Best Winery Views: Near Wollongong, Illawarra on the South Coast NSW
Although Wollongong is an area not specifically known for its wineries, the Illawarra and surrounding region has some amazing Australian wineries and vineyards on offer. If you are a wine lover and find yourself in Wollongong, there are several must see local vineyards not to be overlooked. On the fringe of the city of Wollongong, is the Illawarra coast with spectacular cliffs and glorious uncrowded beaches.
Below we outline some of the best wineries near Wollongong and within driving distance of Sydney. Each has its own glorious scenery and boasts a unique adaption of our favourite Australian wines from this region. So do not miss Wollongong when touring wineries of New South Wales, and certainly do not overlook the 5 best wineries in the Illawarra wine region.
1. Crooked River Winery
First stop on our list is the Crooked River Winery. The proudly family-owned business was established in 1998 and has been supplying the surrounding area with some of the best wine in the region since. Crooked River Winery is located in Gerringong, which is about forty minutes away from Wollongong and easily accessible by public transport, both trains and buses. From the winery you will be able to look out over Saddleback mountain, Rose Valley and South Pacific Ocean.
This commercial winery was established in 2001 and has since acquired approximately 300,000 litres of storage and stainless-steel fermentation tanks. Since its opening, Crooked River Winery has won multiple awards for both its wines and venue. The winery business was voted the top Winery Wedding venue in the 2018 Brides Choice Awards and their Wedding Planner named in the Top 5 in the Illawarra region. Willowvale Estate House sits within the grounds of the Crooked River Winery and offers the perfect winery accommodation for wedding parties, or a relaxing weekend away with family and friends.
Each wine they create is made from hand-picked Australian grapes which are subsequently crushed by hand and bottled on site. The natural methods that they employ make for very unique and high-quality Australian table wines. You may wish to either partake in a wine tasting experience or visit the winery restaurant, that showcases their chef’s creative flair. The inspiring menu has a massive focus on locally sourced produce that match their range of exquisite red and white wines.
This 14 hectares of vines is the largest vineyard on the NSW south coast. There is a Crooked River wine for every occasion; an elegant Semillon to share with friends to a rich-bodied shiraz to celebrate a milestone. Located just 90 minutes from Sydney, Gerringong offers incredible surfing, picturesque coastal walks and a tranquil escape from city-life.
For those who enjoy an icy-cold Australian beer, Crooked River Wines is also the home of Uncle Joe’s Brew. Preservative-free and all natural, Uncle Joe’s Brews include Premium Lager, Golden Ale, India Pale Ale, Pale Ale and Ginger Beer.
Crooked River Winery is open every day except for Monday, during the hours of 10.30am to 4.30pm. This gives you ample opportunity during your stay to take a journey out to this amazing winery in its equally beautiful setting or an ideal weekend getaway on the beautiful South Coast.
Weddings in Wollongong
2. Mountain Ridge Wines
Known for its impressive heritage buildings and green rolling hills, Berry is nestled in a picturesque setting. Just 2-hours’ drive from Sydney, it’s ideally located for a relaxing country holiday or weekend getaway.
Mountain Ridge Wines can be found in the peaceful town of Coolangatta, close to historical Berry on the South Coast. It is about 15km northeast of Nowra and 8km east of Berry, perched on the Coolangatta Mountain ridge with majestic views to Berry, Coolangatta, Cambewarra and Saddleback Mountains. This is a little further from Wollongong, about an hour’s drive, which is probably the only viable transport from one place to the other. However, it is definitely worth hiring a car and including this winery in your itinerary.
Here you can find not only the cellar door, where the wine tastings take place, but also a restaurant and café with daily blackboard specials. The grapes are grown on site and procured into Arneis and Chardonnay, which are available to taste inside the cellar. Groups of five or more people attract a small fee, but it is most certainly worth it.
You can dine at the cafe or restaurant for breakfast any day from 9am to 11.30am. Lunch is available from 12pm to 3pm on weekdays and 12pm to 5pm weekends. During lunch hours the cellar is also open. It is best to book if you are thinking of visiting as seating is limited, especially on weekends. For groups of ten or more, pre-booking is encouraged and essential on weekends.
3. Coolangatta Estate
Located in a similar area, as per the name Coolangatta Estate is another must see winery nearby to the Wollongong area. As previously mentioned, to visit wineries in this vicinity, you would be best hiring a car and making the hour-long journey from the centre of Wollongong yourself. Public transport to this area is difficult as it is quite far from any train or bus stations.
Coolangatta Estate is open seven days a week during the hours of 10am until 5pm. You may wish to try their collection of Estate grown Shoalhaven Coast wines, and maybe even purchase some of your favourites. There are deli platters for you to create and enjoy either outside in their luxurious grounds or during the wine tasting in accompaniment to the beverages you are enjoying.
Here you can find a selection of locally produced jams, olives and condiments as well as gift packs available to take home to your loved ones. You may even wish to dine at Alexander’s Grill, the restaurant located on the Estate. It is open for lunch every day, with live music playing on Saturdays, which is free for anyone to enjoy. On Friday and Saturday nights they are also open for dinner. For a special occasion you can also book for a function or if you are taken by the amazing scenery you may even want to book your wedding celebrations here.
