There are so many people doing great things in Australia's wine, beer and spirits scene. Why let our major cities get all the coverage? So we've set out eyes outside city borders and highlighted some of our not-too-faraway favourites to get you started.
If you're not ready (or able) to head out quite yet - we've also added a nice list of where to get it all online. It's always 5 o'clock somewhere, hey?
Our pick: Four Pillars, Healesville VIC
Why? Just over an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, nestled in the Yarra Valley this is a great excuse to venture into (almost) regional Victoria. They were also named world’s leading gin distillery at the IWSC awards in London 2019. Make a day of it and head to the Redwood Forest nearby. You’ll fall in love with the region!
What’s on offer? Gin tastings, cocktail-making classes, interactive sessions with distillers.. the list goes on! They’ve opened a Gin Laboratory in Sydney’s Surry Hills too if you’re NSW based.
And if I want to stay at home? We’ve spied their negroni-in-a-can on sale at local bottle shops. Or head to their online store for gin taster sets, gin chocolate, gin marmalade.. oh my.
Our pick: Stone & Wood, Byron Bay NSW
Why? Byron Bay’s a great gateway into wider regional NSW and QLD. Only a couple of hours from Brisbane (and 10 hours from Sydney, but plenty of places to stop for an overnight stay!) — Byron isn’t just for the surfers. Stone & Wood are proudly local and gives back to the wider community as much as possible. And to shake things up, every so often they experiment and release limited edition beers under their Counter Culture banner.
What’s on offer? Paddle tastings and good food, brewery tours — or for the hardcore fans, a day long immersive Stone & Wood Brewery Experience.
And if I want to stay at home? They deliver! (and try to make it free delivery for most of Australia). We tried it out a couple of weeks ago when they released their latest limited release craft beer (an Oak Aged Margarita beer). Ordering on Monday, it came just in time for the weekend. Otherwise, check out their Beer Finder for a stockist near you.
Our pick: d’Arenberg winery, McLaren Vale SA
Why? Because it’s much more than a cellar door — that, and just look at the building above! Not many wineries offer fifth-story rooftop views of the area. Each level of the d'Arenberg cube has been designed in its own way, and for your sensory delight.
What’s on offer? The question is, what's not on offer. Take a wine masterclass, partake in à la carte or degustation dining, get lost in the contemporary art installations, or play winemaker by blending your own wine. Oh, there's also the standard wine-tasting too. Better block out the whole day to make the most of it all.
And if I want to stay at home? Head to the online store and pick your poison for delivery to your door, or take the leap and buy an experience voucher for the future. Helicopter and scenic flight vouchers, whaaat?!
Our pick: Capital Brewing Co, ACT
Why? Because not only is it an award-winning taproom, it’s also a great excuse to explore more of Australia on the drive to Canberra, the city of hidden gems. Capital have a focus on high quality, all-natural ingredients and love providing good vibes for the community.
What’s on offer? In the past they've hosted parties at the taproom with live music, good food and great brews. It might be more sedate these days, but that gives you an idea of just how much they love fostering a great atmosphere. Book for 3 hours of beer and food in the brewery, courtyard or beer garden spaces. Also check out their Facebook page, being community based they love a shoutout to all the good things coming out of the capital (like live music streamed to your home).
And if I want to stay at home? Click-and-collect if you live close by, otherwise shop online and they deliver to most states. The merch is pretty good too, pity Spring's on its way because their beanie looks so cosy!
Our pick: Glenarty Road, Margaret River WA
Why? Not only have they won awards for great food, this hidden spot has been home to the family for five generations. At 25 minutes south of Margaret River, you'll be seeing another part of the area most tourists miss.
What’s on offer? Run by Ben and Sasha McDonald, who love nothing more than inspiring guests to do more with what the earth provides. You'll have the chance to really get hands on and craft a product yourself, as well as see first hand the creative methods they use to grow their food and wine. Take a progressive wine tasting through the farm tour. Then head to the restaurant where produce is sourced from their own backyard.
And if I want to stay at home? Along with their online wine shop, they also offer homemade soaps and gourmet condiments. Farm to table indeed!
Perhaps you want to take a stab at growing your own wine grapes? Here's a guide by DIY Garden on how to do it right, especially if you're looking for a new hobby in lockdown.
Our pick: Old Kempton Distillery, Kempton TAS
Why? If our take on the Top 30 undiscovered places in regional Australia hasn't made you fall in love with Tasmania already, this might do: there's a growing crop of distilleries making the most of the cooler climate of our island state. Old Kempton is housed in a colonial inn, built by a convict-turned-innkeeper back in the 1840s - and a place many travellers stopped by on the road from Hobart to Launceston. It's also an excuse to see more than cities, being an easy 40min drive from Hobart.
What’s on offer? A tour of the house and spirit tasting, lunch - and for those who want to dive right in, sign up to attend their 3 day distillery school. You'll learn all about the workings of their distillery, and while they focus most on whisky, they also make gin and liqueurs onsite - so you can learn about those too!
And if I want to stay at home? Check out their online store for the spirits, then head to their cocktail page for ideas on how to enjoy them! If you're pretty patient, you can even buy your own barrel to be filled and matured ready for you in a few years.
Itching for some new tipples and experiences, but rather stay closer to home? These Aussie platforms are helping #keeplocalalive by connecting producers to you, all online!
Crafty Pint - for craft beer lovers, check out their #keepinglocalalive map to help support your locals (or discover new loves).
Different Drop - let their team of wine lovers help you connect with the country's best artisan wine (and spirits!).
Vinomofo - be safe in the knowledge that the team only stock what they'd drink themselves, and at prices they think are pretty good too.
Good Pair Days - if you love getting surprise parcels or want help in picking a trio of new wines to try (without the risk of getting it wrong!).
Not Wasted - for a focus on organic and biodynamic natural winemakers (both here and around the world).
DRNKS - check out organic or biodynamic wines sourced from family-owned labels on this funky little site.
P & V Wine & Liquor - for an eclectic mix of wines, spirits and pre-mix cocktails to support our bartenders and owners.
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