In a show of optimism after the challenges the wine industry has faced in the past few years, a new crop of cellar doors have recently opened or are preparing to open around Orange.
RIKARD Wines at Nashdale, Mayfield Vineyard on Icely Road and ChaLou Wines at Emu Swamp have all opened new cellar doors in recent weeks.
Byrne Farm on Cargo Road has plans to open a new cellar door by Christmas, weather permitting, and Printhie Wines' new cellar door and 50-seat restaurant should be open by early in the new year.
"In the last seven years I've been amazed at what Orange as a region has been able to achieve and we're super excited about what the future holds," said Nadja Wallington, who has opened ChaLou with her partner Steve Mobbs.
"The wine region here has been really good at having a long term vision and working together.
"It felt like there was a sense of opportunity for us."
At Nashdale, small-batch winery RIKARD Wines' were finally able to open their brand new cellar door on the last weekend of October after delaying for more than a year due to smoke taint from the bushfires.
"We didn't make wine in 2020," said cellar door manager Carine Miller.
"We were actually able to use the space in 2020 but we didn't have a vintage."
But with a good 2021 harvest and wine to share (she says they've bottled a couple of "beautiful wines" from this year's harvest, including a riesling and a chardonnay and have others developing) along with the lifting of travel restrictions, the time was finally right.
At the Mayfield Vineyard on Icely Road, which changed hands earlier this year, the cellar door is back open after a break of almost five years, offering tastings from Wednesday-Saturday.
New owners Charles Simons and the Easthams are reinvigorating the historic property formerly owned by the Thomas family, and have also reopened Mayfield's boutique cottage accommodation.
President of the Orange Region Vignerons Association (ORVA) Tom Ward said he hoped some kind of 'normal' might return in 2022.
"The region is starting to gain momentum but I suppose it is with some trepidation as we have been down this pathway before.
"All cellar doors are continuing to make sure community is at the forefront with COVID safety being our top priority. "
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Have your say in a letter to the editor using the form below