1. Lowe Family Wine Co.
Lowe Family Wine ranks as one of my family’s top choices for wineries in Mudgee. The grand wisteria-covered tin barn entrance makes an incredible first impression as you approach their cellar door. The vintage shabby chic decor sets the mood for a fantastic wine-tasting experience. Before our tasting, we had pre-booked one of their vegetarian picnics. They have a spacious lawn next to a pond and scenic vineyard views perfect for a picnic. I loved that they went above and beyond to choose local products, nibbles made in-house, and sustainable low-waste options. You could pair this picnic with a bottle of wine and call it an afternoon – but there is still plenty to do and explore.
After the picnic, we had time to meander around the larger Tinja Farm complex, visiting farm animals like emus, horses, and chickens. You can also visit the olive grove, orchards and try your hand at some outdoor games, like bowling.
Their viticultural and agricultural practices prioritize biodynamic and organic methods, and they even have vegan-certified wines! To sample various wines, book yourself in for a wine tasting. Ask to try their vegan, preservative-free, bio Shiraz! While it might not be for everyone, I enjoyed it enough to take a few bottles home. We also tried their organic and biodynamic Dragonfly Rose and Red Blend, the Mudgee White and Red Gold, and one of their premium wines.
There are two different tastings you can book:
- The Lowe Flow is a daily offering featuring 9 wines from their current releases. This relaxed tasting enabled us to go at our own pace with just the right amount of description from the host. This is $20 per person and is easy to book.
- Lowe Show is a 90-minute immersive experience that takes you on a vineyard tour, followed by a tasting including unreleased bottles. This is only done on Saturdays. Your small group has access to a wine expert for an insightful discussion about flavor profiles and agricultural practices. This is $50 per person, and space is limited.
Lowe is great for families with plenty of farm activities to entertain kids or small groups of wine-loving friends. This is one of Mudgee’s larger and fancier cellar doors, making it a good option for larger groups. They still manage to maintain excellent customer service and a down-to-earth approach. They are the best value for the overall experience. I highly recommend them as my top choice for their commitment to sustainable viticulture.
2. 791 Estate
791 Estate caught my eye for catering to vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets upon request. Another thing that 791 Estate excels at is cozy and welcoming customer service. Fiona is affectionately known as “the owner,” while Brendan is in charge of the grapes. You will feel right at home as you enter their charming cellar door that almost looks like it was converted from a container.
With indoor and outdoor seating, 791 Estate excels in creative food and is nearly a tie for the best food with Blue Wren. Whether you are looking for a roasted pumpkin salad, mushroom bruschetta, or just some nibbles, they have you covered.
View this post on Instagram
Of course, you’ll need some wine to pair with their tasty food. For those hot summer days, I recommend trying their Cuvée sparkling Chardonnay, which is crisp and fruity. If you visit in the cooler months, go for their Merlot or Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. After making a reservation, you can enjoy any glass of wine for $10 or indulge in a private group tasting led by Fiona for larger groups or special events.
This is an excellent winery for lunch in Mudgee. Order a bottle of wine, and let them know your dietary restrictions in advance for the best experience. What sets 791 Estate apart is the down-to-earth customer service and family-like atmosphere. We didn’t do the private tour with Fiona, but I would return in a heartbeat to book that with a group of my friends for a special occasion.
3. Walter Wines
I first discovered Walter Wines when we were at the Flavors of Mudgee annual wine festival. I was star-struck when Walter, himself, poured me a sample of their Chardonnay. Walter Wines has one of the more extensive selections of single vineyard wines in Mudgee, and you should stop by their tasting room for the grand experience.
Walter Wines cellar is a gorgeous modern, elegant design, with a chic farmhouse vibe and large windows that look out onto their property. Sit at their hightop bar for a proper tasting, and book in advance to pair your wine with their seasonal food menu. You can even explore their outdoor property for a more casual picnic.
View this post on Instagram
The tastings cost $10, redeemable if you purchase 3 or more bottles of their wine. I enjoyed their Chardonnay, which dates back to 1994 when it was first planted, and their Sparkling Shiraz. They are also known for their Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is another top contender for the best winery for lunch in Mudgee—book in advance to enjoy their fresh, seasonal food menu paired with their lovely wines.
