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The Hilltops region is centred on Young, perhaps better known for its magnificent cherries. If you can grow good cherries, then there’s a strong chance grapes will thrive, too. The biggest issue for the Hilltops is of infrastructure – be it wineries or cellar doors. Freeman Vineyard’s Brian Freeman and daughter Xanthe make their wines onsite with a focus on Italian varieties – as does another favourite, Grove Estate. The best time to visit the Hilltops is in the cherry season, from October to January, when things are really buzzing. Check out the National Cherry Festival in Young in December.
Peter Bourne

Image courtesy of Ballinaclash.


Star Cellar Door

0418 271 770

Cath and Peter Mullany have been innovating and evolving their orchard for 20 years, and the challenges of the past year were met with characteristic determination and grit. Their efforts were rewarded when their 2019 Tom Cabernet Sauvignon received top honours for Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2020 NSW Wine Awards. There’s more to Ballinaclash than wine though; there’s pick-your-own cherries, pie-making classes, and a wide range of jams, prunes, relishes and sauces – even a verjuice. The setting is rustic, the welcome warm and inviting, with Cath leading the way. Be sure to check opening times before you lob up to this highly innovative farm gate and cellar door.

OUTSTANDING WINE: 2019 Ballinaclash Tom Cabernet Sauvignon, A$27

Grove Estate
Best Large Cellar Door

(02) 6382 6999

Trandari Wines
Best Small Cellar Door

(02) 6383 9262

Freeman Vineyards
Best Tasting Experience

0429 310 309