Whether it’s red or white, craft beer or crisp cider, this regional wine and drinks festival guide will have your ‘poison’ covered (and keep your calender full throughout the year). Happy travels and cheers! (words: Steve Madgwick)

Crush Festival, Adelaide Hills, January

Why? Celebrates local wines but also branches out comprehensively into cuisine, fashion and art shows in intimate Hills’ venues. See: Crush Festival

The Harvest Festival, McLaren Vale, January

Why? South Australian epicurean delights (‘Joys of the Fleurieu’) blended with a relaxed outdoor Australian summer ambiance. See: Harvest Festival

Cellar Door Wine Festival, Adelaide

Why? Sample a wide range of drops from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley et al and then maybe plan a trip afterwards to visit your favourite. See: Cellar Door Festival

Wine Time, NSW Southern Highlands

Why? Check out crisp cool climate wines in around 15 boutique cellar doors dotted around the chocolate-box picturesque highlands. See: Wine Time

Wine Harvest Festival, Canberra

Why? Visit the harvest of one of Australia’s most underrated wine regions, featuring a solid variety of drops from 140 vineyards and 33 wineries (all within 35 minutes of the capital)

Grampians Grape Escape, Victoria

Why? As far as regional wine fares go, it doesn’t get more indulgent than this, with around 100 of Western Victoria’s wine and food artisans vying for your palate in a suitably dramatic national park setting. See: Grampians Grape Escape

Noosa Food & Wine Festival

Why? Okay, so this one is famous for its food, but wine is certainly not ignored either. And it doesn’t get any bigger than this on Sunshine Coast’s social scene. Great for celeb-chef spotting! See: Noosa Food & Wine

Food, Wine & A Taste of Port (Douglas)

Why? We love an open-air tropical vino-fest and this one unfolds under the stars (and illuminated palm fronds) on Port Douglas’s foreshore.

Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend

Why? A fabulously relaxed wine region, a grape pip’s throw from Adelaide, which knows how to execute seriously international standard Riesling. Why wouldn’t you?

High Country Harvest, Victoria

Why? An alpine twist on your usual wine and food events with energetic activities thrown in, from horse-riding to bee-keeping classes, set in the sublime autumnal High Country landscape. See: High Country Harvest

McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Food & Wine Festival, June Long Weekend

Why? A Mediterranean-style climate, a choice of 65 cellar doors, some of the most awe-inspiring coastal views in Australia and a long weekend… hmmm, tough one! See: Mc Laren Vale info

Glenrowan Wine Region Trails, Tastings & Tales Food & Wine Festival

Why? Intimate but comprehensive festival with plenty of quirky hands-on highlights, such as Muscat blending workshops, in a region that knows its way around a full-bodied red.

UnWINEd, Riverina, June Long Weekend

Why? Combine a long-weekend roadtrip to this region, full of family-owned vineyards, that claims to produce one in every four bottles of wine sold in Australia. Prepare your for farm-fresh produce too. See: UnWined

Caxton Street Seafood & Wine Festival, Brisbane

Why? For the delectable challenge of matching Queensland wines with juicy seafood from 20 Brisbane food outlets on a lively thoroughfare – it draws the long-weekend crowds! See: Caxton Street Seafood & Wine Festival

Winter Reds, Adelaide Hills

Why? Flamboyant and hearty reds, misty mornings, blazing open fires, and the aroma of baking food – it all feels a little Continental. Rug up and go forth! See: Adelaide Hills Wine

Mudgee Wine & Food Festival, NSW

Why? Tree-changers’ paradise and honey capital Mudgee has blossomed into a wine region in its own right. If for some reason the wine is not to your taste, the rolling landscape and gourmet produce may be. See: Mudgee Wine

Heathcote Wine & Food Festival, Vic

Why? Within striking distance of Bendigo and Melbourne (by shuttle), ‘Shiraz Heaven’ offers a fine blend of tasting seminars and master-classes for the budding aficionado. See: Heathcote Wine Growers

Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival, NSW

Why? Around 30 wineries get involve this Hunter festival, reborn in 2013. There’s also a wide variety of beer, cider and, of course, food on the menu at this Crowne Plaza hosted event. See: Hunter Valley Wine Festival

Orange Wine Week, NSW

Why? A charming higher altitude, cool climate wine region festival set in the crisp spring of NSW’s Central West. Keep an eye out for the week night market and terroir tour. See: Taste Orange

Toast to the Coast

Why? Why not take a Monday sickie and combine this cool climate wine weekend with a Melbourne Cup soiree, just up the Princes Highway, on the Tuesday. Oh, there are impressive wine, food and music circulating too. See: Toast to the Coast

Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Why? There are plenty of smaller scale events on this world-class wine region’s calender, but the Escape is the go-to festival that most of the wineries and vineyards rally around. A comprehensive program! See: Gourmet Escape

Taste of Tasmania, Hobart

Why? The best of Tassie wine (and produce) enjoyed over summer with the hoopla and energy of the Sydney to Hobart crowd. See: Taste of Tasmania


Beer & cider


Schützenfest, Adelaide, January

Why? This annual Adelaide event, based on a traditional German festival, meaning Shooting Festival’, is more about celebrating beer than tracing the heritage of its roots. Like a mini-Oktoberfest, German food, beverages, dances and music abound. See: Schutzenfest

Ballarat Beer Festival/Bendigo Beer Festivals, Vic, Jan/Nov

Why? For craft beer and cider connoisseurs that like hearty ‘dude food’ and plenty of entertainment (and a kids’ zone to give you a rest), these two are for you. See: bendigocraftbeerfestival.com.au

South West Craft Beer Festival, Busselton, February

Why? Proof that wine Mecca Margaret River has even more to offer indulgence. Sample the region’s finest beers and ciders from boutique producers such as Cheeky Monkey and Custard Apple Cider. See: South West Beer Fest

Great Australian Beer Festival, Geelong, February

Why? This one is b-i-g, claiming Australia’s largest ‘al fresco beer garden’ and featuring around 150 craft brews of many persuasions. See: gabfgeelong.com.au

BrewsVegas, Brisbane

Why? This craft beer carnival is only in its first year, but there are 35 venues already involved and around 90 beer-focussed events happening across Queensland’s capital. See: Brews Vegas

Bitter & Twisted Int Boutique Beer Festival, Maitland Gaol, NSW

Why? Live music, craft beer and cider, Hunter Valley wines for sampling, all in the ground of an old gaol. Organise a tour of the facilities in the unlikely event that the rest of the action hasn’t taken of you. See: Bitter and Twisted

Beer Lovers’ Week, Hobart

Why? A trip down to the Apple Isle in spring combined with quirky beer nerd events such as ‘island hopping: comparative beer tasting’ and a ‘grain versus grape’ dinner. See: Beer Lovers’ Week


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