Southern Highlands Wineries: 8 Top Spots To Visit

by Jacob Stanley

Where do Sydney residents go to enjoy a weekend getaway?

They make their way to the Southern Highlands in New South Wales.

The Southern Highlands is made up of rolling hills, surrounded by quaint, heritage towns, antique shops, plenty of hiking trails, and more. There’s something to do every season—whether that’s the tulip festival in Spring or the sitting by the fire during the winter.

But there’s one thing you can do year-round, no matter the season or temperature. That’s visiting one of the many Southern Highlands wineries!

Getting there is as simple as taking the Hume Highway for about 90 minutes. On the other end of your trip, you’ll be rewarded with prestigious wine, magnificent scenery, and a slew of fun things to do when you’re not sipping on a glass.

So, if you’re curious about which wineries are worth a visit, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you where to go, what to drink while you’re there, and more. Keep reading!

 

History of Wine in the Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands sits between 500 and 900 metres above sea level.

Their vineyards sit in the perfect middle ground, at about 700 metres above. This gives them an ideal temperature that is cool, wet, and at times humid.

Although there’s mention of table wines being produced back to the 1880s, it’s generally known that the Southern Highland’s history of wine truly began in the 1980s, making it pretty modern. This was the decade when the first winery in the region opened its doors—Joadja Vineyards and Winery.

As we mentioned, the Southern Highlands is an ideal getaway for Sydney residents, being less than two hours away. Once there, they get to enjoy local, regional food and of course, wine. The Southern Highlands is a place to relax, let loose, and enjoy oneself.

What better place to sip on some wine?

The most-produced wines from this region include whites like Reisling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, with reds like Cabernet Sauvignon also making an appearance.

The total vineyard area reaches to about 129 hectares.

 

Prominent Styles of Wine in the Southern Highlands

We mentioned the Highlands’ top products above—so, let’s take a more in-depth look at some characteristics from each.

This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you arrive. You can even share some of this knowledge with your fellow wine-goers and impress a person or two!

 

Reisling

Reisling is perhaps the least-produced of the four, but it is “showing promise” in the region.

Rieslings from the Southern Highlands show notes of floral citrus in younger varieties and honey and toast in older ones. Their flavours are complex and varied.

 

Chardonnay

The Southern Highlands is one of the coolest places (temperature-wise) that produces Chardonnay in Australia.

This region makes both wooded and unwooded wines, so wine lovers get to appreciate both styles. Those that are oak-handled prove to be smooth and light, with an acidity that ages finely with the bottle.

Their Chardonnay produces heavy citrus flavours, such as melon and lime, and at times a green apple profile comes through.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

With their Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll get a traditional take on this classic.

Its characteristics include things a wine connoisseur would expect, such as light smokiness, a hint of grass, and moderate acidity.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

During the warmer months, Cabernet Sauvignon reigns supreme!

The Southern Highlands focus more on medium-bodied blends from younger vines. These give off flavours of berry and briar (a woody-smelling shrub).

 

The Best, Local-Adored Southern Highlands Wineries

New South Wales is known for having a vast collection of wineries.

First, there are the excellent Mudgee wineries, spanning 40 vineyards. Then, there’s Hunter Valley, which boasts award-winning wine.

And of course, the Southern Highlands.

So, which places deserve your visit? Keep reading to find out.

 

1. Centennial Vineyards

This gorgeous vineyard spans 80 acres!

Located in Bowral, this vineyard is a must-visit. Come for the wine and stay for the views and the fantastic restaurant. The Southern Highlands is loaded with fresh, seasonal produce, which this vineyard takes advantage of using.

This vineyard has the classics we’ve mentioned, as well as some more exotic wine selections for those who want to stray from the norm.

Reviews

Google: 4.2 stars

TripAdvisor: 4 stars

2. Southern Highlands Winery

This aptly-named winery is a must-visit when in New South Wales territory.

Their tasting room (the ‘cellar door’) is open daily from 10:30 am-4:30 pm, giving you plenty of opportunities to sip and enjoy the scenery. They offer daily wine tours, as well, allowing you to get an inside peek at the winemaking that happens behind the cellar door.

