The best places to go wine tasting in Sydney
There are more than a dozen wine regions dotted around NSW. But if you don’t have time to leave the city, you can taste the best of them right here in Sydney.
The only fully functioning winery in central Sydney, Urban Winery serves wines from its A.Retief label, named after founder and winemaker Alex Retief. With grapes sourced from cool climate vineyards in Tumbarumba, Hilltops and Gundagai, they produce reds, whites and rosé that are available for tastings at the cellar door and in the attached wine bar. There’s a selection of tasty snacks from around NSW to pair with your wines, like salami from the Northern Rivers, cheese from the Hunter Valley and olives from Crookwell.
Handpicked Cellar Door started in the Capella Valley of the Mornington Peninsula in 2013. They now operate vineyards all over Australia and work with boutique growers to create a range of regionally expressive wines. Taste them all at the cellar door, set inside a restored warehouse close to the famous Spice Alley. A wine flight can be customised to your preferences and you’ll be guided by one of the expert staff. Handpicked also runs monthly themed wine tastings focusing on regions or varietals as well as yoga and wine workshops, live music nights and masterclasses on topics like wine collecting.
A beloved Surry Hills institution, Mille Vini serves up classic Italian dishes, handcrafted pasta and boutique Italian wines six nights a week. But if you want to delve further into the world of Italian wine, sign up for one of their Wine Master Classes. Each explores a specific region of Italy with a renowned winemaker, taking you through the regional varietals and sharing wine tasting tips. There’s also a grazing table of charcuterie and Italian cheese to snack on during the tasting, and a light dinner served afterwards. An exceptional night out for wine lovers.
Imagine that your favourite bottle shop set up a table where you could take a seat, talk about wine, taste a few styles and then take a bottle home. That’s exactly the vibe at Cittavino. The sommelier has worked at some of Sydney’s best restaurants, curating top-notch wine lists from around the world, and brings their expertise to this tiny wine bar. Everything is available by the glass, giving you the opportunity to taste wines you won’t see anywhere else in Australia.
Owned by wine writer Mike Bennie and hospo heavyweight Lou Dowling, P&V Paddington is the second outpost of their successful bar/bottle shop combination. Specialising in natural and organic wines, there are free in store tastings available every day and the bar staff will open different bottles, so you’ll get the chance to taste something unique every time. There’s even a courtyard out the back if you want to buy a bottle to enjoy right away. P&V also runs regular wine-tasting events and masterclasses both here and at the Newtown store, focusing on different style (like skin contact wines) or regions.
If you want to take your wine tasting a little more seriously, book in to the Sydney Wine Centre. This is serious wine appreciation. You’ll taste between nine and 12 wines at the one-off classes, each themed around a country or wine variety. Wine courses run over two or four nights and there are options for absolute beginners or wine buffs wanting to increase their knowledge. There are also useful classes in things like ‘how to read a wine list’, so you’ll be able to impress your friends at your next dinner.