A number of distinctive environmental features means that Orange wineries have exceptional terroir to work with, starting with its striking elevation - at 600m to 1150m above sea level it is the highest wine region in Australia.
Formally accepted as a distinct geographic area since 1996, the Orange wine region encompasses a sweeping area of land throughout Orange NSW as well as Blayney and the Cabonne Shire. The mineral rich-hills are renowned for producing world-class Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Shiraz and emerging varietals such as Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
Follow the wine trail through swathes of farmland, vineyards and bush to discover Mount Canoblas, the extinct volcano that dominates the horizon. At least three separate eruptions took place 11 - 13 million years ago, which lifted and developed above the old sedimentary landforms of the Lachlan Fold Belt. These eruptions can be credited for the region’s unique blend of geology and soils. The ground is varied and composed of everything from limestone, shales and slate and greywacke overlain by basalt-rich soils. The mix creates free-draining soils that are mineral-rich to allow for the production of exceptional quality grapes.
The Orange wine region is defined as the area above 600m and can be usefully described as a circle around Orange. The Orange region is ideal for grape growing and winemaking because of the combination of geology, soils, climate and temperature. Together these factors combine to produce grapes and wine of distinct flavour and colour. The climate perhaps plays the biggest part in giving Orange some distinct natural advantages - the cool temperatures during the growing season coupled with dry autumn conditions are ideal for grape growing.
Mount Canobolas, an important geological feature also plays its part, not only giving the district its rich basalt soils but also, because of its altitude, giving greater reliability to the rainfall. The climate and soils also influence the selection of varieties for planting. The region is planted to 60% red wine varieties and 40% white wine varieties - which says something about the region but also says something about the national palate in the 21st century.