The Orange Wine Region is centred on the city of Orange in the Central Ranges Zone of New South Wales. It is the newest and coolest of the three regions in the zone, the others being the Mudgee Wine Region to the north and the Cowra Wine Region to the south.
This wine region is cool by definition, all of the vineyards in it are at altitudes above 600m, some approaching 900m. Orange is on the inland side of the Great Dividing Range and as such it has a continental climate with hot summer days tempered by cool nights.
The extinct volcano Mount Canobolas, 1400m, dominates the landscape.
Spring frost are a significant hazard. Local topography and cold air drainage patterns are important factors for vineyard site selection. For this region the slopes of Mt Canobolas are favoured for viticulture.
There are a range of soil types, all with their own characteristics and suitability for viticulture. The region's wine industry is relatively new but has gathered momentum over the past few years. Previously the region was known for cherries, apples and pears as well as for broadacre farming. Many wine companies based elsewhere, for example in the Hunter Valley, source fruit or have vineyards in this region.
The cool climate in this region is suitable for the northern Italian variety Arneis. Other varieties that could play a role in the region include Savagnin, Tempranillo and the Italian red wine varieties such as Sangiovese and Barbera.
The cool climate and abundance of suitable land for viticulture suggest that the Orange Wine Region has a successful and exciting future.
Orange is a substantial city with a diverse range of industries and acts as regional tourism, service and educational centre.
The region is just over 200km west of Sydney, and thus easily visited as a day trip. However there are plenty of wineries and other tourist attractions and accommodation options to justify a longer stay.
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