It has been 20 years since Orange was officially recognised as a wine-growing region. This came 70 years after Italians set up the area’s first commercial wine production facility there, and more than 170 years since European settlers planted family vineyards. Needless to say, Orange knows its wine.
According to the chair of the festival committee, David Crawley, it’s only fitting that the 20-year milestone be celebrated at this year’s Orange Wine Festival. “The region’s producers, chefs, winemakers and vignerons have put together a calendar of activities to suit a range of palates, making for one of the most comprehensive regional wine festivals in NSW,” says Crawley.
The two-week festival is packed with more than 90 events, from behind-the-scenes tastings and masterclasses, to dinners. All celebrate Orange’s distinct cool-climate drops.
Here’s our pick of the best events on offer.
Orange Wine Show Masterclass: Friday October 14
Hosted by local winemaker Will Rikard-Bell (Chill Wine Co), this masterclass will introduce you to the colour, aroma and taste of Orange’s regional wines, pinpointing what makes them stand out from the rest.
Prices from $50 per person. Limited tickets available at the door. 5.30pm–8.30pm.
The Finest Drop: Saturday October 15
To celebrate its 20th anniversary as a wine-producing region, Orange is throwing a cocktail party. Guests are invited to dance with DJs Cassette, Alice Q and Sam Fransisco and can enjoy local, cool-climate wine and food-grazing stations at the Highland Heritage Estate.
Tickets are $150 per person and include wine, beer, cider, food and entertainment. Return buses are available from Orange Railway station for an extra $20. Starts at 7pm.
Wine and Food Night Market: Friday October 21
A family affair in Robertson Park, this market features more than 60 stallholders offering Orange’s best in food and wine. With a focus on local produce, tuck into fine cuisine on one of the large communal tables. Local music will be playing in the background.
Gold coin entry. 5.30pm–9pm.
The Vino Express: Friday October 28–30
This all-inclusive weekend wine experience ticks all the boxes. It includes two-nights of accommodation, transport, behind-the-scenes wine tastings, fine-dining experiences and tickets to Wine in the Vines – a culinary tour around a number of the region's cellar doors. Highlights of this package include lunch at Cargo Road Winery and dinner at the iconic Stepping Stone Restaurant.
Transport departs Sydney Central Station on Friday October 28 and returns Sunday October 30. The package costs $850 per person based on twin share.