Weekend getaways to explore our region’s exceptional wineries might be on hold for now, but don’t let isolation stop you from enjoying the latest drops from Australia and New Zealand’s best producers. The team at Choice Hotels Asia-Pac has put together a list of their personal favourite virtual cellar doors that you can visit in just a few clicks from the comfort of your lounge rooms. Wine enthusiasts, get an inside look at some of the best-loved wines available online.
Top Australian wineries
1. Established in 1973, Sally’s Paddock at Redbank produces one of the best red wines in Australia. What makes this such a distinct drop is the winery’s unique approach to making it from a single non-irrigated vineyard. Choose from a wide range of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
Wine recommendation: Sally’s Paddock Red Blend
2. Born in France, Domaine Chandon Winery found its home in Yarra Valley, Victoria’s leading location for winemaking. The region’s cool climate is the catalyst behind making Chandon Australia’s leading méthode traditionnelle producer, and experts in still and sparkling wines.
Wine recommendation: Chandon Cuvée Riche
3. Established in 1975, Main Ridge Estate is Mornington Peninsula’s first licensed winery and has a long history in winemaking, especially its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Not only is it one of the oldest vineyards, but it is also the region’s highest vineyard at 230 metres altitude on Arthur’s Seat.
Wine recommendation: ‘Half Acre’ Pinot Noir, ‘The Acre’ Pinot Noir
4. Also located on Victoria’s popular Mornington Peninsula, Ten Minutes by Tractor has some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir the region has to offer along with a premium selection of Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. The winery recently launched ’The Art of Dining In’ whereby locals can have their meals delivered or picked up, so if you happen be fortunate enough to live nearby, you can also enjoy their exceptional culinary offering.
Wine recommendation: McCutcheon Chardonnay, Wallis Pinot Noir
5. Tahbilk Winery is located in the Nagambie Lakes region of central Victoria. The name of the winery originates from its location “tabilk-tabilk” which means ‘place of many waterholes’ in the language of the Traditional Land Owners, the Taungurung people. The temperate climate and the rich ferric-oxide soil help produce Tahbilk’s benchmark wines.
Wine recommendation: Any Tahbilk Marsanne, Tahbilk Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz, Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon
6. Ferngrove Winery is situated in Western Australia’s Great Southern region and is known for being one of the world’s most isolated wine estates. The winery’s unique viniculture location makes the grapes ripen at a slower rate – creating a unique taste.
Wine recommendation: Black label Off-Dry Riesling, Orchid Cossack Riesling
7. Xanadu is one of the original wineries in the Margaret River region. The vineyards are nourished in one of Australia’s top wine producing areas with the help of the rich gravel soils surrounded by lush Marri trees.
Wine recommendation: Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon, Xanadu Chardonnay
8. Howard Park Winery calls two Australian premier grape growing regions home – the Margaret River and the Great Southern. There are plenty of wine options to choose from – Howard Park, MadFish, Marchand & Burch and imported Franck Bonville Champagnes.
Wine recommendation: Porongurup Riesling, Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon
New South Wales
9. Located in the Hunter Valley, Lake’s Folly was established in 1963 and is Australia’s first boutique winery. Lake’s Folly is most popular for its two flagship wines – a Chardonnay and a Cabernet blend. Wine enthusiasts, add this to your collection.
Wine recommendation: Lake’s Folly Cabernets, Lake’s Folly Chardonnay
10. Peterson House is also located in the famous Hunter Valley region and is known for its specialty; sparkling wines. Established in 1982, the Peterson House has a history of creating some of the best sparkling wine in the country, with over 40 varieties on offer.
Wine recommendation: Sparkling Rose with bucket of prawns on the deck
11. Charles Melton Wines is another popular winery in the premium wine-producing region of the Barossa Valley, which specialises in limited release red wines. The winery was established in 1984 and has since made its name across the world. A fun fact for wine enthusiasts, Charles Melton Wines is the only Australian producer of a vin-santo styled dessert wine, Sotto di Ferro.
Wine recommendation: Charles Melton Nine Popes GSM, Charles Melton Grains of Paradise Shiraz, Charles Melton NV Sparkling Red. For great value, try the Charles Melton La Belle Mére SGM for under $30
12. The Burge Family Winemakers have been in the winemaking business since the late 1860s. They continue to focus on low yielding and producing high quality crops. This family-run winery follows the traditional solera method of blending that has helped them carry on their winemaking legacy.
Wine recommendation: Our team recommends any red but particularly the flagship Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz & Grant Burge Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon
13. Hentley Farm Wines is located in an 1840’s homestead nestled in the famous Barossa Valley. The winery is situated on rich red soil that has helped deliver premium wines, especially Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine recommendation: Hentley Farm The Beast Shiraz. For something different, try the Hentley Farm The Stray Mongrel GSZ at under $30
14. A fine producer of wine in South Australia, Henschke Winery is set in the village of Keyneton. This six-generation family run winery was established in 1842 and is known for its use of organic and biodynamic practices to sustainably grow vineyards.
Wine recommendation: For great value, try the Henschke Peggy’s Hill Riesling. If the budget doesn’t stretch for a Mount Edelstone or a Hill of Grace, then the best value option would be Henschke Johann’s Garden Grenache or Keyneton Euphonium Shiraz
15. Located just 15-minutes from the city centre, Penfolds Magill Estate Winery is one of the world’s few urban single vineyards situated in the foothills of Adelaide. Established in 1844, Penfolds Magill Estate Winery has made its name around the world.
