If you live in the Canberra Region, it should come as no surprise to you that the Shoalhaven Coast Wine Region has 9 cellar doors, 5 breweries and a gin distillery to boast about.
The region begins at Kiama in the North, Kangaroo Valley to the West and hugs the coast running South until Ulladulla with most of the wineries located around the Shoalhaven Heads area. It is a relatively young region, with most vineyards established in the 1980s. In 2002, the region was recognised as Australia’s 95th declared wine region and has gained prominence since then.
There are a variety of grapes grown in the area, with Chardonnay, Verdelho and Chambourcin (the region’s signature wine) featuring prominently on their vines.
If you want to make the most of your time and adopt a ‘designated’ driver, we recommend Wine Knot Tours. Our charming (and very knowledgeable) driver Vera collected us from our base for the weekend, Bay and Bush cottages in Jervis Bay and we headed out to explore the region’s wineries.
Our first stop is Silos Estate in Berry. The first thing we notice is the alpacas roaming on the estate. We are told that the estate is also a working alpaca farm, with a variety of products being manufactured from the wool and sold at the cellar door and the Berry Alpaca store.
The second thing we notice is the Tesla charging stations. There are 16 in total, and all are complimentary.
Silos Estate prides itself on being carbon neutral and obtains the energy required for the winery from 100% renewable energy sources. The Estate handpicks their grapes and has two labels, Silos Estate and Wileys Creek. There is a restaurant on-site and their cellar door is open between 11 am and 5 pm daily.
- Our pick: Ducks nuts shiraz. A rich wine that can be cellared for a while (if you can resist not drinking it)
For lunch, we head to Bangalay Dining in Shoalhaven Heads. The restaurant is beautiful. It has a natural bush aesthetic that is matched by their dishes using natural native Australian ingredients. Our favourite dishes included the white anchovies, the black flounder, and the wattleseed ice cream sandwich. Since we were trying wines all day, we opted for a mezcal margarita to accompany our meal.
With full bellies, we headed to Coolangatta Estate winery. If you are interested in history, then this winery will deliver more than great wines for you. The estate was built in the 1800s by convicts with the buildings restored since. This is the South Coast’s most awarded winery, something they attribute to their 30-year partnership with Tyrrell’s Winery. They have several function rooms and a restaurant to complement their cellar door which is open daily between 10 am and 5 pm
- Our pick: 2021 Verdelho. A bright and crisp wine perfect for warmer nights.
With a dent on our wallets and quite a few bottles, we head back to our accommodation.
Two Figs Winery is perched above the Shoalhaven River. The view is magnificent from here, and the welcoming warm fireplace makes it a great place to taste their wines. The cellar door is open daily between 11 am and 5 pm
- Our pick: 2020 Sienna. Easily drunk with flavours of red berries, vanilla and spice.
Cambewarra Estate winery sits at the bottom of Cambewarra Mountain. Their restaurant caters for gluten-free and vegetarians and they are renowned for their high tea which you can enjoy in a giant teacup.
- Our pick: 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon – RESERVE. Berries and french oak dance across your palate.
Tara Distillery is a craft small-batch distillery with specially built copper pot stills. They handcraft gin, vodka, whisky and limoncello and pride themselves in using local botanicals to flavour their products. Tara Distillery is only open by appointment only.
- Our pick: Tara Pot Still Gin. Australian, Irish, and locally foraged ingredients go into making this gin which would be perfect in martinis and the classic G+T.
Make sure you add the Shoalhaven Coast wine region to your list of wine areas to explore this year.
Things you need to know
Wine Knot Tours has daily departures and runs full-day wine, beer and gin and foodie tours.
We love our red wines, so we may have been partially biased by this with our wine selections.