. There are too many pubs to list, as well as fine-dining restaurants such as Pipeclay Pumphouse and Blue Wren – it’s impossible to visit everything, even over a whole week. My favourite family time is spent with my boys bike riding or walking the local tracks or visiting the drip, or fishing in the river or many dams we have in our region.
Find out more | 62 Quarry Lane, Budgee Budgee | (02) 6373 3991
Vinifera WinesOwners Tony and Debbie McKendry first planted vines in Mudgee over 20 years ago. Struck by the environmental similarities between Mudgee and Spain’s famous Rioja region, the couple made the decision to include what would be some of Australia’s first tempranillo vines, and later garnacha (grenache) and graciano, alongside more classic varieties such as semillon, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. “Mudgee may be one of Australia’s oldest wine regions but it is bursting with modernity, with unique alternate varieties and plenty of organic and sustainably focused vineyards and wineries,” says Tony. “Vinifera is proud to reflect this beautiful blend of old and new, producing authentic terroir-driven wines in tune with the environment.”
A visit to Vinifera will include a relaxed tasting of their certified-organic, single-vineyard, award-winning range of wines, plus the option to indulge in gourmet platters made with local produce. All while soaking in the spectacular views that stretch over the vineyards to Mudgee’s famous rolling hills.
Owner Tony McKendry says: We believe that less is more in our approach to wine growing and making. We are committed to producing authentic, terroir-driven vintages in tune with the environment and are proudly certified organic. Family owned and operated, our small team is passionate about what we do, and we love sharing our knowledge with visitors.
Favourite local spot: You’ll find us at Alby & Esthers most Mondays enjoying one of their delicious coffees and famous jaffles. On the odd weekend off, we love a long lunch at The Barn or an indulgent dinner at Pipeclay Pumphouse. Food and wine aside, Mudgee also boasts some beautiful hikes in our surrounding national parks.
Find out more | 194 Henry Lawson Drive, Bombira | (02) 6372 2461