Wing it to the Wineries: Sunshine Coast Airport
It’s a tall tale wine lovers need to jump a 20+ hour flight to Europe to experience a fine wine. The truth is, some of the tastiest tipples can be found south of the Equator just a few hours’ flying time from the Sunshine Coast.
From the undulating terrain of the Barossa Valley to the burgeoning wine scene of Waiheke Island, there’s a multitude of wine country to sip your way through; our Drinks Writer, Tony Cox, shares his favourites with me.
Hunter Valley via Newcastle
“The Hunter Valley is a destination to gorge on the finer things in life, a place to indulge the senses,” Tony said. “One of the oldest wine regions in Australia, there are over 100 cellar doors decanting the best in both whites and reds.”
The Hunter is a blend of boutique wineries and well-known drops with a focus on organic and biodynamic growing. But there’s more to explore here with an abundance of varietals to tempt you.
From artisan chocolate to cheese tasting and a bevy of acclaimed restaurants dishing up the best of the lot, the foodie trail is just as much a reason to visit as the wine.
Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard
Located in the Broke Fordwich subregion the cellar door, constructed in the style of Provence, features local cheeses with an assortment of condiments to compliment the low intervention biodynamic wines.
Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard
Boasting panoramic views from prime position in the Brokenback Mountain Ranges, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard is a wine with a view kind of place. Stellar views aside, more than 150 years of winemaking expertise are explanation enough for the fine drop that comes out of their colonial style cellar door.
Barossa Valley & Mclaren Vale via Adelaide
Under three hours’ flying time from the Sunshine Coast, Adelaide boasts two world-class wine regions to explore: Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
“Barossa is Australia’s most famed wine region with vino flowing from this revered land for over 150 years,” Tony Cox said. “Though steeped in wine-making history, with the longest lineage of grape growing families in Australia, a new generation of winemakers are making a mark with a focus on organic and biodynamic growing.”
Over the hills and not so far away you’ll find McLaren Vale, an equally as impressive wine region with a side of coastal flair.
“McLaren Vale has a diverse range of terroirs, with continuation of the Adelaide Hills behind providing elevated sites and more perfumed wines,” he said. Traditionally focused on the same key grape varietals as the Barossa, namely shiraz, grenache and mataro, the last two decades has seen the emergence of Italian varietals, think sangiovese, fiano, barbera, nero d’avola to name a few.”
This satisfies two passions, history and wine. Located in the postcode pretty hamlet of Angaston they are one of the few wineries to have their own cooperage. Adept at shiraz, grenache and mataro they also make stunning Riesling from high in the Eden Valley as well as being the pioneer for viognier in Australia. See page xxx for more on this.
d’Arry’s Original is a stalwart wine for the region. d’Arenberg has a massive array of varietals and two standout dining options: the relaxed d’Arry’s Verandah and the more modern and avant garde Cube.
Waiheke Island via Auckland
An easy day trip from Auckland, Waiheke Island is renowned for pristine beaches, outdoor adventures, sumptuous eats and beautiful vineyards – around 40 of them shroud the island’s centre.
The island offers high quality wines with many vineyards boasting a dramatic ocean backdrop. “For those who enjoy classic cabernet and Bordeaux-style blends, Waiheke Island is a slice of heaven – credit to Dave Dobbin, for those of you old enough to remember,” he laughs.
There are plenty of bays nestled into the island’s craggy crevices with boutique accommodation sitting pretty cliff-side where you can pause to take in sweeping views.
Man O’War Vineyards
Located on the eastern fringe of the island Man O’War has a dramatic coastal backdrop with a beachfront wine tasting room, the only one in New Zealand. Nibble on olives, cheese, charcuterie or pizza and savour syrah, chardonnay and cabernet blends to name a few.
Among the oldest vineyards on the island, with plantings commencing in 1982, Stonyridge Vineyard specializes in Bordeaux varietals. Their top wine, Stonyridge Larose, is a classic cabernet-dominant blend and perhaps New Zealand’s most collectible wine.
Hunter Valley via Newcastle with Fly Pelican
Fly time from the Sunshine Coast: 1 hour 15 minutes
Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale via Adelaide with Jetstar
Fly time from the Sunshine Coast: 2 hours 45 minutes
Waiheke Island via Auckland with Air New Zealand
Fly time from the Sunshine Coast: Three hours
Book your winter wine escape direct with the airline or through your local travel agent.