Wine recommendation: When we’re done with isolation, make sure you book the ultimate Penfolds Experience that includes a taste of Grange
16. With more than 30 wineries in the region, the Clare Valley has no shortage of incredible options on your virtual cellar door tour, especially for those who love its signature wine, Riesling. The Clare Valley wineries date back over 160 years and are scattered between Auburn and Clare. One of the wineries that is synonymous with the Clare wine region is Jim Barry Wines.
Wine recommendation: For best value, try Jim Barry Florita Riesling or Watervale Riesling. To try something different, go for the Assyrtiko and the First Eleven Cabernet. Other recommendations from this region are Mitchell Wines Watervale Riesling, Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Watervale Riesling & Clos Clare Watervale Riesling
17. d’Arenberg has been delivering the finest wines across Australia since 1912. The vineyards are NASAA certified for their adoption of organic and biodynamic methods in winemaking. Fun fact: d’Arenberg is one of the few wineries to basket press both white and red wines in Australia.
Wine recommendation: d’Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, d’Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne, d’Arenberg High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon
18. Tasmania has so much to offer with its rich history and picturesque beauty along with its exquisite wines. Located in Devonport, Ghost Rock Wines is among the country’s best wineries. Choose from a range of Tasmanian red, white and sparkling.
Wine recommendation: Ghost Rock Riesling, Ghost Rock Estate Pinot Noir
Top New Zealand wineries
New Zealand North Island:
19. Spread over 30 hectares of vineyards, the Kumeu River Winery is situated in Henderson, West Auckland. Although the winery is located well north of the other viticultural regions, Kumeu’s cool climate, soil type and their approach to harvest their grapes by hand is what makes the winery unique.
Wine recommendation: Kumeu River Mate’s Chardonnay
20. On Auckland’s south-west coastline lies New Zealand’s most awarded winery, Villa Maria. This popular winery’s strong focus on sustainability has led it to receive a Gold Standard Sustainable Tourism Qualmark in 2017.
Wine recommendation: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc
21. Located in the natural beauty and rugged coastline of Waiheke Island, the Man O’ War vineyards are spread across 150 acres in 76 hillside blocks that have their own micro-climate and soil profile. This picturesque vineyard is named after Captain James Cook’s notes in 1769 as he observed that the Kauri trees “would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War warships”.
Wine recommendation: Try their range of Blends, Estate Syrah & Estate Chardonnay
22. Another notable vineyard in Waiheke Island is the Stonyridge Vineyard, an expensive, pre-eminent Cabernet-blend producer. The island has low summer rainfall and high temperatures, making it the perfect climate to produce great red wines.
Wine recommendation: Stonyridge Larose that has a reputation as one of the world’s best-known and respected wines
23. Te Mata Estate wines were first planted in 1892. At the heart of the estate, you’ll find the Havelock Hills Vineyards – the first legally protected vineyards in New Zealand. The region’s viticultural heritage gives its grapes their district character and uniqueness. The vineyards are committed to sustainability in winemaking especially since the establishment of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) programme in 1995.
Wine recommendation: Try the wine from the Awatea, Elston and Coleraine Vineyards
24. The Craggy Range Winery is located at the foot of Te Mata Peak, the premium wine growing area of Hawke’s Bay New Zealand. The region’s stone and sandy alluvial soils help create the ideal conditions to produce premium red wines.
Wine recommendation: Our team recommends Craggy’s prestige range
25. Ata Rangi is an iconic Martinborough winery tucked near the bottom of the North Island. The stony river terrace on which the vines are planted, the microclimate created by the valley surrounded by mountains, and the hand-harvested grapes are all factors that contribute in producing fine wine.
Wine recommendation: Ata Rangi Pinot Noir
26. The Escarpment Vineyard in Martinborough is another North Island cellar door to click on over to. This Kiwi winery is popular for its high quality New World Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Martinborough’s warm dry summers and deep alluvial gravels help create a distinct taste in their wines.
Wine recommendation: Escarpment Pinot Noir, Escarpment Chardonnay
27. Located right on the Te Awanga coast in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, the Elephant Hill winery has breathtaking views of the ocean and Cape Kidnappers. Established in 2003, the region’s special soil and climate situation plays a big role in crafting premium wine.
Wine recommendation: Elephant Hill Syrah
New Zealand South Island:
28. Planted in 1978, Neudorf Vineyards are located in Nelson, and is organically dry-farmed. The vineyard has a reputation as one of the country’s top small wineries and is especially popular for its range of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Wine recommendation: Neudorf Tom’s Block Pinot Noir, Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir
29. The Pegasus Bay Winery was established in the 1970s in the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury. Most of the vineyard is un-grafted which results in its low yields of grapes per vine. The region’s free draining soil and heat summation during the day promotes the production of its unique grapes.
Wine recommendation: Try the winery’s Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris
30. The Pyramid Valley Vineyards is spread across 80 hectares and has made its name for its exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Situated in Waikari in North Canterbury, the region’s location, rock and soil profile play a major role in contributing to the creation of its handcrafted wine.
Wine recommendation: Pinot Noir
With the decline in foot traffic to wineries, prominent winemakers across Australia and New Zealand are working hard to maintain production and timely delivery. As a way to support local businesses during these tough times, place your order today and share this article or a glass with your loved ones.
Cover photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash