I have been a little absent here lately because I have had a wonderful visit from my parents!!! WHOOO HOOO
They have been staying for 3 weeks and unfortunately our wonderful guest left today to head back home to South Africa. I will be doing a short blog about their visit overall but I just wanted to do a quick post to rave about the very fun Shoalhaven Winter Wine Festival that we went enjoyed on Saturday.
This is the first wine festival that I have been to and even though I didn’t partake in the actual wine tasting as I was the designated driver, I really enjoyed the whole day. Basically there are 12 wineries in the Shoalhaven that are part of the festival and you can either book tickets on the buses (provided by Stuarts Coaches) to drive you from one winery to another or you can choose your own route and drive it yourself.
We chose to just do a few of the local wineries close to us as we didn’t quite have time to do them all, in fact I am not sure how anyone can actually get round to doing them all.
Our first stop took us to Silos Winery and boy was it an enjoyable start to our tour. Hubby couldn’t rave about the wine enough and considering he doesn’t actually drink a lot of wine that’s quite a compliment. The gentleman behind the bar was fantastic and took time to explain how it all worked and heaps of info about each wine. He was so really good. Their grounds and buildings are beautiful and even though we didn’t do the tours or cellar talks it was really impressive that they had them on. We had the chance to have a taste of some delicious Alpaca meat and yummy chocolates at the stalls they had there. There is even a lovely restaurant which is open 7 days a week (as far as I could tell) but because we arrived there first and it wasn’t quite lunch time we didn’t have a chance to see what the food was like.
At this winery I loved the fact that there was more to do there than just taste wine (mostly cause I didn’t get a chance to have a taste). But they gave you a lovely overall experience and if we had been more organized this would have been the ideal winery to take a picnic too as the lawns are very lush and the views are gorgeous. The only negative thing I have to say is it was a bit confusing as to where to go and what exactly there was on (what time the talks were and if you could use the segways)… maybe a bit of a notice somewhere would have been good and some music for ambience would have been lovely.
Our next stop was the Crooked River Wines. Did not love this winery at all, not that it was a terrible experience. I think we were just expecting more considering how lovely the previous one was. The winery is very modern so not quite what I was imagined it would be, for some reason wineries for me should always be old stone buildings with wood everywhere. The people working behind the bar were a bit sour and the first wine they served wasn’t very tasty, which they then told us was because it wasn’t properly mature yet… not the best way to sell a winery! The views are AMAZING but they had a lovely little café that no one was operating which was disappointing as I think they could have not only made a bit of money from it but it would have encourage people to hang around a bit more and make the whole experience a bit more pleasant. They did have a guys playing the keyboard but to be honest it was not very good and really didn’t add anything to help with the vibe, they would have been better off playing a music off a CD.
The one thing they did have going for them is their amazing port. It’s the only thing I did have a very small sip of because it just smelt so delicious and it really was fantastic, we ended up buying the chocolate flavoured one and my parents got the strawberry one. So yummy and definitely worth putting up with the average experience of the winery.
Our 3rd stop took us to Coolangatta Estate, I was expecting great things from this winery due to how well known it is and its lovely history. Again I was a little disappointed, not as much as the previous one though. It has some really lovely old buildings, lots of historical information, an oyster bar and a big restaurant so I was looking forward to experiencing it all but unfortunately when we got there the restaurant was closed and everything seemed to be winding down even thought we arrived just before 4pm (the festival was from 10am – 5pm). It almost made it feel like we had arrived to late and considering how many wineries are in the festival I would have expected them to stay open right till the end to accommodate all those who were still passing through. Plus this place is open 7 days a week and is pretty well established so I really expected more.
On a plus side the husband did seem to like the wine although he didn’t purchase any so it wasn’t the best he had tasted during the festival and the place was beautiful, if we had more time I would like to have had a quick walk around the grounds.
Our last stop was by far my favourite and somewhere I will definitely be going again and taking and visitors to, is the Two Figs Winery! On arriving the first thing we noticed was the magical view and spectacular sunset. But this was quickly interrupted by the festivities, a roving band, The Hot Potato, was getting heaps of attention (mostly cause they were fantastic and their enthusiasm was contagious). This is probably the only winery where people were actually hanging around afterwards buying bottles of wine to enjoy on site and just having a great night without feeling like they have to move on to the next spot. They had also organised a mobile pizza stall and a pie stand so it meant there was something to eat and I could get a nice cup of coffee ( which is always nice for the designated driver). And of course it got freezing cold when the sun set so the fact that they had a fire going made a huge difference too, although they should consider having more around the facilities next year.
But not only was the ambience, food and staff fantastic but the wine was pretty amazing too. So much so that my parents bought a bottle to enjoy right there and then. If u are passing through and enjoy a nice white wine you have to try their “Sunday Afternoon” wine it comes highly recommended. In fact it’s the only place I took photos at because it was so beautiful and so much fun.
But I must admit even though we didn’t get a chance to see all the wineries who were partaking in the festivities this time around we will definitely be doing it again next year and trying some of the other ones instead… But I am sure we will end the night at the Two Figs again 🙂