Taste a drop, then take a dip!
Where else in the world can you tour a cellar door and then be lying on a beach just minutes later? Our acclaimed vineyards are just a stone's throw from the coast, which makes it easier than ever to combine a luxurious wine holiday with some refreshing seaside sessions. The lush soils of Berry and its surrounding towns make the northern parts of our region a haven for wine production. February and March are excellent times to visit as this is the crucial harvest period. Not only are the wineries usually bustling with activity, the vines are beautifully adorned with plentiful grapes ready for the picking. It just so happens that our Shoalhaven waters are also the most pleasant at this time of year too. Win, win! So prepare your palate, pack your bathers and even bring your four-legged-friends - it's time for a long weekend filled with delicious wine and coastal swims.
Day 1: Explore Berry and Unwind at Silos Estate
Ease into your wine holiday by spending a relaxing day in Berry. This quaint and historic town is overflowing with excellent cafes and the perfect place to go for some coffee and a yummy breakfast or lunch. Take the time to stroll through the main strip and peruse the boutique clothing and homewares shops before you head over to the first stop on your wine trail: Silos Estate. Voted Best Small Cellar Door by Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2017, Silos is a great first cab off the rank. A must try while you're here is the Squid Ink Shiraz, a rich yet subtle red wine featuring dark chocolate notes. Silos also sells wines from some smaller vineyards nearby who don't have their own cellar doors. Make sure to ask about these little guys for the chance to discover some hidden, local gems like Lyrebird Ridge and Woodhill Mountain. At the end of your first day of wining and dining, you can retreat to the on-site accommodation that boasts spectacular views of the hinterland. All the suites are pet friendly too, just make sure you organise this with the venue before arrival.
Day 2: Morning Swims at Shoalhaven Heads
Kick off a new day in the water at Shoalhaven Heads. You might actually need it after all that wine! This seaside town is home to beautiful Seven Mile Beach and the perfect place for a morning swim. If your four-legged friend has also come along with you on holiday, you'll be pleased to know that Seven Mile is also dog-friendly. For those who don't have a canine pal (but kind of wish you did), you'll most likely be able to say hi to some local doggos who are often out on their morning strolls. From 8am - 1pm on Saturday mornings, you can also wander up to the Heads Hotel and take a peek at the Shoalhaven Heads Seafood And Fresh Produce Fair, which showcases some of the region's finest local produce.
Day 2: The Wine Lover's Trifecta
Now that you've had a refreshing swim, you'll be ready to really tackle the wine trail. Just nearby to Shoalhaven Heads, there are three renowned wineries that are well worth a visit. The neighbouring vineyards of Mountain Ridge Wines, Two Figs and Coolangatta Estate are all nestled closely together, so it's easy to spend the day vineyard hopping. There's nothing wrong with planning your entire day around wine, is there? Pencil in brunch, an afternoon snack and then a decadent dinner at each venue for a food and wine extravaganza that you'll never forget.
Are you a white wine enthusiast? During your tasting at Mountain Ridge, make sure to sample the Verdelho. This variety of wine takes its roots all the way from Portugal and absolutely flourishes in the soils of the Shoalhaven. Tropical fruit flavours, hints of pineapple and passionfruit shine through in this delicious drop. Want to try something a little bit different? The macadamia liqueur is a Mountain Ridge icon and a fantastic treat for the taste buds.
Day 2: The Wine Lover's Trifecta
A short 7-minute drive down the road will take you to Two Figs Winery, which backs onto the beautiful Shoalhaven River. Book a tour of the cellar door, which is open from 11am-5pm daily and enjoy the stunning 360 degree views of the Shoalhaven. Two Figs is famous for their Tipsy Tawny Port, a smooth and sweet wine that boasts lingering notes of Christmas cake. They also have an excellent Chambourcin, made from local grapes which, similarly to Verdelho, thrive in the temperate Shoalhaven climate.
Your last wine stop for the day is just 3 minutes away. Coolangatta Estate is that tiny bit closer to the ocean and rests near to where the Shoalhaven River opens up to the sea. This highly acclaimed vineyard is famous for its Semillon, which has won a multitude of awards year after year. Recently their 2017 Semillion took out Best Wine of Show and Best White Wine at the 2018 South Coast Wine Show, just to name a few. Enjoy the convenience of staying the night in the vineyard's historic cottage accommodation after your cellar door visit. You won't be able to stay here with your pooch but never fear, The Heads Hotel is pet friendly and just a stone's throw away.
Day 3: Soak Up The Views From Cambewarra Estate
Begin your final day by driving inland from Shoalhaven Heads for a cellar door tour at Cambewarra Estate. The Petite Rouge Rosé is a star performer here, made from Chambourcin grapes with subtle hints of Turkish delight, musk and raspberry. On the weekends, the winery also offers up a fantastic High Tea experience. Sip on some delicious boutique teas and sample a delectable range of sweets and savouries in the dedicated tea room or sit outside amongst the grape vines. Naturally, there's also an option to add a glass of sparkling to your menu. The setting is undeniably romantic, with the vineyard showcasing views of green, rolling hills and majestic Cambewarra Mountain.
Day 3: Cap It Off At The Coast
A final stop at Cambewarra Estate will lead you a little bit closer to our southern seaside towns. Stretch your legs down at Culburra Beach which is less than a 30 minute drive away. Go for a swim, take your dog for a run, surf the waves or have a go at paddle boarding - there are plenty of water activities on offer here. But if all you feel like doing is chilling out at the end of your long weekend, we suggest going on a leisurely stroll along the headland up to the historic Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse or just relaxing with a coffee at the locally-loved Ritual Habitual coffee van.