Get a taste for Tenterfield's spectacular wine country.
New South Wales is celebrated for its wine, with numerous prestigious and award-winning wine regions dotting the countryside, including Tenterfield.
In 2007, wine guru James Halliday praised the rapidly developing New England region’s variations in altitude, aspect, degree of slope and soil type. “There is no other region which has come on stream with so much to offer as New England,” he noted.
Indeed, Tenterfield’s area under vines is now approaching 200 hectares, with more than 12 varieties being harvested on small family run vineyards through to larger commercial operations.
Tenterfield’s unique geographic position means vignerons have a wide choice of grapes and are able to experiment with wine styles. While popular varieties such as semillon, chardonnay, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon can be found, so too can delightful alternative varieties such as viognier, tempranillo and barbera.
Tenterfield has also become known for producing some beautiful cold-climate pinot noirs.
New England wines have won numerous awards and medals and can now be found on the wine lists of many prestigious restaurants.
Wine reviewer Huon Hooke expressed his delight at the region’s varieties and quality after judging at the 2011 New England Wine Show while Halliday recently included two local semillons in his list of the top 100 NSW wines.
TENTERFIELD'S WINE HISTORY
Tenterfield has a long heritage of winemakers and grape growers, even though it is relatively new at making commercial wines.
When German immigrant Joe Nicholl first arrived on foot in Tenterfield at the turn of the 19th century, he thought it “the perfect place to plant a vineyard” before establishing a small vineyard on his property, Deetswood.
Vines were also reported to have been planted on Tenterfield Station in the late 1800s for an early settler’s private use.
There is evidence that tin-mining millionaire John Holmes Reid, a three-term mayor of Tenterfield and original owner of Stannum House, was a great lover of wine and planted his own vineyard near Stannum.
Reedy Creek Estate became the first local winery to produce on a commercial basis in the mid-1960s, with many more following suit.
TENTERFIELD'S WINE TRAIL
A day in Tenterfield is well spent touring the lush wine region, visiting its various cellar doors. Most provide tastings of their splendid wines and many also offer gourmet meals.
Reedy Creek Estate
Located on the northern region of the New England wine-producing area, Reedy Creek Estate is operated by the De Stefani family and has been producing wine since the mid-1960s, with its Old Vine Shiraz wines more than 50 years old.
The winery offers tastings and cellar door sales, along with homemade traditional Italian biscuits and cakes, and antipasto plates of cured meats, cheeses and pickled vegetables. With prior notice, Italian pasta lunches can also be provided.
Where: 6617 Bruxner Way, Mingoola, Tenterfield
Cellar door: Open seven days a week, 9.00am-6.00pm (5.00pm in winter)
Kurrajong Downs Wines
Just 9km east of Tenterfield you’ll find Kurrajong Downs Wines, named after the lovely kurrajong trees on the property.
Owners Lynton and Sue Rhodes provide tastings of their fine wines and invite visitors to relax on the viewing deck overlooking their terraced lawns and beautiful vineyard. No food is available.
Where: Casino Road, Tenterfield
Cellar door: Open Thursday-Monday, 10.00am-4.00pm
Zappa Wines was established in 1997 and is proudly owned and operated by the Zappa family.
The winery has received numerous awards and exports wines to Japan. Nine varieties of grapes are grown on the 20-hectare property, which also provides major wineries with premium fruit.
You can visit the cellar door for a tasting or pick up a bottle from the Tenterfield and Inverell visitor centres. No food is available, but there’s a sheltered BBQ area for those who come prepared.
Where: Bruxner Highway, Mingoola, Tenterfield
Cellar door: Open seven days a week, 9.00am-5.00pm