Wineries to visit in Mudgee

By Halliday Promotion

26 Jun, 2024

We spoke to six wineries from Mudgee in New South Wales. Below, discover their must-try wine and tips for things to do in the region. 

Wineries in Mudgee

Drive from Sydney through the picturesque Blue Mountains and around three and half hours later you'll arrive in the historic township of Mudgee. Established in the mid-1800s, Mudgee is one of Australia's oldest wine-growing regions, with three German families the first to plant vines.

Today, Mudgee is brimming with passionate producers making diverse wines. These include organic wines, Italian varieties (such as sangiovese, barbera and montepulciano), as well as luscious shiraz and cabernet sauvignon styles. Similar to its famous neighbour, the Hunter Valley, Mudgee also produces semillon with great ageing ability. 

Complementing its spectacular wine offering, Mudgee also has a thriving food scene, with a range of excellent restaurants, pubs and cafes. It's not uncommon for wineries to have on-site dining either, so you can easily tour the numerous vineyards and have a great meal along the way.

Below, we spoke to six producers from Mudgee: Bunnamagoo Estate Wines, First Ridge, Robert Stein Winery, Short Sheep, ThumbPrint Wines and Walter Wines. We found out which wine of theirs you need to try, and they told us some top tips for things to do in the region, including walking trails, sculpture parks and more.

Get to know the six wineries below. 

Bunnamagoo Estate Wines

Bunnamagoo cellar door

Senior winemaker Rick Staniford says: At Bunnamagoo Estate Wines, we produce a range of sparkling, white, rosé and red wines from our family-owned vineyards and winery located in Mudgee. Varieties grown include semillon, riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris, tempranillo, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, fiano, chenin blanc and sangiovese are in their youth and soon to be producing their first harvest. We are focused on adapting to the changing climate through new techniques and technological advances to produce the highest quality from each block and encourage the best wines possible. 

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
RS. With my first vintage under my belt I feel it is well defined by the making of semillon. I began making semillon in the Hunter Valley and while Mudgee semillon differs in acidity, it gains fruit depth to make for a delightful, perhaps more approachable, wine in its youth. I am enjoying the different palate composition of Mudgee fruit and balancing components to gain the most from each site.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
RS. At Bunnamagoo we are focused on giving our guests an experience that fits their individual palate, whether they're new to wine and interested in learning more or are a seasoned wine connoisseur – there's something for everyone. 

Favourite local spot: That is a difficult one! Mudgee offers a unique blend of rich history, wineries, culinary delights, and beautiful outdoor experiences. I love a late breakfast or early lunch at one of the great coffee shops in town, followed by some window shopping, and a beautiful walk at the Drip.

Wine to try


2023 Bunnamagoo Semillon

Our Top Gold Award winner at the National Wine Show of Australia 2024 is pale straw yellow in colour, displaying complex citrus aromas with hints of stone fruit. Its long-balanced palate of stone fruit is carried by zesty acid which provides structure and length. 

Best enjoyed: Oysters are an excellent pairing, while spicy meals are balanced by the acidity, refreshing the palate. Best served straight from the fridge to assess the development of aroma as the wine warms gradually.

RRP $28 | Drink to 2034 | | Shop this wine

First Ridge

Drone image of First Ridge cellar door and vineyards

Manager Graeme Salt says: Established in 1998 under the guidance of world-renowned viticulturist Dr. Richard Smart, the First Ridge vineyard and cellar door lie on ancient rocky ridges just south of Mudgee. Richard considered the vineyard characteristics and the Mudgee climate ideally suited to the cultivation of selected Italian grape varieties. Nestled in the hills of the Central Ranges at an altitude of 500m with spectacular views of the Cudgegong Valley, this is home to our premium range of Italian varietals that thrive on this hillside terrain.

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
JM. Mudgee has an incredible diversity of sites, varieties and history, allowing for a broad range of winemaking styles. These include delicate and aromatic vermentino and rieslings to modern expressions of chardonnay and fiano. The region was a pioneer of Italian varieties with plantings of sangiovese, barbera and nebbiolo in the mid ‘70s. This tradition has continued and spread with First Ridge taking the lead in the production and focus of Italian varietals – winemaker James Manners.

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
GS. Opened in 2017, the First Ridge cellar door is architecturally unique for Mudgee as it’s constructed from shipping containers. While that may sound quite industrial, it has a warm and welcoming ambience. While we’re more than happy to take bookings, and for larger groups we’d recommend that, most of our visitors are walk ins who can sample the entire First Ridge range at their leisure. Given its placement at an altitude of 500m, our cellar door provides an incredible view across the valley.

