We will be offering four post-conference excursions within the state of New South Wales, where the conference is located. All excursions will start at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on Sunday morning, October 13th and finish at the Sydney International Airport at 2:00 PM on October 15th, most with an optional dropoff in the Sydney Central Business District (for those of you wishing to extend) at 2:45 PM. These excursions are listed below; there will be a small charge of USD 35 (or Australian equivalent for Australian participants) for the excursion and participants are responsible for their own hotel costs.
Due to limited space, pre-conference and post-conference excursions are only open to registered conference attendees. Each excursion is limited in numbers and registration is first come, first served.
If you’ve already registered for WMC19, use these links to register for your pre and post-conference excursions:
If you have not, use these links to register for the conference:
Excursion Option One: Mudgee Wine Region
Home to over 35 cellar doors, the Mudgee Region is located about three hours west of the Hunter Valley and across the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s major mountain range. This gives the Mudgee region a distinctly different look and climate from the Hunter Valley. Mudgee is nestled in within surrounding hills and is primarily a producer of robust and deeply coloured red wines. Our local hosts are Mudgee Region Tourism and the Mudgee Wine Association.
Max capacity: 30
Sunday, 13 October
- 9.00am – Welcome! Meet your host with Mudgee Tourist Bus and join your private transfer from Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to Mudgee (3 hours 10 mins)
- 10.00am – Enjoy a mid-journey break with Bubbles + Breakfast platters at the stunning Hollydene Estate Wines in the Upper Hunter, explore the lush grounds, and take in the view.
- 1.30pm – Arrive in Mudgee and check-in at Parklands Resort + Conference Centre (from AUD$164 per night), Parkview Hotel (from AUD$180 per night), Perry Street Hotel (from AUD$190 per night), or Evanslea Boutique Accommodation (from AUD$250 per night); participants will pay own hotel costs and will be provided booking information once confirmed on the excursion. Time at leisure to unpack, settle in, and relax in your boutique hotel accommodation right in the heart of Mudgee
- 2.00pm – Private transfer to the home of fine food and award-winning wine: Pipeclay Pumphouse is Mudgee’s unique fine dining restaurant at Robert Stein Vineyard & Winery. Produce is home grown or locally sourced and prepared with a fine touch in a relaxed atmosphere. Relax and settle in for a degustation long lunch including wine appreciation with your host Jacob Stein, Mudgee’s 2018 winemaker of the year.
- 5.00pm – Downtime: relax in the comfort of your hotel; nothing is too stressful or rushed in Mudgee.
- 6.30pm – Private transfer to The Cellar by Gilbert to experience a private wine masterclass with winemaker Will Gilbert whilst enjoying house-made small bites and delicious local produce platters. The Gilbert family is passionate about fine wine, family heritage and local produce. Guests may enjoy both current and museum-released Gilbert wines as well as Mudgee’s High Valley Cheese Co. multi-award-winning cheeses.
Monday, 14 October
- 9.00am – The circa 1873 stone terrace Alby + Esther’s calls home is packed with character and charm, friendly staff and a mouth-watering menu inspired by local fare. See you ‘down the laneway’ for a local fare breakfast and great coffee in Alby’s private room
- 10.00am – Explore Mudgee’s heritage streetscape which is wide and tree-lined, just as you would imagine a refined country town to look like, and follow the town’s boutique shopping trail at your leisure
- 12.00pm – Experience a private winery tour and meet with winemakers at award-winning Lowe Wine, Logan Wines, Moothi Estate and Burnbrae Wines
- 1.30pm – Now it’s time to settle in for the afternoon and discover just one of the reasons why Mudgee was named the #1 Foodie Destination in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine in 2018. The Zin House is the Mudgee’s award winning country restaurant situated on a large expanse of certified organic/biodynamic farmland and vineyards. They grow much of their own food so you can experience true paddock to plate fare and the best of our region’s farm grown produce with Chef Kim Currie and winemaker David Lowe
- 4.00pm – Return to your hotel; digest, relax + rejuvenate
- 6.00pm onwards – Enjoy a relaxed dinner on your own terms, such as local favourite The Oriental Hotel. Warm and welcoming, “The Ori” is one of Mudgee’s most iconic hotels and a popular place for locals and visitors. Enjoy traditional country hospitality and a chat with friendly locals (optional & at own cost. You may or may not have room for dinner after your Zin House long lunch!
