Southern Highlands Wineries: 6 vineyards in 6 months


We’ve been living in the Southern Highlands now for 12 years and while we are surrounded by so many fabulous vineyards and wineries, and we enjoy the delicious wines that come from them every week, there are still so many wineries we have yet to visit all these years later. I’m sure it’s the same for anyone that lives in a Gorgeous tourist destination, you take what’s in your backyard for granted and can all too often forget then spoils available to you.

I also get asked many times every week about the best places to eat and drink and stay in the Southern Highlands, so I was thrilled when the Southern Highlands Food & Wine Association (SHFWA) asked me to be their ambassador and showcase 6 wineries over 6 months for you guys. Lucky for me (and the family) there are so many we got to enjoy for the first time – and so many more out there for us to discover.

The SHFWA has created a great interactive map of Highlands wineries that is a really great tool for visitors and locals to use to plan out a tour or work out your next location for lunch and a tasting. You can check out the details of map here.

Each destination pops up with a helpful summary of the location and what you can expect (kid friend/pet friendly/groups/date/ladies lunch) as well as a link to their website and opening hours. Such a great way to get a snapshot of details in one easy place and to make your bookings from there.

There are a number of members in the association, but the 6 that I visited over the course of the 6 month ambassadorship were:

Eling Forest Estate
Joadja Estate
Cherry Tree Hill
Centennial Vineyards
Dawning Day
Artemis Wines

You can also check out all the highlights from my visits on Instagram stories here.

Each destination had its own unique drawcard and of course amazing range of delicious wines. My wine rack is filled with local delights I managed to bring home with me (although they are fast disappearing) and I met so many wonderful producers doing what they love despite so many tough years of fires, covid and floods. It was a privilege to meet these creative, dedicated growers and I am so happy to spread the word to you guys.


This hidden gem has a great café pumping with people passing through, or locals who visit their favourite haunt packed with casual dining of lots of home made cakes and coffees, hot breakfasts and lunch platters surrounded by beautiful gardens (open 7 days 8am-4pm). I’d grab lunch at the café in the sunshine and wander the beautiful gardens with the family – there’s also accommodation in the heritage buildings dating back to 1840. The winery is known for cooler climate wines: think pinot noir, we sampled an icy rose with our generous charcuterie. This would be a great place to stop with kids, dogs and bigger groups as there’s so much room for everyone to run around and definitely a better option if you were travelling to Canberra & beyond for some well priced homemade food is pretty surroundings

You can check out their website here.


Down the winding road to Joadja, you feel a long way from Berrima or Bowral (just 20 mins away) and the place was pumping with groups of people enjoying a tasting inside in the sunny warm space by the fire. The oldest winery in the Highlands this place would be great all year round…with warm and sunny spaces inside in the winter and LOTS of room outside to sit in the garden and enjoy when it’s warm. It’s VERY family friendly with a play area and a Vietnamese food truck that is there every Saturday & Sunday (open 11-4pm). You can order a cheese platter for your wine tasting online (I sampled the sparkling, pinot grigio, rosé and pinot noir) we took home the chards and pinot noir and enjoyed the people watching as groups of visitors hopped in and out of buses as they enjoyed their tours. I love the family friendly nature of this place and the local events they do too like $5 beers & glasses of wines and street food, music acts. A really fun place we will be back with some friends and kids to enjoy.

You can check out their website here.


I have always wanted to visit here as I am a fan of their wines and never have – known for its award-winning cool climate pinots and my favourite, a DELICIOUS chardonnay I may or may not have guzzled all Saturday night, Diana. I love how the wines are named after family members (Diana is Dave’s Mum, Annie, his wife etc). This is a 30-year family owned winery (producing grapes since 2003) perfect for big groups to sit amongst the wines and enjoy a really comprehensive tasting at the cellar door with gorgeous views of the Highland countryside. There’s food (cheeseboards & light lunches with bookings) and gorgeous indoor & alfresco tastings with lots of space for groups and kids to run around. Lucy and I tried the pinots (I grabbed at mixed 6 to bring home as they were SENSATIONAL) as well as some chardonnays and a new (to me) Fume Blanc which was excellent. I could have sat in that sunshine for a long time soaking up the huge vistas and delicious wines. Make sure you book in your tasting and enjoy with a group of friends. We will be back for sure – hope you get a chance to get out there for yourself to enjoy.

