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50 wine experiences: 41-50

Rikard Wines, Orange, NSW.

41. Sip in Style in Sydney

A glamourous return to wining and dining was the order of the day for Sydneysiders following lockdown, and Menzies Bar hits the spot ( shellhouse.com.au/menzies-bar). Occupying the ground floor of the historic Shell House on Carrington St, the playful yet deceptively serious wine list is overseen by respected local somm Shun Eto, with ex-Aria chef Joel Bickford and his team delivering a class-A menu. Nab a glass of grillo or grower Champagne to wash down spanner crab crumpets with sweet corn and lardo, before moving on to head-turners like line caught, spiced fried kingfish collar or a 200g bistecchina (for which you’ll probably need to order some Barolo, because hey, you deserve it). DOM SWEENEY

TIP: Saunter upstairs to Sky Bar for creative cocktails overlooking the city.

42. Provenance Beechworth

The latest iteration of Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth is its best yet ( theprovenance.com.au). Chef Michael Ryan has evolved his pre-pandemic eight-course degustation into 18 small dishes delivered in four bento-style waves, complemented by miso-cured pickles, ichiyaboshi-style calamari (‘crack’ squid jerky), mushroom tofu, clam dashi and all manner of mouthfuls house-pickled, fermented and made on-site. The snacking format brings a beautiful flow to the experience – affording more space for conversation around the table, but never at the expense of attentive service by Damian Moylan and team. SALLY BROWN

TIP:  Explore the hyper local wine and extensive sake list before rounding out the evening with one of Michael’s latest tinkerings, house-made bitter amaros.

43. HOP TO WAIHEKE

After a short ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf, sunshine, a ceaseless Pacific canvas and delicious, inimitable wines await you at Man O’ War Wines ( manowar.co.nz). The quirkiness of your location, New Zealand’s only beach-front tasting experience, will not escape you. Beehives, orchards and olive groves punctuate rolling vineyards — 75, no less — scattered across the secluded eastern side of the island. Book in for a cellar door tasting, a winemaker’s long lunch, or even to say ‘I do’, all while soaking up island vibes like no other. ALEX MITCHESON

TIP: Pair their signature cheese board with the Tulia Blanc de Blancs and let the afternoon sea breezes wash over you.

44. RELAX AT RIKARD

Perched on the northern slopes of the iconic Mount Canobolas, the recently revamped Rikard Wines ( rikardwines.com.au) tasting space sits a lofty 1,040m above sea level. It’s the ultimate location to immerse yourself in the high-altitude wines of Orange. Husband and wife duo Will and Kimberley Rikard-Bell are crafting elegant, minimal intervention wines here, and leading the way in the new-wave generation of winemaking in the region. The new-look tasting space features a stunning barrel room, where you can book in for a Guided Wine Tasting of the portfolio or take some time to join the makers themselves for Winemaker Tour and Tasting. AMY NORTHCOTT

TIP: The Rikard Riesling is a standout from the range so be sure to grab a few bottles as they tend to sell out quickly.

45. A PLAYGROUND FOR ADULTS

The Fruitful Pursuit ( thefruitfulpursuit.com) is an exploration into wine dictated by fun. James Hopkins creates wine experiences that give a new meaning to education – these are tasting sessions that bring big energy. The team tours the country with events labelled Wine Playground where top names in the wine scene will chat directly over splashes of their own juice, inviting the wine curious to taste the vibrant diversity in Australian wine. Previous events such as Fresh Blood and Weird, Strange and Brave have been wildly successful amid a generation of drinkers craving an inclusive approach to wine. OLIVIA EVANS

TIP: If you live in Adelaide, keep an eye out for their Maker and Me evenings at the Olivia Hotel.