They make anything from vintage wines (made with carefully-selected fruits) to the classics like Pinot Noir and Reisling.

Like Centennial, this winery also features a fantastic restaurant. They even offer a food tour, too, so you’ll get your fill of both liquids and solids.

Reviews

Google: 4.1 stars

TripAdvisor: 4 stars

 

3. Cuttaway Hill Wines

Cuttaway Hill boasts 5-star reviews and many accolades for a reason!

They offer a guided wine experience, a sparkling winemaking tour, and regional grazing boards from their very own Cuttaway Hill larder. This family-owned establishment is proud of their work, and it shows in their flavours, displays, and expertise.

Their cellar door opens every Thursday-Monday. And trust us when we say that they get busy. Because of this, they recommend booking a private space ahead of time, which they’ll be happy to accommodate.

Reviews

Google: 4.7 stars

TripAdvisor: 5 stars

 

4. Cherry Tree Hill

There’s a theme with our winery lists—we only show the best of the best.

Cherry Tree Hill is no exception, boasting reviews of 4.5 stars and higher.

The Lorentz family, who’ve owned the name for over 30 years, produces award-winning wine. They’ve been producing grapes since 2003, near the beginning of the Southern Highlands’ wine-making days. Their decades of experiences have resulted in quality products that many know and love.

Reviews

Google: 4.6 stars

TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

 

5. Tertini Wines

Another award-winning option in New South Wales is the Tertini Wines.

Julian Tertini, the man behind the name, has been producing beautiful blends and classics since 2000 with the help of expert winemaker Jonathan Holgate. Come early and have some coffee, then stay for amazing wines paired with local cheeses.

Their high-altitude home proves to make lush wines, such as Pinot Noir, Reisling, Chardonnay, and more. They’ve directly contributed to why wine is now so prevalent in this region. Visit them to find out why.

Reviews

Google: 4.8 stars

TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

 

6. Artemis Wines

Another theme with wineries in New South Wales is that they’re mostly family-owned.

Artemis Wines is no exception—the Balog family are the owners and adorers of wine in this space.

They make it all: Reisling, Sparkling Reisling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and more.

Pair their wonderful, various wine selections with charcuterie boards featuring local meats, cheeses, and spreads. Or, get a little messy and try their woodfired pizza.

This quaint establishment will feel just like home.

Reviews

Google: 4.8 stars

TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

7. Sutton Forest Wines

First, have an espresso or cappuccino to warm you up for a wonderful day of wine-drinking on their gorgeous property.

Then, sip complex, well-done wines in their cosy cellar door. Sutton Forest Wines serves Italian-style wines at one of the newest wineries in New South Wales—which we know by now is adored for its cool-climate, premium wine selections.

Their space is warm, even featuring a fireplace! But more than that, it’s tiny and homey, making the experience one to remember.

Reviews

Google: 5 stars

TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

 

8. Joadja Vineyards and Winery

It wouldn’t be a top-eight list without mentioning the very first winery in Southern Highlands!

This family-owned estate is anything but quaint or quiet. It’s massive, beautiful, and historic to the region.

Their cellar boasts warm wooden decor, vintage rugs, and wide-open windows, allowing you to breathe in the cold climate and enjoy the views. Being family-owned means that it’s not unlikely you’ll be sipping wine directly next to the family members or the winemakers themselves.

They produce an incredible variety, from whites and reds to fortifieds, and they produce sweet to dry and everything between.

Sit by the fireplace in the wintertime or stroll through the vineyards during the warmer summer months.

Reviews

Google: 4.6 stars

TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars

 

Time to Explore The Southen Highlands

We hope this guide to the best Southern Highlands wineries got you excited to take a trip.

Not only is this region easily accessible, but it’s also overflowing with options for your enjoyment. Take a trip with friends or family—maybe stay in an old English village for the night and wake up to do it all over again.

But if you have any more questions along the way, let us be your guide. We’re constantly speaking with the experts, compiling information of all of Australia’s greatest wine stops and delivering it to you.

To receive the latest on Australian wine regions straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter. And while you’re there, check out our comprehensive lists on the best wineries in Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, and more!

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