You can check out their website here.


Just 5 mins from Bowral town centre you will feel a million miles away as you enter the gorgeous gardens and vineyards of this Highlands Stalwart. Head in for a tasting (book in for larger groups) in the award winning, largest cellar door in our region and grab a cheese platter or charcuterie board and sample some of the fabulous wines from the biggest selection the highlands has on offer. Highlights (for me) were the chardonnays and pinots…grab a few bottles to take home obvs…then head into the restaurant next door for a coffee/lunch or high tea. Check their website for what’s on, when and make sure you make a booking in this popular spot. There’s often also popular literary events & weddings here too (you can see why!). The views of the gardens and vineyards and rolling hills really showcase the best of what’s on offer here in the Highlands. Wander the gardens with kids or dogs and leave down the sweeping driveway feeling like you’ve had a trip away!

You can check out their website here.


Now THIS is everything you want out of a small regional cellar door in the Highlands. Great design, beautiful location, happy family run staff and the CUTEST dog Kevin you’ll ever have the joy of meeting…amazing wine and delicious local produce. THIS IS IT! Lucy and I headed to @dawningdaywines in Exeter (open Friday & Saturday 11-5.30pm) we have long loved their wines and were excited to finally head to the cellar door (2022 best small cellar door in the Highlands) and meet Mike for a tasting & platter on a Sunny spring afternoon. The fire was roaring, the wines were flowing and the delicious local produce from @pines and @talluceapark were absolutely delicious. Stock up on amazing wines and produce (award winning preserves & sauces…2022 gold winner at the Royal Show). I grabbed some of the delicious Pinot & Italian Stallion as well as a rose and LOTS of pickles. Bookings recommended on Saturdays…this is really such a great spot to visit (and stay there’s on site accommodation as well)…add to your next visit and if you are local…get here for a Friday lunch STAT. And if you can’t come in person, you should head online and grab a few bottles. Their Chardonnay is one of my all time favourites. I’ll be back here again soon…even just to have Kevin the dog meet me at the car and walk me to and from the car.

You can check out their website here.


We booked a table online when we visited for a Sunday afternoon kid free date  (highly recommended on weekends or when it’s sunny) as you can literally perch on tables or on the grass in amongst the vines for a weekend session of award winning wines and spirits. I started with a Sicilian orange gin (so good!) & tonic (Rob had a pale ale) with a platter before moving onto a chardonnay (delicious) and pizza. Loved the garden and space they have created here: looks fantastic and would be the best place to come with kids, dogs, big groups of friends for a few hours. The pizza oven pumps out pizzas s well as grazing boards (make sure you book on the weekends as it gets busy) which you order at the counter while grabbing a wine…as well as live music on most weekends too. We will be back with the kids or a group for sure…you feel a million miles away. Open 7 days a week 11-4pm.

You can check out their website here.

I loved the opportunity to visit all these great wineries and I now have a passion to keep checking out the rest of the best we have in our region (and we have a lot!). There is something special to be able to play tourist in your own backyard. Now more than ever these producers need our support, from locals and visitors afar. They have struggled with the elements of the past few years and of course with covid so if you have a chance to visit them, please do so. If you have a chance to jump online and order some wine, do that too. Join their wine clubs and mailing lists, look out for their wines on wine lists and champion these amazing winemakers.

Thanks to the SHFWA for giving me a dream job for the past 6 months – it was a blast – cheers!

Do you have any favourite Southern Highlands Wineries you love?
How about a favourite wine from our region?

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