This week our invited blogger talks through a new trend in enotourism in Australia: that of combining wine tasting with viewing art exhibitions. Now you can enjoy a canvas or three with your Cabernet Sauvignon…

While visiting vineyards and sampling some of the fine wines on offer around Australia is a fun activity for any holiday, these days many cellar doors are providing patrons with a more than just tipples to try. Over the years an increasing number of vineyards have added wine tours, quality restaurants, coffee bars and now even art collections, to their cellar doors. From private displays of artworks to incorporated galleries, there is a growing number of locations in states across Australia where you can enjoy a variety of artworks while you sip on a tasty drop. If you want to visit some outstanding vineyards around Australia that offer not just the standard tasting experience but also an impressive art collection, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Read on for the best wineries around the country to add to your next holiday itinerary. Below are three of them. I also read about Margaret River here.

The beauty of Australia’s vineyards (Photo by F Delventhal)

Vasse Felix in the Margaret River

If you plan to choose a place to stay in the Margaret River region for your next holiday then make sure you visit the acclaimed Vasse Felix winery while you’re there. Established in 1967, the company became one of the founding wine estates of the Margaret River and specialises in cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay varietals. Travellers visiting the Margaret River region can enjoy some time at the Vasse Felix vineyard (open seven days per week) where they can taste the range of wines at the cellar door, eat in the quality restaurant and also browse the on-site art gallery.

The gallery features a seasonal program of exhibitions taken from the prestigious Holmes à Court Collection of art, as well as an extensive local-artist sculpture walk outside in the grounds. The Holmes à Court Collection began in the 1960s and grew from the family’s interest in Indigenous and other Australian art. The internationally-renowned collection now features over 4,000 artworks, many of which can be seen at the variety of Vasse Felix exhibitions held each year.

TarraWarra Estate in the Yarra Valley

Situated in the scenic Yarra Valley in Victoria, TarraWarra Estate produces a variety of quality pinot noir and chardonnay wines from grapes that are grown, hand-picked, vinified and aged on the 400-hectare property. TarraWarra was founded in 1983 by the Besen family and revolves around a respect for sustainability and the land. Committed art enthusiasts, founders Eva and Marc Besen began collecting art in the 1950s. Since then, they have gone on to open Australia’s first significant privately-funded public museum.

In 2003 the TarraWarra Museum of Art opened and, with a charter to exhibit Australian art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day, has been educating and entertaining visitors ever since. Eva and Marc Besen donated at least 142 artworks from their own private collection to the on-site gallery, and visitors to the cultural facility can take in works from renowned Australian artists such as John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, Russell Drysdale, Fred Williams, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan.

Rochford Wines in the Yarra Valley

Producing quality pinot noir, among other varietals, Rochford Wines is located less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne in the scenic Yarra Valley. Often associated with the popular Day on the Green music festivals that have been held at the vineyard over the years, as well as many other notable live events, Rochford features a comprehensive cellar door, a restaurant, wine club, retail shop, cafe and patio, natural amphitheatre, an observation tower and an art gallery.

Rochford winery is open seven days per week and visitors to the venue can enjoy tasting one of the company’s wines while taking in the many renowned Australian artworks in the elevated Pinot Gallery or in the on-site restaurant. There is a variety of sculptures on display in outside areas of the vineyard. Rochford runs a series of exhibitions in the gallery space each year. Past artists that have been featured include Craig Penny, Deborah Halpern, Jill McKenzie, Marcus Dillon, Philip Stokes and Terry Price.

More and more wineries around Australia are incorporating additional elements into their cellar doors to attract visitors and help showcase not just Aussie wines but also artists at the same time. Visit one of these fine vineyards and you’re sure to enjoy the many facilities that each location has on offer.

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