The first grapes on the South Coast of NSW were grown on the foothills of Mount Coolangatta in the mid-1800s. In the 1980s, Greg Bishop re-establish the vineyards on this historic site. Bishop was convinced that he could grow good wine grapes in the Shoalhaven’s maritime climate. He began planting the first Sauvignon Blanc vines on Mount Coolangatta’s eastern slopes and named the vineyard ‘Cullengatty’.
Today, Coolangatta Estate’s white wines are rated among Australia’s best. The popular medium-bodied red wines have elegant fruit character and fine tannins which are well-known attributes of the estate’s red varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and Chambourcin. Many Coolangatta Estate reds have claimed prestigious National Wine awards. Shoalhaven Coast is now recognised as Australia’s 95th declared wine region with 11 cellar doors and 16 growers now in the area.
If you would prefer not to make the trip back or wish to stay a little longer, then you can book at one of the Estates restored convict-built rooms or suites. It combines the original 18th century rustic charm with a modern spin. Facilities include not only the cellar door and restaurant but also the tennis court, croquet lawn and swimming pools. There are various costs associated with each room but there’s an option for any budget, whether you are part of a family or an adult group.
4. Two Figs Winery
The winner of the 2018 Best Cellar Door Award for Best Small Cellar Door, Two Figs Winery is another excellent location for the wine connoisseurs among us. It can be found about 12km from Berry, again around fifty minutes from Wollongong, but also accessible by train and bus.
This boutique cellar door and working winery specialise in soft, approachable fruit-driven wines. The vineyard was planted in 2003 and has since produced its own range of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, chambourcin and verdelho. While indulging in a wine tasting experience you can take in the magnificent 360-degree views of the surrounding Shoalhaven. It is easy to see why Two Figs Winery has been chosen as one of Visit NSW most breathtaking locations.
The winery is open daily between 11am and 5pm, all except Christmas day. You must book in advance as wine tasting are only taken via booking. This venue is quite popular and as such advance bookings are recommended if you wish to visit on a certain day. They also sell Gourmet Produce Plates that you can create from a range of local produce from the deli fridge. Complete the experience with some delicious food to compliment the award winning Two Figs wines.
To enjoy the Two Figs wines in the comfort of your own home, you can even join the Two Figs Wine Club. As a member, you will receive six wines every three months at a discount. There is no ongoing membership fee, no joining fee and no tasting fee, simply enjoy the benefits that come along with it! You will also get a discount on any additional purchases and a free cheese platter each year when you visit. If you live in Wollongong or close by then this is a great opportunity to get some amazing wines at a significant discount.
You have the ability to join the club and book online for your wine tasting through the Two Figs Winery website. This will allow you the luxury of buying wine online and getting it delivered to your door as well as booking tasting far in advance to secure your place.
5. Silos Estate
The last stop on our 5 best boutique wineries near Wollongong is Silos Estate. It can be found in Berry on the Princes Highway. Bookings again are essential in order to take part in a tasting and must be made at least 24 hours in advance. You can choose from a variety of reds and whites to try at the cellar door or you can buy a bottle or two before or after your visit. There is an online wine shop where you can select your favourites and have them shipped to your door.
The Silos Estate cellar door is inside an old Dairy Shed, this is where you can taste limited quantity wines from hand pruned and picked vines. You can not only taste the wine but are encouraged to speak with the wine makers who are on site during the opening hours. Also, available for purchase is a range of local produce and merchandise along with the wines made on site. Silos Estate also supports other local wineries that may not always be open to the public or do not have cellar doors. This way you are able to taste some of the regions other quality Australian wines which you can find rarely elsewhere.
Silos restaurant is available to you here as well, creating fresh, farm-style food for both lunch and dinner with a plethora of fresh produce and regional favourites. The food is contemporary, rustic and simplistic, perfect to pair with delicious South Coast wines and good friends. There are not only single dishes but also share plates if you want to try a little bit of everything! Again, bookings are essential to ensure there are seats available during your visit.
Stunning scenery gives way for an unforgettable wedding location. With the sprawling vineyards and spacious grounds, it is sure to be an unforgettable day for all attending. Events and any type of special occasion can be catered for here.
An annual June long weekend ‘Winter in the Vines‘ event attracts visitors from Sydney and interstate. The wine event includes extensive sample tastings, free guided wine talks, food stalls, outdoor wine bar and entertainment.
Alpaca Farm NSW
Children love visiting Silos estate to pat the furry odd-looking creatures grazing in the lush green pastures. A working and breeding Huacaya alpaca farm was established at Silos Estate in 2011. Berry Alpaca store has become the largest local alpaca outlet on the South Coast. An exclusive range of products from scarves, pillows and doonas plus a limited range of meat products are available, or these can be ordered and shipped directly to your door. Guests are welcome to feed the alpacas when staying onsite.
So, sit back and take a sip of some of the best wine located around Wollongong. Whether you love a full bodied red or sparkling white, this area caters to all tastes. We are sure that you will not be disappointed in what Wollongong has to offer when you take the chance and explore the wineries of the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands. Those we have spoken of in this short snippet is just the tip of the iceberg of best wineries in the region.
More Things to Do in Wollongong Australia
For information on more things to do in and around Wollongong read these articles.
and coming soon my article on the 5 Best Restaurants in Wollongong.
Wollongong Tours and Tourism Companies
For all the wine tasting tour information and more about the NSW wineries with accommodation, we recommend these companies.