Tuesday, 15 October
- 9.00am – Begin the return journey to Sydney via private transfer with Mudgee Tourist Bus from your hotel door to Sydney International Airport
- 10.00am – For a taste of France in Australia, stop in for brunch + tastings at De Beaurepaire Wines. From the first vine planting in 1998, the family’s single estate vineyard has grown into a renowned multi-generational boutique producer of French-style wines. Home of Winestate Magazine’s Australian Wine of the Year in 2018, they are located on the hills above the historic village of Rylstone, an area the family were drawn to for its similarity to the Burgundian terroir of their heritage
- 2.00pm – After departing Rylstone, your private transfer will travel via the stunning world heritage listed Blue Mountains. Arrive Sydney International Airport by 2.00pm with optional drop-off in Sydney CBD at 2.45pm.
Excursion Option Two: Southern Highlands
Explore the closest wine region to Sydney, the beautiful Southern Highlands, known for its cultural heritage, small towns, and beautiful landscapes. The picturesque Highlands sits approximately 850 meters above sea level and within two hours of Sydney, Canberra and the Illawarra Coast. Specializing in sparkling wines, pinot gris and pinot noir, the boutique region consists of 17 family owned and run boutique wineries and over 60 vineyards. This is a true cool-climate region with one of the latest harvest dates in Australia.
Max capacity: 25
Sunday, 13 October
- 10:30 am – We will depart the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley four our 3.5 hour drive to the Southern Highlands.
- 1:30 pm – Arrive Southern Highlands and visit Joadja Estate Winery, the oldest winery in the Southern Highlands region, for an incredible picnic lunch and a wine tasting.
- 2:45 pm – Travel to Joadja Distillery and enjoy a private Gin & Whisky tasting and a visit to the historic Joadja township, a company mining town founded in the 1870s that is now a private home.
- 4:15 pm – Travel to the town of Bowral, check into our hotel, and enjoy a little leisure time; participants will pay own hotel costs (AUD $150 per night) and will be provided booking information once confirmed on the excursion
- 6:30 pm – Depart for a Wine Makers Dinner (location to be confirmed), featuring local Southern Highlands produce. The evening will kick off with a local beer from Southern Highlands Brewing.
Monday, 14 October
- 9:30 am – Travel to nearby Exeter and Cuttaway Hill Wines for a handmade sparkling wine demonstration with the winemaker, Mark Bourne.
- 10:30 am – Travel to Sutton Forest and Cherry Tree Hill Wines for a tasting with winemaker David Lorenz.
- 11:30 am – Depart for Mittagong and Artemis Wines for a guided wine tasting with winemaker Mark Balog, followed by lunch straight from a wood fired oven.
- 1:15 pm – Visit Tertini Wines and enjoy a winery tasting with Jonathan Holgate, a James Halliday-rated winemaker.
- 2:15 pm – Visit Centennial Vineyards for a private winery tour and discussion with James Halliday-rated winemaker Tony Cosgriff. We will be transported by Military Tour Troop Carrier for a tour through the vineyard to the winery and cellar door.
- 3:30 pm – Return to our accommodations for a couple of hours of rest and relaxation or to catch up on your writing and social media posting.
- 6:30 pm – Travel to the village of Werai (population 90) for dinner at Farm Club Australia. Enjoy a relaxed Australiana-themed BBQ dinner outdoors which will showcase prime Southern Highlands black angus beef (other options available) and a selection of award winning Southern Highlands pies and cool climate Pinots. The evening will kick off with a local beer from Eden Brewery.
Tuesday, 15 October
- 8:00 am – We will visit the stunning Fitzroy Falls, where we will enjoy a breakfast with bubbles and fresh local produce on the viewing deck of the magnificent falls, with a back drop of Morton National Park.
- 10:00 am – Travel through picturesque Kangaroo Valley to the coast of Shoalhaven where we will visit Coolangatta Estate for brunch and a private winery tour James Halliday-rated winemaker Andrew Spinaze.
- 11:30 am – Depart for Sydney International Airport with a dropoff time of approximately 2:00 PM, with an option to returning to the central business district with a dropoff of 2:45 PM. We will travel along the scenic beaches of the Illawarra Coast and escarpment cross the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.
