There’s nothing like crisp country air slapping you awake to take you out of that hustle, bustle Sydney state of mind. For Sydneysiders a brief getaway isn’t just about grabbing a quick, refreshing weekend in the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley (still both incredible places for brief escapism) anymore, with many realising that you need to think wider to truly experience the magic of regional New South Wales, and all the award-winning wine and produce-driven food that comes with it. These kind of road trips are becoming increasingly popular the more the state’s celebrated wine regions come into focus, and if timed correctly it could land you in the middle of a festival that best showcases what that region is all about. This is the ideal recipe for a NSW road trip.
For October, that regional festival is Orange Wine Festival, a long running, half-month marathon of good food and even greater wine that zones in on all the best bits of the cool-climate region, showcased through a series of special events. The following five are just some of what you can expect from this year’s program (there’s a lot to take in), but even these alone are reason enough to make the 3.5 hour drive out of Sydney to immerse yourself in a world of local food and wine.
Wine & Food Night Market
This signature event on Friday 21st October is all about rounding up some of the region’s best across 60 stalls. Award winning wines will line an illuminated Robertson Park while local chefs and cooks dish up fine cuisine aimed at showcasing local produce.
Friday 21st October | from 5:30pm | Robertson Park, McNamara St, Orange | entry by gold coin donation
Wine in the Vines
Erasing your “Plan B” for a no-holds-barred night of wine exploration will remove some of that stress as you give yourself over to one of the festival’s highlights. Wine in the Vines will offer an exclusive insight into the journey Orange’s best grapes take, while taking you on a bit of physical journey as the event starts with a light brunch before you bus around with others and enjoy a roving lunch with matching wines throughout the region. It’s an all-inclusive day trip, and probably the best possible way you could take in a good deal of the wine Orange has to offer.
Saturday 29th October | from 10:30am | First stop: 84 Byng St, Orange | $145pp
Spring Feast at Mandagrey Creek Venison Farm
What would a regional food festival be without a picturesque outdoor lunch? This Spring Feast will have you over at Mandagery Creek Venison Farm (where plenty of top restaurants get their produce) for an outdoor luncheon with See Saw Wines taking care of the drops.
Saturday 15th October | from 12pm | 334 Greening Ln | $85pp
Orange Wine Show Masterclass
One of the first events on the festival’s schedule is a good ol’ masterclass of wine hosted by local winemaker Will Rickard Bell. Masterclasses in the actual regions where these wines are made is a huge part of what makes the festival so bright and vibrant, so heading along to explore in-depth the colour, aroma, and taste of Orange’s wines is a must. Tickets also include entry to the Orange Wine Show Tasting.
Friday 14th October | $65pp ($70pp with Speigelau glass)
The Vino Express
Making things a bit easier to jump from Sydney to Orange will be the Vino Express, a specially chartered train to get you to the region with an all-inclusive packaged weekend of premium wine and food experiences, including a ticket to Wine in the Vines. 2 nights accommodation, a sparking Vino Express breakfast, a series of behind-the-scenes tastings at some of the best Cellar Doors, local fine-dining experiences, and a bonfire BBQ are some of the features included with a ticket.
Friday 28th October | leaves 28th at 7:18am; returns 30th at 8:44pm | Departs Central Station, Sydney | From $850pp per twin share
Whenever you decide to trip it down to Orange what awaits is a vast program of events designed to showcase the best sides of Orange food, wine, and hospitality. Expect the likes of sourdough workshops, wine masterclasses, small winery long lunches, prosecco parties, movie sessions, chocolate and wine lunches, wine-focused BBQs, and even a picnic with lawn games by one of the region’s most stunning waterfalls. You can grab the full program HERE. For accommodation options click HERE.
Orange Wine Festival 2016
14th to 30th October.