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 calendar full throughout the year). Happy travels and cheers!
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.
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!
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.
McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Food & Wine Festival
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Beer & cider
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.
Ballarat Beer Festival
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.
South West Craft Beer Festival, Busselton
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.
Great Australian Beer Festival, Geelong
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
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.
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.