Favourite local spot: It is difficult to narrow my choice to one, but I would have to say The Lawson Park Sculpture Walk right here in Mudgee. Located along the banks of the Cudgegong River, it features fantastic sculptures from the Mid-Western Regional Council’s public art collection. You can begin your leisurely walk just near the bridge and finish at the Mudgee Arts Precinct to view our latest art display, or you can choose to walk a little further and visit our fantastic Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex before returning to town. 

Wine to try

First Ridge bottleshot

2022 First Ridge Christina Sangiovese

Fresh raspberries, redcurrants and boysenberries with a lift of dried herbs. Intensely flavoured despite its medium body. Red fruits dominate with warm Asian spices to the fore. Acidity parries with the modest tannins to energise the finish.

Best enjoyed: Pairs perfectly with margherita pizza or lasagne. Serve sangiovese in a standard red wine glass, ideally at 15–18 degrees and always with friends.

RRP $30 | Drink to 2028 | | Shop this wine

Robert Stein Winery

Family on tractor in vineyard

Chief winemaker Jacob Stein says: Since 1976, Robert Stein Winery in Mudgee has produced award-winning Australian wines. We embrace regenerative farming and blend innovation with tradition. With a strong focus on riesling due to our long history with the varietal, we also produce an array of reds, whites, and fortified wines. Mudgee wines are known for their rich flavours, balanced acidity and distinctive regional characteristics that capture the essence of our terroir.

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
JS. Mudgee's unique terroir, characterised by its altitude, climate, and soil composition has a profound influence on our wines. The cool nights and warm days allow for slow ripening, resulting in grapes with optimal flavour development and balanced acidity. This terroir-driven approach is evident in our wines, where we focus on long-living single vineyard wines with complexity and good fruit power. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
JS. Experience warm hospitality and flavourful food at our cellar door. Our tastings showcase award-winning wines alongside fresh produce from our regenerative farm and garden. Take in the view over our vineyard and explore our free vintage motorcycle display. It's not just about wine tastings; it's a genuine, immersive, and delicious experience.

Favourite local spot: There are so many great outdoor activities to do in our region, but my favourites are The Drip bushwalk and a swim in the Goulburn River State Conservation Area, which is just 30 minutes north of Mudgee. Dropping into one of our favourite cellar doors or microbreweries on the way home often finishes off a wonderful weekend in our region. 

Wine to try

Robert Stein bottleshot

2023 Robert Stein Dry Riesling

A classic dry riesling, with all the mouth puckering lime and fruit characters you would expect, leading to a crisp finish with incredible length. This wine will age beautifully.

Best enjoyed: This style of riesling is well suited to shellfish and seafood, especially fresh rock oysters. A brilliant aperitif wine.

RRP $40 | Drink to 2034+ | | Shop this wine

Short Sheep

Short Sheep winemaking processWinemaker and owner Tony Shadbolt says: Short Sheep was founded in 2001 after the purchase of 36 acres seven kilometres north of Mudgee, adjacent to the Huntington Estate and the Tallara/Abercorn vineyards. The name comes from the Babydoll Southdown Sheep farmed on the property, known for their short legs and big personalities. A 10-acre vineyard was established between 2002 and 2004 planted to shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. After supplying fruit to the much-missed Abercorn from 2004 to 2009, on-site winemaking commenced in 2010 and expanded to a 30-tonne crush in 2017 producing 2000 cases with a particular focus on red wines, especially shiraz. We produce small batch wines that are open fermented, hand plunged and basket pressed. Minimally fined and filtered, if at all, and hand-bottled. 

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
TS. I love the varietal and style diversity of the Mudgee Region. Viticulturally the region is borderline, a cool-warm climate with warm/hot days and mild/cool evenings providing the best of both growing conditions and allowing development of varietal character, flavour and colour intensity. Low fruit yields with minimal irrigation or dry grown. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
TS. Guests can expect an intimate and guided wine tasting with myself (the winemaker and owner). We have a monthly flavours palette with food pairing accompaniments. The tastings are informative and possibly entertaining!

Favourite local spot: Mudgee's best kept secret – not even the locals seem to be aware – is the Mudgee Common walking and bike trails adjacent to the Avisford Nature Reserve. A great place to clear one's head and raise the heart and breathing rate! Take the extreme Ant Hill black trail, and from there push onwards and upwards to the top ridge-line, along the fire trail to Mount Misery(!) for a panoramic view across Mudgee.

Wine to try

Short Sheep bottleshot

2017 Short Sheep Reserve du Patron Resurrection Shiraz

Exceptionally soft, smooth tannins and layered flavour complexity – wild berry bramble/briary fruit and subtle spice/pepper notes. The wine was further enhanced and rejuvenated via the ripasso method using the unpressed skins from our 2022 Shiraz, adding fresh red cherry notes and colour, and a hint of amarone character. Returned to American oak for a further 12 months; only 60 cases of this Resurrection release were produced.