4. Yeats Winery
Yeats is one of the oldest wineries in Mudgee, passed down through several owners. The vineyard is renowned for its historic and award-winning Mountain Blue wine. But, when the Yeats family acquired the winery in 2010, it needed a bit of love. They have been working hard to revitalize and breathe new life into the vineyards. One of the more notable aspects is their commitment to sustainability; they are a recognized organic vineyard! Yay!
Aside from their long and reputable history of excelling in old-vine varietals such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, they are now producing Albariño (which seems to be a best seller!) and Riesling.
Their cellar door is a lovely space with both indoor and outdoor seating. As with most wineries in Mudgee, they ask that you book in advance, and if you are visiting on a busy Saturday, be respectful and mindful of capacity limits. While they are closed Monday-Wednesday, if you see when they are open, you can pay $10 for a tasting of 4 wines or $20 for a full flight of 8 wines. Expect to spend an hour with them, sit back, and enjoy the wine. They have small snacks available on site.
With ample outdoor space, Yeats is a great sustainable winery for larger groups to grab a few bottles and enjoy a picnic. However, since seating inside is limited, ensure you are prepared to sit outside with a larger group regardless of the weather.
5. Slow Fox
Another winery I discovered during the Flavors of Mudgee festival was Slow Fox. They were a quick fan favorite among our family. Slow Fox is the perfect name for this small boutique vineyard that embodies the principles of the slow-food movement. One such example is the practice of hand picking their best grapes to hand make small batch wines. You can taste the result of this slow and meaningful creation, and these wines are meant to be enjoyed slowly over a nice meal with friends and good conversation.
As a fan of Malbec, I appreciate Slow Fox’s award-winning Malbec. They also blend Malbec grapes into their signature wine, The Blend. The blend is a Bordeaux-style Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet blend. Mmmm, it is tasty and likely to sell out! They excel in their bold reds, also producing Tempranillo and Shiraz. The white wine drinkers will enjoy the Chardonnay and Viognier. Slow Fox manages their wine with little intervention for a healthier grape and a delicious pour.
Their cellar doors are only open on the weekends, Friday-Sunday. You can also contact them for appointments outside those days. As they are a small-scale and slow vineyard, book a $5 tasting in advance and take home a few bottles.
This is my top choice for those looking for a boutique wine experience. Embrace those slow-food principles and savor unique and hyper-local wine with friends.
6. Mudgee Small Winemaker Center
This unassuming little shop feels off-the-beaten-path, but it is just outside downtown Mugee. It was my favorite stop during our time in Mudgee. What first brought me in was their guiding principles for featuring small wine producers from the Mudgee region that are too small or too rural to have their own cellar door. Curated and run by the Furlongs of Two Furlongs Wine, as soon as you step foot in this old-timey heritage building, you’ll feel like one of the gang.
Pull up a stool at the bar, and Johnnie will pour you a selection of his and other wine from various small-makers in the region. We did two different tastings here, and I left with bottles of the Two Furlong’s Shiraz, featuring artwork from Indigenous artist Cheree Stokes and their award-winning Merlot. We also sampled wines from other producers like David Hook, Black, and Rosebank. Tastings are $5 for 5 wines per person, making this one of the best deals in Mudgee. Plus, a little sweet talking with your host goes a long way. :)
While other cellar doors pair your wine with food, nibbles, or fancy experiences, your wine at the Small Winemaker Center is paired with good conversation and genuine insight into what life is like in rural Mudgee for small winemakers. We stayed here the longest, lingering to chat with Johnnie and a select few other patrons that meandered in for conversation and an authentic no-fuss experience. Make sure you stock up on plenty of wines to support the small local winemakers in the surrounding region.
This is my top winery in Mudgee for simple and authentic wine tasting. While the focus is always on wine, sitting at the bar with Johnnie and other patrons gives you a genuine experience we didn’t find elsewhere in Mudgee.