would you like a Chardonnay with that? – Sutton Forest Estate Wines

December 20th, 2008 No comments

Fine wine and Big Macs don’t have much in common. But just imagine if you could sit in quiet, civilised surroundings, sipping on a top-notch wine, accompanied by cheese and antipasto – while the kids enjoy their burgers, fries and shakes.

have a happy meal at the vineyard

Imagine if you could pick up at the drive-thru then set down at a winery cellar door almost under the golden arches.

This parental dream sounds way too good to be true.

What if it was at the busiest McDonalds outlet in Australia?

fine wine

wine & cheese

Unbelievably, this dream does exist, right now, in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

Everyone who travels the Hume Highway south from Sydney knows that halfway to Canberra they pass the Sutton Forest service center, Roadhouse and McDonalds. And for those with children it is a traditional food stop on the way to or from Canberra, the snow, or any other southern destination. So popular in fact, that Sutton Forest is the busiest McDonalds in Australia.

What very few travelers realise is that as you pull out of the Sutton Forest McDonalds you can pull into the Sutton Forest Estate Winery. The secret is to ignore the “local residents only” sign on the access road and just drive into the vineyard. There you can park without getting monstered by coaches and trucks, sit under the trees or inside the cellar door, and try some truly excellent wines.

exit McDonalds and turn in here!

exit McDonalds and turn in here!

The Lo Russo family who run Sutton Forest Estate Wines have been there for nearly 30 years, and in 2002 they turned to their Italian heritage and planted a range of grape vines including Pinot Noir and SanGiovese varieties. These vines are now producing premium cool-climate wines, which you can taste on your Sutton Forest travel stop, and then take a bottle or two of your favorites home with you.

And, if you are touring the southern portion of the Southern Highlands Wine Trail, Sutton Forest Estate Wines is easy to find – just look for the golden arches!

St Maur Southern Highlands Estate Winery at Exeter

December 20th, 2008 2 comments
St Maur cantina style cellar door

St Maur's cantina style cellar door

Towards the southern end of the Southern Highlands Wine Trail is St Maur Estate, a unique vineyard and cellar door with the feel of a Northern Italian cantina. 

St Maur is at the corner of Old Argyle Road and Sallys Corner Road at Exeter, about five kilometers from the well known Sutton Forest service center, Roadhouse and McDonalds on the Hume Highway halfway between Sydney and Canberra. The estate itself goes back nearly 200 years to the days of the famous Australian explorer John Oxley. Since 1976 the land has been owned by the Panizzutti family, who planted the St Maur vineyard.

St Maur's latest Chardonnay

St Maur Chardonnay

The St Maur cantina cellar door is a delightfully atmospheric place to stop for a glass of wine and a chat, and the wines are among the best in the Highlands. Best known for their Pinot Noir, which is stocked by some of Sydney’s finest restaurants, St Maur also produces a Cabernet Merlot and an outstanding Chardonnay.

Alicia Keys concert at Bowral in the Southern Highlands on December 14

December 2nd, 2008 No comments

The multi-talented Alicia Keys is appearing live in “a day on the green” concert at Centennial Vineyards on Sunday 14th December 2008. Tickets are still available at TicketMaster!

Alicia Keys at Centennial Vineyards in the Southern Highlands

Alicia Keys at Centennial Vineyards in the Southern Highlands

 Alicia will be supported by the smooth Hip Hop and Soul fusion of Lowrider, followed by the sensational teenage American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.

Alicia Keys is one of the all-time great R&B singer-song writers, and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide since her 2001 debut. Her latest album, As I Am, is Alicia’s most popular release to date in Australia.  An engaging performer, Alicia Keys is also a talented piano and cello player, as well being actor in a number of TV shows and several recent movies, appearing alongside such well known stars as Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Hudson.

The theme song for the current James Bond movie “A Quantum of Solace” is a duet recorded by Alicia Keys and Jack White (of The White Stripes fame).

And now Alicia is appearing live at a beautiful Southern Highlands Winery just an hour or so from Sydney! To book your Alicia Keys tickets before they are sold out click here: TicketMaster

Leonard Cohen in the Southern Highlands on February 1st

November 20th, 2008 No comments

In his first tour of Australia in 24 years, Leonard Cohen will play “a day on the green” concert at Centennial Vineyards in Bowral on Sunday 1st February 2009.

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Leonard will be supported by The Triffids and Friends, and eight-time ARIA Award winner: the great Paul Kelly.

To book your Leonard Cohen tickets before they are sold out click here: TicketMaster 

Leonard is an iconic musician and poet who has written such magnificent songs as Hallelujah, Bird On a Wire, Sisters of Mercy, Suzanne, First We Take Manhattan, Everybody Knows, and many others.

A hypnotic performer, Leonard Cohen has received rave reviews right across Europe, the UK and Canada. And now he is appearing live at a beautiful Southern Highlands Winery!

music in the vineyard

music in the vineyard

This is a once in a lifetime concert -Leonard Cohen, Paul Kelly, The Triffids all on one bill – book your tickets with TicketMaster before they are gone!

Here is a testimonial from the future King of England:


“I tell you who I also think is wonderful is a chap called Leonard Cohen. Do you know him? He’s remarkable. I mean, the orchestration is fantastic and the words, the lyrics and everything, he’s a remarkable man.”

– Prince Charles






Joadja Winery

November 16th, 2008 No comments

Where do you start on the Southern Highlands Wine Trail?

How about at the first winery established in the Highlands!

Joadja Vinyards

The Joadja Vineyard and Winery  is the original, and according to many the best, winery in the Southern Highlands. It has one of the most attractive and rustic “cellar doors”, and as you would expect from a vineyard and winery that has been in operation for over 20 years, the wines at Joadja are of consistently high quality.

Joadja started the whole cool climate wines movement in the Southern Highlands, and they now produce a wide range of wines and even liqueurs. Their flagship wine is the Joadja Cabernet/Malbec, and their Sauvignon Blanc is a multiple medal winner. Joadja also produce Cabernet/Merlot, Cabernet/Sangiovese, Chardonay, Rose and more.

Joadja Brambelini liqueur

And what about those liqueurs? Joadja Brambelini is a fruit liqueur made from fresh local boysenberries. It is not only good to drink: an elegant bottle of Brambelini makes an excellent and unique gift.

Then there is  Joadja Autumn, a late picked, lightly botrytis Sauvgnon Blanc that is sweet, smooth and refined – perfect for summer.

With all the fine wines at Joada, the best bet is to drop in there and try them for yourself..

Plus you can order online from their website at www.joadjawinery.com.au.