Best enjoyed: Pair the 2017 with aromatic Moroccan/North African spiced lamb. It's best served with great friends between 15 and 18 degrees, preferably in RIEDEL Magnum or Vinum Syrah glasses.

RRP $45 | Drink to 2027 | | Shop this wine

ThumbPrint Wines

Man on tractor in vineyard

Vigneron Bob Christian says: Lyn and I entered the wine industry in 1995 when we purchased a vineyard in Mudgee established with chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon grapes. We added shiraz, then vermentino and savagnin blanc. Our first experience as vignerons was to sell grapes, however in 2001 we expanded to making wine, contracting an experienced Mudgee winemaker to make a cabernet sauvignon. The result was so good, we followed it up in 2002 with a chardonnay and in 2005 with a shiraz.

Bob’s thumbprint became the label when we opened a cellar door in 2005. The first vintage from the vermentino and savagnin blanc grapes in 2012 was such a delicious blend, we took it to a second fermentation in the bottle to produce a wonderful and unique vintage sparkling. We now also produce vintage sparkling chardonnay and shiraz.

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
BC. Mudgee has some excellent winemakers and we have been privileged to meet and work with a few of them on our wine making journey. The collaborative effort that exists between winemaker and vigneron is nothing less than fantastic. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
BC. Our cellar door welcomes you. You meet the owners who take you through an educational wine tasting experience. There are wonderful spaces on the property available for picnics – please phone ahead.

Favourite local spot: Mudgee has a lot to offer visitors. The Drip is a popular walking track in the Goulburn NP. A towering sandstone cliff face adorned with weeping grasses and ferns drips clear spring water into the river below. Great for picnics and the sandy riverbed is a great place for kids to paddle. It’s the perfect place for time out with a glass of ThumbPrint sparkling wine!

Wine to try

Thumbprint bottleshot

2014 ThumbPrint Wines Vermentino and Savagnin Blanc Vintage Sparkling 

First released in 2017, this Mudgee vintage sparkling is back for an encore. The addition of six years on lees has increased the complexity and texture that we adore in this Grande Cuvée. A multitude of fine beads carry the dry yet luscious flavours seamlessly across the palate. Well balanced with honey notes. 

Best enjoyed: Serve with oysters and shellfish or fish and chips. Alternatively, pair with a charcuterie board, cheese soufflé or fried chicken. We recommend drinking from a clear glass of white wine proportions, that draws down into the stem sufficiently to produce a focused stream of bubbles, or 'perlage'. In the cellar door, we use Vinotèque glasses by Luigi Bormioli. Serve at 8–12 degrees celsius.

RRP $50 | Drink to 2034 | | Shop this wine

Walter Wines

Two people sit in front of fire

Viticulturist Paul Walter says: Walter Wines, established in 1994, covers 80 hectares and captures the allure of Putta Bucca Estate and Federation Hill. In January 1901, residents of Mudgee gathered at Federation Hill for a traditional family celebration commemorating the birth of the Commonwealth. The estate features a selection of top-tier grape varieties such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling, and merlot.

H. What do you love about making wine in Mudgee?
PW. Mudgee boasts a vibrant winemaking legacy dating back to 1858, fostering a lively community where grape growers and winemakers work together. The annual Flavours of Mudgee event in September celebrates the region's top wines, culinary delights, and entertainment in a delightful showcase. 

H. What can guests expect from a visit to your cellar door?
PW. At Walter Wines, you will experience a laid-back ambiance, warm service, and a menu filled with local delights! Join us for a tasting session from Thursday to Monday and savour delicious pizzas, pies, and more. Meet Kristin, our cellar door maestro, who is eager to guide you through a wine journey or recommend the ideal bottle to complement your meal. Whether you fancy indoor seating or outdoor dining, our location boasts breathtaking views that are perfect for families, along with cosy weekend fires during the colder months.

Favourite local spot: After spending time in the vineyard, there's nothing quite like unwinding and savouring a late afternoon in the charming historic gold mining town of Gulgong, known as the '$10 town'. Explore federation-style buildings, impressive museums, and a variety of dining choices. 

Wine to try

Walter Wines

2018 Walter Wines Federation Hill Reserve Shiraz

Black cherry tea, huckleberry and cocoa nibs open to tanned leather and tobacco leaves. Coils of black and red berries unpinned by potting soil and cracked peppercorn. The 2018 is drinking beautifully with soft tannins and waves of acidity. – Shanteh Wale, Halliday Wine Companion. 

Best enjoyed: Pair with slow-cooked lamb shoulder with winter vegetables and High Valley Pesto Fetta. Decant and enjoy in your finest red wine glasses.

RRP $45 | Drink to 2030 | | Shop this wine


Top image credit: First Ridge