Excursion Option Three: unWINEd in the Riverina
The Riverina wine region in New South Wales, Australia is centered on the town of Griffith and surrounding villages of Yenda, Hanwood, Bilbul and Tharbogang as well as encompassing the small township of Leeton.
Its flat plains, bordered by the Cocoparra ranges, along with the rich soil, irrigation scheme, and a Mediterranean climate were the key factors in developing this wine region back in 1913. Over a hundred years later, many of Australia’s well known family wineries still headquarter their operations here in the Riverina, making award winning wines and more alternative varieties.
Max capacity: 6
Sunday, October 13
7:00am – Depart the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley for the Sydney domestic airport and a 10:30 AM flight from Sydney to Griffith.
12:30pm – Check in to and drop off our bags at Quest Apartments in Griffith, our home for the next two nights.
1pm – Enjoy a relaxed lunch overlooking the vineyards and Cocoparra mountain ranges from the balcony of the boutique Yarran Wines. We will do a tasting featuring single vineyard regional wines.
3.30pm – Walk off lunch by taking in the unique Citrus Sculptures in Griffith’s CBD. Yes, these are real sculptures made from citrus fruits and are definitely fit for Instagram – quirky and fun!
5pm – Down time at your apartment to relax or catch up. We will make sure the mini fridge is stocked with some of our local beers.
7pm – Meet the Winemakers dinner at McWilliam’s Wines over a traditional Aussie BBQ – snags (sausages), steaks and our favourite local red wines. McWilliam’s was the first winery to operate in the Riverina, founded in 1913, and is still making wines six generations later. In addition, we will taste regional alternative red varieties such as Durif, Petit Verdot and Touriga from all the Riverina wineries.
9.30pm return to apartment
Monday, October 14
Morning – Enjoy coffee and a hearty breakfast at one of the local cafes in Griffith’s central business district. (Vouchers provided.)
9am – Put on your walking shoes on and join us as we explore Hermit’s Cave and take in the sites of Griffith from the top of Scenic Hill Lookout.
10am – Visit the home of one of the world’s largest wine brands, Yellowtail, and meet the humble family behind Australia’s most successful family-owned company. This will be a tour only without a tasting.
12pm – Enjoy a light lunch at De Bortoli Wines. Established in 1928, Vittorio De Bortoli started making wines for his friends like they enjoyed back home in Italy. We will taste wines featuring gold/trophy winners from recently-held competitions in 2019.
2.30pm – Fortified and Botrytis Tasting in the De Bortoli barrel room hosted by various winemakers in the region. This will feature Botrytis Semillon for which the region is famous as well as Tawny Ports and Muscats.
4.30pm – Enjoy a little downtime!
6.30pm – It’s Aperitivo time! Let’s enjoy a glass of wine and some Antipasto at Calabria Family Wines. Australian Italian varietals, pizza, and the company of this vibrant family will make for a casual relaxed evening. This tasting will feature regional Italian varietals that form the heritage of the Riverina region such as Montepulciano, Nero D’avola, and Fiano.
Tuesday, October 15
9.30am – We will visit Pioneer Park Museum, an open air museum that tells the proud story of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, which is what made the Riverina region possible for large scale grape production. See the old buildings and vehicles of yesteryear with a self guided tour. Take in the water to wine museum and learn how irrigation turned the Riverina into one of Australia’s largest food growing areas. The Italian museum also is a fascinating look at Griffith’s history of immigration. Enjoy morning tea in the grounds.
12pm – Check in at the Griffith airport for a 12.35pm flight to Sydney. Your planned arrival time is 1.55pm, at which point you are on your own to continue your journey.
Excursion Option Four: Orange
Orange is fast becoming known as one of Australia’s best wine districts, with local wines regularly winning national and international awards. This wine industry growth, in tandem with the continuing development of Orange’s already highly regarded gourmet restaurant and cafe culture, has bolstered the city’s reputation and the region’s growing status as a ‘food capital’.
Orange is about food and wine, but the Orange360 degree viewpoint shows you it’s also about the open countryside, country villages in Blayney and Cabonne shires, and sports tourism including bike travellers and bushwalking. On this excursion you’ll get to experience the Orange wine region in depth.
Max capacity: 20
Sunday, October 13
8:30am – Depart the Crowne Plaza for the Sydney domestic airport. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with picnic hampers full of Orange food and wine. (It is legal to bring wine on board domestic flights.)
