A Tour of New England's Wines
by Susan Moore
(Armidale, NSW, Australia)
Thunder Ridge Vineyard
The vignerons of New England Australia have developed solid reputations as premium cool climate wine producers. They have caught the attention of some of the country's most noted wine writers including James Halliday and Huon Hooke and have received high praise from these authorities. These "new kids on the block" are now being embraced by wine lovers everywhere as they proudly show off their exclusive boutique regional vintages.
The region's first guided wine tour conducted by local coach company, Oxley Explorer Tours runs every second Sunday and visits three of the region's newest cellar doors. The first stop is at Thunder Ridge Wines, a family owned business run by 5th and 6th generation Armidale locals, Peter & Susan Moore. Thunder Ridge which is situated nearby the breathtaking Gara Gorge & World Heritage listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park boasts a beautiful fresh, crisp Chardonnay and wonderful cool climate Merlot.
The second stop on the tour is at the fabulous Merilba Estate where hosts Shaun & Kassy Cassidy happily engage guests in a brief wine appreciation course as they sample a superb selection of 7 wines before enjoying a beautiful buffet lunch in a stunningly renovated shearing shed and function centre which was built more than 130 years ago.
The third stop is at the historic Gostwyck church and the famous Deeargee woolshed - a photographer's dream and a great place to stretch your legs.
The final stop on the tour is at Mihi Creek Vineyard. The vineyard, situated 1000 metres above sea level was planted in 2003 by hosts Andrew and Belinda Close and was originally part of a large sheep and cattle property - Mihi Station. Mihi Creek Wines produce 4 varieties, among them an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and a fabulous Merlot.
More details and bookings via Thunder Ridge Wines Website
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