Mudgee is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, and the birthplace of Australian Chardonnay. Located about 3.5 hours northwest of Sydney through the iconic Blue Mountains, it’s a true countryside gem. Tucked away to the west of the Great Dividing Range, its name is derived from Moothi – a Wiradjuri term meaning ‘Nest in the Hills’ – and its main town is just brimming with colonial charm.
With a winemaking history stretching back to 1858, Mudgee has some of the highest vineyards in Australia and produces excellent cool climate wines, the result of frosty winters giving way to warm days and cooler nights. It’s a particularly beautiful part of the world too, making it the ideal place to explore over a weekend when you want to get away from the big smoke for a couple of days.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a little list of what we think are some of its best cellar doors, for those looking to discover a bit of Mudgee magic for themselves. Let’s take a look!
DISCOVER WINE SELECTORS’ TOP 9 CELLAR DOORS AND WINERIES IN MUDGEE
Owned by husband and wife duo Trine and Andy Gay, Burnbrae is run on one simple philosophy: to enjoy great wine with friends. First founded in 1968 and operated by Trine’s dad, Tony, until Trine and Andy took over its running in 2014, the winery is filled with all the charm of a family home. The cellar door, too, will pique your interest. An old dance hall at Sally’s Flat just 10 minutes from Mudgee’s CBD, it looks out over the Blooming Ranges and is just perfect for sitting on the verandah with a tasting board, a glass of one of Burnbrae’s signature series, and a serve of good conversation.
First Ridge is one of Mudgee’s premier boutique cellar doors, dedicated to producing the best Italian varietal wines in the region and beyond. Their passion for wine has similarly translated into a passion for the design, functionality and architecture of their cellar door. The simple yet effective intersection of two shipping containers is the heart of its modern yet simplistic design, creating an open plan area in which visitors can taste the wines, while enjoying picturesque views over the vineyard and down the valley back into town. Enjoy the bubbly and vivacious Sparkling Sangiovese “Fizzante”, and seductive Sangiovese Rosé, or try their new “Alira” Prosecco for something young, fresh and vibrant.
GILBERT FAMILY WINES
Founded by 5th generation winemaker Simon Gilbert and helmed by Simon and his son Will, Gilbert Family Wines began its journey back in 2004. Sourcing their grapes from Mudgee, Orange and Eden Valley, Gilbert Family Wines prides itself on handcrafting cool climate wines of exceptional quality. The ethos behind the family business is simple; wise winemaking with fresh appeal. The Cellar by Gilbert is their tasting room and wine bar, located just on the edge of town. Guests can experience both current and museum released Gilbert wines, best enjoyed alongside selections from the seasonal menu. For the true aficionados, meanwhile, don’t miss their Saturday Wine Masterclasses from 11am.
One of the oldest and most celebrated wineries in Mudgee, Huntington Estate’s story begins in 1969 when Bob Roberts shoved a few thousand sticks in the ground of a run-down orchard and hoped they would grow. Today, those vines are thriving in a gentle slope of the valley, with the Estate sitting squarely in the middle of Mudgee’s ‘golden circle of vineyards’. Huntington’s rustic Cellar Door sits about 6km from the Mudgee town centre –Head north towards Ulan and you’ll find it on the left after the Eurunderee Lane turnoff, a great spot to sample Huntington’s stunning aged wines alongside a selection of cheese and biscuits to enhance your tasting experience.
Logan’s vineyards and tasting room are located in the scenic settlement of Apple Tree Flat, just outside the town of Mudgee. For over a decade, the Logan Tasting Room has been wowing visitors from the moment they drive through the gates. Perched neatly on the top of the hill, the clean architectural design perfectly frames the beauty of the surrounding landscape, with stunning views from every angle. Enjoy the view with a bottle of wine and a cheese plate, or a coffee and a big slice of freshly baked cake, taking it all in from the big comfy couch, outdoor deck, or by picnicking on the lawn. The Logan Tasting Room has won a number of national awards, including Australia Gourmet Traveller’s ‘Best Cellar Door Experience’ in 2012, and Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s ‘Best Tasting Experience’ 2018 award for the Mudgee region. It’s the ideal way to taste their full range, from Ridge of Tears to Logan, Weemala, Apple Tree Flat, Clementine, and Vintage ‘M’ Cuvée releases.
ROBERT OATLEY VINEYARDS MUDGEE
Established in 1858 and surrounded by picturesque vines and gum trees on the banks of Eurunderee Creek, the Cellar Door of Robert Oatley’s ‘Craigmoor’ vineyards is located at Mudgee’s oldest winery and vineyard. The Oatley family purchased Craigmoor (formerly known as Poet’s Corner) in 2006, renaming the property Robert Oatley Vineyards in 2009. Situated just five minutes’ drive from the centre of town, the property features picnic grounds around the Craigmoor Cricket Oval, and the historic Craigmoor Winery buildings – among which you’ll find Oatley’s cellar door, wine museum and the Craigmoor Pavilion. Their award-winning wines are available for tasting and purchase at their Cellar Door, so make sure to try their local Mudgee wines such as the famous Craigmoor, Montrose and Wild Oats labels.
The Robert Stein vineyard and winery has been owned and operated by the Stein family since its establishment in 1976 and is now a Halliday-rated 5 red star winery, where 3rd generation winemaker, Jacob Stein, is producing award-winning wines using estate grown fruit. Located on Pipeclay Lane, about 8kms north of town, the Robert Stein Winery cellar door has panoramic views over the vineyard and Mudgee valley, and is also home to the Pipeclay Pumphouse Restaurant as well as a vintage Motorcycle Museum. Do make sure to try their Riesling and Shiraz, which take pride of place as the winery’s flagship varieties.
THISTLE HILL ORGANIC VINEYARD
Located only 10 minutes from Mudgee’s town centre on 200 acres of land, Thistle Hill’s organic vineyard, olive grove, winery, cellar door and accommodation are a treat for the travelling wine lover. ‘The less interference, the better’ is their philosophy, resulting in rich reds and lively whites that are organic and low preservative, including their Estate Preservative Free Shiraz. Founded by David and Lesley Robertson in 1976, it’s considered one of Australia’s longest continually running organic wineries. While you’re out there, why not book a room at their French provincial-style cottages and guest house, overlooking the vines and olive grove with their bright and airy rooms, peace and tranquillity? It’s the perfect way to wrap up a day spent exploring the fruits of Thistle Hills vines.
Having lived in Mudgee for 15 years, Tony and Debbie McKendry finally realised their lifelong passion for wine in 1993 when they purchased an acreage on the outskirts of Mudgee with plans to plant their very own vineyard. Fast forward almost 30 years, and you’ll still find them, along with their daughter Samantha, behind the bar at the cellar door, or out in the vineyard tending to the vines. Vinifera take a ‘less is more’ approach to their growing and winemaking, producing authentic, terroir-driven vintages in tune with the environment and proudly certified organic. Nestled amongst the grapevines next to the family home you’ll find the Vinifera cellar door. Opened in 2000, it’s an intimate and relaxed place to enjoy the winery’s specialities, including their award-winning Spanish varietal range.