12:40pm – Board Rex Airlines flight to Orange. This will be an extra cost and purchased by each attendee. Please wait to purchase your ticket until given the go ahead.
1:30pm – Arrive in Orange and board your transfer to the-heritage listed village of Millthorpe. Millthorpe is filled with beautiful gardens and boutique shops, with cafes and restaurants lining the picturesque main street. We’ll stretch our legs as we spend the afternoon exploring this historic village, enjoying wine tasting at the town’s Cellar Doors and a welcome from the local indigenous community.
4:15pm – We’ll travel back to Orange and you will be dropped off at your in-vineyard accommodation. With a range of wineries providing literal door-step access to their vineyards, delegates will be assigned accommodation across some of Orange’s best wineries, allowing a truly immersive and unique experience for each guest in this high altitude, cool-climate wine region. Enjoy the ensuing hour of free time. Note the Orange360 team will book your accommodations and couples will be accommodated together.
5:30pm – Depart for a vine to table experience at Rowlee Wines. Harvested by hand and crafted in small batches, Rowlee produces premium single-vineyard wines utilising varieties suited to a cool climate and high altitude: Arneis, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Nebbiolo, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Indulge in a private tour of Rowlee’s estate and learn about the journey from vineyard to glass, while tasting single vineyard wines at their source. This will be followed by a relaxed and informal dinner at Rowlee Cellar Door, hosted by owners Nicole and James Samodol. Rowlee was winner of ‘Best Cellar Door’ at the 2018 Orange Wine Show.
Monday, October 14
8:30am – Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Agrestic Grocer featuring amazing local produce and some of the best coffee in town! Wander through the attached grocery store to learn about (or pick up some) local produce, including Badlands Brewery beer, Second Mouse Cheese Co cheeses, Small Acres Cider, and Pig In The House Wines.
10:30am – Travel across country and soak up the beauty of the region as you drive by Lake Canobolas and make your way to the summit of Mount Canobolas. At 1397m Mount Canoblas provides the elevation and rich volcanic soils needed to make the area’s cool-climate wines so spectacular! Enjoy a 360 degree view from the summit or take a short wander down the various walking trails to explore the mountain-side.
11:30am – Enjoy a vertical Chardonnay tasting followed by a casual spit-roasted lunch in the stunning grounds and gardens of Philip Shaw Wines. Philip Shaw wines express the ideal qualities of the Orange region. The range shows pure varietal characters with bright fruit flavour, intense high altitude elegance, and complexity. Philip Shaw himself is a stalwart of the Australian wine scene, with sons Damian and Daniel now taking the helm at their Orange winery.
2:00pm – You will have a couple hours of free time to relax in your apartment, walk the streets of Orange, or perhaps participate in a little retail therapy.
4:00pm – Travel to Printhie Wine’s new Cellar Door site, Marquee at Millwood, for a Printhie Sparkling and Oyster Tasting experience. Printhie Wines is making its mark on the Australian sparkling scene by taking the Best Wine and Best Sparkling trophies for its Swift Cuvée at the 2018 Orange Wine Show and NSW Wine Awards respectively. But the awards for the Swift Cuvée don’t stop there, also including Gold medals at the Royal Queensland and Royal Adelaide Wine Shows and Silver medals at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and the NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show this year.
6:30pm – Family owned and run for two generations, Ross Hill Wines are Australia’s only NCOS certified carbon neutral winery. Hard work, passion and dedication continue to be the key themes of Ross Hill, with the end goal remaining to produce exceptional quality and elegantly refined, cool-climate wines. Enjoy a tour of the winery from owner, Peter Robson, before joining award winning Chef Michael Manners who will conduct a Cooking School highlighting local and seasonal produce. Situated in the dedicated Barrel & Larder School of Wine and Food, a 3-course dinner will be enjoyed around a communal table and each course will be matched with a glass or two of Ross Hill wines.
Tuesday, October 15
8:00am – Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel before checking out and boarding your bus transport back to Sydney.
11:00am – Stretch your legs and take in the magnificent views of the Three Sisters at Echo Point Lookout, Katoomba. A packed lunch featuring local produce will be provided for your journey so you can eat when you are hungry.
2:00pm – You will be dropped off at Sydney Airport, with an alternative drop off in the Sydney Central Business District at approximately 2:30pm.