As far as we’re concerned, there’s no bad time to enjoy a good wine. However, few times are better than at a wine festival. Generally speaking, the setting is beautiful, the food is delicious, and, of course, the wine is off the charts. So, whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a definite beginner – and no matter where you’re located in the land down under – you’re sure to enjoy yourself at Australia’s many wine festivals. Here are our top picks for what you can’t miss this year.
THE BAROSSA GOURMET WEEKEND – BAROSSA, SA
Ask any wine enthusiast what Australia’s best wine region is, and the Barossa is sure to rank in the top 3. Famed for its big, gutsy Shiraz, the Barossa is a region famed the world over for its unbeatable reds. Visiting at any time is a treat, but the Barossa Gourmet Weekend is unmissable. Every winery puts on a show, with food and live music continuing well into the night. Don’t even think about bringing your car – hop aboard the Barossa Gourmet bus and get ready for a fabulous weekend.
THE GRAPE ESCAPE – THE GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA
Imagine arriving at a football field at the base of a mountain, the stalls brimming with delicious wine that’s free for you to enjoy. The only limit is how much you can taste before you need to take an hour or two to recuperate while listening to the tunes of the main stage. Sound like paradise? Well, that’s what you can expect to get at the Grape Escape, the Grampians’ premiere annual wine festival. Join dozens of producers who set up shop, waiting to chat to you about their wine and offer you their finest blends. As if the wine isn’t enough, there’s delicious food stalls and even a petting farm, if you want to cuddle a koala between your Merlots (who doesn’t?).
SEA & VINES – MCLAREN VALE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Barossa may get most of South Australian wine lovers’ attention, but the McLaren Vale offers plenty when it comes to wine festivals. Aptly named the Sea & Vines, this festival offers four whole days of the best of vino mixed with beautiful seaside views and attractions from jumping castles to live jazz bands. We recommend venturing throughout the region on one of the many buses on offer – as soon as you taste one of the region’s cooler climate Cabernet Sauvignons you’re sure to be glad you left the vehicle at home.
ALBANY FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – ALBANY, WA
If there’s one thing to love about Australian winemakers it’s that the laid-back Aussie approach to life has filtered through to their offerings. At the Albany Food & Wine Festival, you don’t have to fear any kind of snobbery – everyone here is as friendly as they are passionate about wine. Maybe it’s that fresh West Coast air, but expect to abandon all graces and just enjoy wine for what it is at this laid-back festival.
BALLINA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL – BALLINA, NSW
What could be more Australian than kicking off at your local RSL Club and wrapping up the evening to the melodic tunes of Australian rock bands such as Diesel? Not much, we reckon! Of course, add into the Australian charm delicious wine and scrumptious food, and you have one of Australia’s best – yet most humble – wine festivals. While most people come for the wine, there’s also craft breweries on offer, making this the festival for all Australians, no matter how they feel about a classic Shiraz.
TASTE OF TASMANIA – HOBART, TASMANIA
Australia’s somewhat overlooked island cousin comes into its own with its brilliant offering, Taste of Tasmania. Not content just to offer fabulous wine, the festival also serves up delicious seafood and 100+ live bands over its weekend festival during the last week of the year. It’s well worth venturing away from the mainland to soak up the terrific atmosphere, and of course sample the many beverages on offer. Even if you’re not a wine lover, expect to find delicious ciders and spirits just waiting for you to enjoy.
WINE ISLAND – SYDNEY, NSW
Ever dream of leaving behind the 9 – 5 and being transported to somewhere filled with live music, good company, and most importantly – delicious wine? Apparently you’re not the only one – just ask the organisers of Wine Island, one of Australia’s newest wine festivals. Departing from the ferry docks in Sydney, prepare to be transported to “wine paradise” – complete with masterclasses is tasting put on by some of Australia’s premiere winemakers. This festival launched with a bang in 2017 and is expected to be even bigger & better in 2018. Dates TBC – keep your eyes peeled.