The Shoalhaven Coast, which takes in the lush region of NSW from Berry and Kangaroo Valley in the north through to Ulladulla and Bawley Point in the south, might be one of Australia’s most criminally unsung wine regions.
The local wine industry really kicked off here in the 1980s. But what began as a viticultural curio has grown into a vibrant wine region with a stack of vineyards and cellar doors scattered along the coast. And given the seaside terroir, there are a few unusual varietals to explore.
Here are nine estates to check out on your next trip through the Shoalhaven.
Husband and wife duo Mark and Sue Foster established this small vineyard in 1998 on a hillside overlooking the beautiful Kangaroo Valley. Beyond the exceptional chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz and rosé, you can also sample homemade produce such as nuts, jam, pickles and olive oil.
Takeaway: a bottle of chambourcin – this vibrant red is one of the region’s signature wines.
Since 1984, this small vineyard just outside picturesque Berry has served as both a cellar door and celebrated fine diner. A wander around this beautiful old dairy farm is worth the price of a tasting alone. In more recent years accommodation, an alpaca farm and a Tesla charging station have also been added to property.
Takeaway: a bottle of merlot – Silos’s take on the classic big Australian red.
Lyrebird Ridge Organic Winery
A peaceful retreat as well as a working winery, Lyrebird is great if you’re seeking an off-grid weekend getaway. The cellar door here is open Friday to Sunday with wine tastings ($5 per guest, or $10 when accompanied by a cheese plate).
Takeaway: the Escarpment blend, which matches Lyrebird’s signature chambourcin with cabernet.
Situated in the lush foothills of Cambewarra Mountain, this family-run winery features a slick cellar door that’s kid-friendly and pet-friendly, and a restaurant that serves dishes made from local produce. It also hosts a popular high tea among the vines, if you want a bit more a luxe visit.
Takeaway: the celebrated verdelho.
Two Figs Winery
It’s all about location at this Berry winery, which sits on a rolling embankment overlooking the Shoalhaven River. The tasting list here includes chardonnay, frizzante rosé and chambourcin. Local-produce plates are also available (you can build your own from the deli fridge). Just be sure to book ahead.
Takeaway: the flavourful rosé.
Coolangatta Estate Winery
This grand European-style estate in the foothills of Mount Coolangatta originally dates back to 1822. Leave yourself enough time for a wander through its historic grounds, but don’t get distracted – wine is serious business here. Coolangatta has won numerous awards over the years.
Takeaway: one of the winery’s celebrated vintages of semillon.
Mountain Ridge Wines
In the shadow of Cullunghutti Mountain is this fabulous family-run vineyard, restaurant and farm. The wines here are all hand-picked and bottled on the property, and the list includes organically produced shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Bring along a picnic rug to sit outside and enjoy views out towards Coolangatta, Berry, Saddleback Mountain and Cambewarra Mountain.
Takeaway: the light chardonnay-aeries blend.
This slick venue overlooking Lake Burrill and the Milton countryside isn’t just a winery – it’s also a brewpub, fromagerie and farm-to-table restaurant. The atmosphere might be relaxed, but Cupitt’s takes its wine seriously, with winemaker Rosie Cupitt importing grapes from other regions to help broaden the vineyard’s varieties.
Takeaway: the estate-grown barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc.
Bawley Vale Estate
A great winery for families (and weddings), Bawley Vale’s exquisite cellar door is complemented by its cosy farmyard feel – right down to the deer, alpacas and sheep that roam about the place. Tie it in with a visit to Bawley Beach, just a few minutes’ drive away.
Takeaway: the sparkling rosé is an estate favourite.