Wine, Cheese and Blondie? Music Festivals Get Civilised

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Nov 04, 2016

by ALEX GREIG, Online Writer

Live concerts always seem like a great idea, until you’re stuck in a queue for the toilet, you’ve paid too much for plastic cups of tepid beer or you’re being body-slammed by an overenthusiastic fan. At moments like these, listening to the studio-recorded version of [insert your favourite artist here] at home with a bottle of wine seems like a much, much better prospect.

But there’s a solution, music- and personal-space lovers, a place with no sweaty moshpits, no warm beer that took an hour to procure, and best of all, the prospect of returning home with fond memories – and a boot full of wine. Wineries around the country have quietly diversified into some of the best live venues around. Here’s our selection.

Bird in Hand, Adelaide Hills

There are no crowded moshpits at a winery gig. Here, you set up a deck chair among the vines, pour a glass of wine and take it all in – civilised, eh? Bird In Hand asks that guests BYO picnic rug; the winery can provide the rest, including antipasti boxes, barbecue boxes and other picnic-style foods plus, of course, wine. Beneath the twinkling stars at Adelaide Hills winery Bird in Hand some of Australia’s best musicians have performed. Next up, in December, its Missy Higgins with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The winery also has an art gallery and an on-site restaurant.


Corner Bird in Hand and Pfeiffer roads, Woodside, South Australia; (08) 8389 9488

Hope Estate, Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is the Sydneysiders’ wine region of choice. It’s less than two hours from the city, which means it’s feasible to get to a concert at Hope Estate and head back on the same day. Why would you, though, when you could stay in the Hunter and take some time to explore the cellar door, restaurants and brewery on the estate? Concerts are held at a recently completed a 19,000-capacity outdoor amphitheatre, and it’s possible to purchase gourmet food and wine packages, too. Hope Estate already has an exciting 2017 line-up, including James Taylor supported by Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers; and Bruce Springsteen.


2213 Broke Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales; (02) 4993 3555

Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley

With a natural amphitheatre surrounded by grape vines, Bimbadgen Estate was ripe for the plucking, so Roundhouse Entertainment selected the Hunter Valley winery as a venue for its A Day on the Green outdoor concert events. Since 2002, Bimbadgen has hosted the likes of Alicia Keys, Leonard Cohen and John Fogarty. Guests are advised to bring deck chairs and picnic rugs for gigs at Bimbadgen. Homemade picnics are welcome or concert-goers can buy some tasty morsels at the concert. Don’t forget to sample one (or several) of the famed Hunter Valley semillons on offer.
790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales; (02) 4998 4600

Centennial Vineyards, Bowral 

Another winery to host A Day on the Green gigs, Centennial is located just a few minutes outside of Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands. It’s a gloriously green part of the state which produces cool-climate varieties such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.
225 Centennial Road, Bowral, New South Wales; (02) 4861 8722

Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia

Leeuwin Estate’s annual concert series is justifiably famous, having a 32-year history that started when the winery provided financial support to the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s tour to Australia. As a thank you, the orchestra played at the vineyard, and the Leeuwin Concert Series was born. Acts as diverse as Diana Ross, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sting have performed – sometimes in unison with the local kookaburras.

There are several packages available but we’d plump for the Concert Club package. On the evening of the concert there are pre-gig drinks and canapes in the Restaurant and Concert Club Marquee, reserved seating in the amphitheatre and gourmet picnic hampers and wine during the concert. To seal the deal, five cases of wine will be delivered to your door once you’re back home – it’s the gift that keeps giving. In 2017, the series kicks off with Bernard Fanning.

Watch the goings on at a Leeuwin Estate concert... Post continues after video.


Stevens Road, Margaret River, Western Australia; (08) 9759 0000

Roche Estate, Hunter Valley

Formerly Tempus Two, Roche Estate provides an enormous space for concerts, regularly attracting big-name artists such as Jackson Browne, KD Lang and Rod Stewart. With cellar doors, restaurants and a cheese shop, there’s plenty to do around Roche Estate when you’re not rocking out.


Broke Road and McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales; (02) 4998 40998

Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton

Located in gorgeous Mount Cotton in the high-altitude Granite Belt region, Sirromet [LINK http://www.sirromet.com/] produces delicious merlot, pinot gris and cab sauv and it’s just a 35 minute-drive from Brisbane and 40 minutes from the Gold Coast. Its gigs aren’t bad either, being a Queensland venue for A Day on the Green. The winery has an impressive capacity of 12,000 and coming up, it’s Garbage supported by Temper Trap. Sirromet has picnic hampers available that can be ordered ahead of time and collected on the day.


850-938 Mount Cotton Road, Mount Cotton, Queensland; (07) 3206 2999

Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley

Victoria gets a taste of A Day on the Green at Rochford Winery, where up to 7,000 people can savour the sounds. It’s less than an hour in the car from Melbourne with amazing views of the Great Dividing Range. There’s also a restaurant and café, cellar door, shop and an art gallery. In November, an all-Aussie ’90s extravaganza featuring You Am I, Something for Kate, Jebediah, Spiderbait and The Meanies will take to the stage at Rochford’s large natural amphitheatre. Also at Rochford is the Sound Shell, where more intimate gigs are held.
878-880 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, Victoria; (03) 5957 3311

Leconfield Wines, McLarenvale, South Australia

The A Day on the Green concert series regularly takes over Leconfield in McLaren Vale, just 35 kilometres south of Adelaide. Its Mediterranean climate and fantastic food and wine make McLaren Vale a drawcard for weekenders from Adelaide and further afield. There are food trucks on-site and picnic hampers are available from the cellar door, but if you upgrade your ticket there’s the Garden of Syn area where a gourmet barbecue is supplied. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring along deck chairs, picnic rugs and picnics. Coming up in February are dual-headliners Simple Minds and the B52s. We have two words for you. Rock. Lobster.


439 Main Road, McLaren Vale, South Australia; (08) 8323 8830