Have you tasted Orange yet?
Orange, 25 years ago it was just that town between Dubbo and Bathurst. Perhaps you would stop for a quick cuppa or a bathroom break, before driving on. But Orange NSW has come a long way since then.
In the 1940s, Italian immigrants planted vines to put some much-needed “wine on the table”. But it’s only been in the last 20 years that Orange has officially been recognised as a wine growing region when a wave of progressive locals in the late 1980s and early 1990s decided the cool climate was perfect for growing grapes for commercial wine-making. This has now grown to a whopping 80 vineyards, with 38 cellar doors. Some are just a short stroll (or roll) away from each other so you can cellar door hop your way through the region, tasting wine and meeting the lovely, inviting locals welcoming you with a vino in hand.
So, why visit Orange? If you’re a foodie who loves good wine, why not? Orange is a premium food and wine destination, located just 3.5 hours from Sydney, with many secrets, good drops and good food to share.
We headed on a road trip to get a taste of Orange and a sneak peek at what people can expect next month. Here’s our ultimate foodie guide on where to eat, drink, play and stay in Orange NSW.
The Agrestic Grocer
A coffee shop, a greengrocer, a deluxe dining venue, a live music hotspot – the impressive repertoire at The Agrestic Grocer is made even more amazing by the owners humble attitude. “Rural, rustic, unpolished and a little bit uncouth” is what you get here; with their products fresh, seasonal and above all, local. Enjoy a good breakfast, or lavish lunch, with perhaps a cheeky cider from Badlands Brewer. We were lucky enough to indulge in a breakfast feast featuring freshly baked croissants and muffins, with homemade strawberry and fig jams, with the last figs of the season.
The Agrestic Grocer
426 Molong Road, Orange NSW
Tonic is located in the small, historic village of Millthorpe, just 15 minutes from Orange. The food showcases the produce and passion of the region flawlessly, so much so, it received a hat from the Good Food Guide. While there, we enjoyed an innovative and flavoursome three-course meal, matched with wines from the area. The entree consisted of a “Quail’s Nest,” a leg of quail, crunchy crackle and quail egg, wrapped by pastry above a bed of mashed potato. Main dishes included salty blue-eyed cod with pan-fried potato gnocchi and a butter sauce and the roasted Mandagery Creek venison with spiced lentils, rhubarb and pink peppercorn. Dessert was a spectacle in itself, with the sugary-sweet dessert of Strawberry Field, with tangy meringue, strawberry sorbet and crunchy toffee pieces in a crumb. Booking a table at Tonic while you’re in Orange is a must.
Corner Pym & Victoria St, Millthorpe NSW
Slow Wines Co
Sometimes it’s better to take things slow. And just as the name suggests, that’s how they do it at Slow Wines Co. Their wine philosophy is simple: the best wine is made with care. They take the minimalist approach to winemaking, with every grape hand-picked, and every wine hand crafted. No preservatives or additives are added to the wine, and each unique flavour speaks for itself. Be sure to have a chat to Terry Johnson, the owner of Slow Wines Co, his passion for winemaking is contagious.
Slow Wines Co
25 Victoria St, Millthorpe, NSW
Just up the road from Slow Wines Co,the Angullong Cellar Door boasts a premium selection of Orange’s wine, with some award winners among them. Try their 2013 Shiraz, which was awarded 91 points by James Halliday, or their Limited Release Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, that you can only try at the cellar door. The great thing about Angullong is they love to share their produce, and love to share their knowledge of the wines, the towns history and great for even just a chat with one of the winemakers.
The Old Bluestone Stables, Cnr Park & Victoria Streets Millthorpe NSW 2798
Philip Shaw Wines
The premium cellar door of Orange, Philip Shaw Wines, it’s worth a visit, even just for that spectacular view (though a glass of sparkling doesn’t hurt either.) Chardonnay is what Orange does best, and it’s done particularly well Phillip Shaw. We tried their No.11 Chardonnay, with a plate of local cheese and dips as we gazed over the rolling, green fields around us. The winery was previously a farm and is being revamped into an expansive function area perfect for BBQ’s, parties and other exclusive events.
100 Shiralee Road, Orange NSW
Cargo Road Wines
On our trip, we did not come across a single orange, though we did find an apple – James Sweetapple, owner of Cargo Road Wines. His business Cargo Road Wines is all about holistic farming, the organic way to make wine and grow crops, that deeply respects the land to give a greener, happier pasture. As the president for the last three years of Orange F.O.O.D week, he has a great passion for Orange and it’s wine and food industry. We suggest buying a jar of their fig and ginger jam (if there are any left) or a bottle of their Zinfandel, a seriously devilishly delicious red wine that you’ll go back for glass after glass.
Cargo Road Winery Cafe & Gallery
1064 Cargo Rd, Orange NSW
Mandagery Creek Venison Farm
Oh deer, you can’t miss out on this! Drive on over to Mandagery Creek Venison Farm, a truly beloved place in Orange that was established in July 2002. Meet the owner Tim Hansen, his wife Sophie and their pet deer Ja’mie. They make delicious venison and host a monthly event where they invite 25 people to the farm for a family-style dinner. They’re very passionate about introducing people to this game meat.
Mandagery Creek Venison
Greening Lane, Lidster via Orange NSW
After a big day of wine tasting, you need the perfect place to rest your head. And where better than Rosebank, a little slice of history right in Millthorpe, 15 minutes from Orange. What used to be a branch of the town’s bank is now a guesthouse, and it’s listed on the Australian Heritage Database. There are four bedrooms, a dining room and all the amenities, and you can even stay in your own private cottage out in the garden. Full of rich history, artworks and comfy beds, you may struggle to leave!
Rosebank Guesthouse & Art Gallery
38-40 Victoria Street Millthorpe, Orange NSW