Cellar doors judged on tastings, food and overall experience

Andrew Williams with Mitch, Ben, Loretta and Charlie Svenson of De Salis Wines.
Andrew Williams with Mitch, Ben, Loretta and Charlie Svenson of De Salis Wines.

SIX of the Orange wine region’s cellar doors have been judged to lead the field in their tasting experiences by one of the country’s leading food, wine and travel magazines.

Gourmet Traveller selects five cellar doors from each of the country’s wine regions each year through an anonymous judging process – this year, Swinging Bridge was the star cellar door, Angullong Wines took out best small cellar door, Philip Shaw Wines the best large cellar door, Angullong Wines took out best small cellar door, Philip Shaw Wines the best large cellar door, Borrodell Vineyard was judged to have the best food, De Salis Wines was named the best tasting experience, while Word of Mouth Wines had the best other experience. 

Angullong general manager Ben Crossing said the brand’s move to open a cellar door in Millthorpe almost 10 years ago, rather than its vineyard 40 kilometres outside Orange, remained one of its best decisions.

“It’s a great little venue, it’s very intimate,” he said. 

“With the growth in Millthorpe, there’s a lot going on and the cellar door is part of the experience.”

Mr Crossing said while most residents knew where the cellar door was, it still benefited from passing trade. 

Gaye Stuart-Nairne and Borry Gartrell of Borrodell.

Gaye Stuart-Nairne and Borry Gartrell of Borrodell.

Borrodell co-owner Gaye Stuart-Nairne said the award was the result of a concerted effort to develop the cellar door’s menu, including recruiting chef Richard Learmont from Sydney. 

“To get an award is quite exciting for the hard work we put in,” she said.

“I personally feel wine needs food with it so it’s important to have quality food as well.” 

De Salis owner Charlie Svenson was happy to be named in the awards for another year.

“I’m a winemaker and my sons are winemakers so they meet the family,” he said.

“We love hospitality and we love people and we like having discussions about wine, but the joy for us is making wine and the award is recognition of that.”

Word of Mouth Wines sets store by its pottery studio and livestock.

Word of Mouth Wines sets store by its pottery studio and livestock.

Word of Mouth Wines owner Peter Gibson believed recent efforts to add a pottery studio, gallery space and sheep to the cellar door had set it apart.

“We’ve made a lot of effort to make it interesting and all good fun,” he said. 

“We were very excited for a number of reasons,” he said. 

“We’ve been working seven days a week for a very long time when a lot of cellar doors only opened on Saturdays and Sundays – it gives people a real destination to come to at times other than weekends.”

Philip Shaw Wines was contacted for comment. 

Read our interview with Swinging Bridge later this week. 

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