46. SWAN VALLEY OLD VINE TRAIL

Turning onto Campersic Road the vista dramatically transmutes beneath the Darling Escapement. The neatly trellised vineyards that festoon Australia’s second oldest wine region give way to gnarled shrubs with trunks as thick as Christmas hams, rooted in ancient gravel and coffee rock. This is the heart of Swan Valley old vine country, dating back to the late 19th century. The Valley’s most iconic grenache is grown here, with Sittella, Mandoon and Vino Volta leading the procession. Drive further on to Talijancich Wines to explore the soul of this storied region: the 1900 pedro ximénez and the unforgettable liqueur wines these vines beget, including the exquisite 1978 Julian James solera. Move onto Nikola Estate to enjoy complex and invigorating chenin from vines planted in the 1920s. JULIAN TOMPKIN

TIP: Grab a self-drive map from the Swan Valley Visitor Centre ( swanvalley.com.au) and be sure to conclude your itinerary at the nearby Rose & Crown Hotel ( rosecrown.com.au) – the oldest pub in WA – to further your exploration of the fruits of these ancient vines.

47. LOCAL DINING ON THE DERWENT

As unique as both Tasmania and the art museum itself, MONA’s flagship eatery The Source Restaurant ( mona.net.au/eat-drink/the-source-restaurant) is the culinary embodiment of everything that is great about the Apple Isle. Lush views of the surrounding eucalypts and the river Derwent below, complemented flawlessly by the teal and brass interior are just the beginning – the menu, featuring dishes like wallaby tartare, goat curd and comté souffle or blue swimmer crab risotto, is the perfect foil to the deliciously food friendly and site-expressive Moorilla wines. DOM SWEENEY

TIP: Friday to Monday, enjoy live music with a beer on the lawns below.

47. Vintage over the Vintage

For a thrilling way to take in the vast expanse of the vineyards that now cover New Zealand’s main Marlborough wine area, board a 1932 Fox Moth. PMH Aviation’s scenic Vintage over the Vintage ( facebook.com/pmhaviationltd/) flight for two in the restored ‘Foxy’ provides a stunning aerial perspective of the main Wairau Valley, and the vines that have been creeping up the slopes of the Southern Valleys. You might head past the snow-capped Tapuae-o-Uenuku and down the coast for a peek into the Awatere Valley. The Fox Moth itself is impressive, with a comfortable interior, where you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine as you survey the vines below. JO BURZYNSKA

TIP: Another vintage transport experience can be had at Blenheim’s Wine Station ( thewinestation.co.nz), with over 80 local wines to taste in an historic station building.

49. Marlborough Underground

Music is at the heart of Framingham Wines, so it’s no surprise that Framingham Underground ( framingham.co.nz) is Marlborough’s home to live gigs, as well as art exhibitions and an historic wine cellar. As they roll out the red carpet to touring bands, you will always be in for an incredible night. Spaces are limited, and like the annual Harvest Concert held in March, the sold-out sign is a regular occurrence. All while supporting their favourite charity NZMusicHelps. Framingham has a special partnership with the not-for-profit, donating $10,000 a year to help change lives through music. HANNAH BURNS

TIP: Don’t leave without sampling the F-Series Old Vine Riesling.

50. GEELONG CELLAR DOOR

Located in the bustling centre of Geelong, local legend Jon Helmer’s Geelong Cellar Door ( geelongcellardoor.com.au) is home to the region’s most comprehensive wine selection, providing punters with a deep insight into the diverse produce from the surrounding Moorabool Valley and Bellarine Peninsula grape growing areas. Regular tastings, a constantly rotating by-the-glass list and some of the best grazing platters around ensure there’s something to pique every visitor’s interest. DOM SWEENEY

TIP:  Make a beeline for the open fire during winter – ideally paired with a glass of uniquely savoury, spicy Geelong shiraz.

Photography by Jana Langhorst, Terence Stevens, JOSH GEELAN, Gavin Conroy and jim tannockand AND courtesy of Menzies Bar, Rikard Wines, Mandoon Estate, MONA and geelong cellar door.