Vino Express 2017: a curated luxury wine & food travel experience
“An ‘old-fashioned luxury’ experience”
These were the words of one of our gorgeous guests immediately after stepping off the train from Sydney at the Orange Railway Station platform. It’s an early start for departure, with the only train heading west out into the countryside from the city leaving at 7am each morning, but we filled our scenic five hour journey with a ‘Prosecco Piccolos & Pastries’ breakfast (thanks to See Saw Wines and Racine Bakery), followed by a sparkling wine-tasting on board with Ed Swift from Swift Sparkling.
First stop after disembarking in the cool-climate wine growing region of Orange in New South Wales was De Salis Wines, for an intimate ‘behind-the-scenes’ barrel to bottle experience with vigneron and owner, Charlie Svenson and son Mitch. This was followed by a wine-tasting of the impressive De Salis range out on the deck overlooking the vineyard.
Our group thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of Simon Forsyth at Ferment, our local urban cellar door representing many award-winning local boutique vineyards that are usually not accessible. Hit of the day was the Zinga Rosé!
We started the day in style with a sparkling breakfast at Union Bank Restaurant & Wine Bar, to the thorough delight of our guests. Angullong sparkling is most definitely a great start to the day!
Then we started our ‘Wine in the Vines’ adventure, one of the signature events of the Orange Wine Festival and included as part of the Vino Express packaged experience. First stop, Orange Mountain Wines for an introduction to the Viognier variety of grapes and an insight into the French-style of adding white Viognier to Shiraz.
A wander down into the vineyards…
And a charcuterie board featuring all locally made products, and wine-tasting with Orange Mountain Wines owners Terry & Julie Dolle.
Our next Wine in the Vines stop was at Swinging Bridge Wines for lunch and a wine-tasting, starting with a chat with vigneron and owner Tom Ward out amongst the vines at bud burst in Spring to learn about the importance of thinning the vines to make great wine.
To shake things up, Tom hosted a wine spitting competition – which umm…sounds pretty terrible but it was incredibly hilarious. Our photographer laughed the hardest on the day [and anyone else notice it’s the ladies who are the naughtiest?!]
However in the end, it was big Mal who was the champion wine spitter on the day. Awesome work Mal, and proud recipient of a box of incredible Swinging Bridge wines. WINNING!
A walk and talk through a holistic vineyard with vigneron James Sweetapple at Cargo Road Wines was a highlight for the Vino Express group, and gave them a real connection and insight into life on a sustainably-managed farm and into winemaking. The tour was nicely rounded out with a visit to the charming Heifer Station Wines before boarding the train back to Sydney. Rumour has it the exclusive Vino Express carriage was the life and soul of the train on the way home :0)
IN THE MEDIA:
VINO EXPRESS – AN ‘OLD-FASHIONED LUXURY’ EXPERIENCE
Central Western Daily, 20 October 2017
Orange Railway Station was packed with travellers and visitors on Friday afternoon as the Vino Express pulled into town. The daily XPT service included an extra carriage packed with 41 people keen to explore the Orange wine region. A curated experience including the night markets, winery tours and Wine in the Vines awaits the travellers, and they were treated to a masterclass on sparkling wine by Printhie Wines’ director Ed Swift on the journey.
“We didn’t know Orange was great for sparkling wine or chardonnay,” Sydney’s Vicki Waugh said. “Ed Swift was very informative, entertaining and knowledgeable. From what we learned, we could be in the Champagne region in France. We’re very impressed.”