Cowra, New South Wales

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The budding wine region of Cowra has seen a recent vinicultural boost, especially as the area procures some flavourful wines from various boutique estates.

Resting between the wetter heights of the Great Dividing Range and the dryer temperatures of western New South Wales, the small township’s wines are shaped from characteristics of both regions. The hot summers and cool evenings define the diverse styles, as the country vines produces favourite ripe varieties of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and other smooth blends. Other key varietals offered are chardonnay and riesling, which parade a precocious, yet balanced, display of flavours.

Cowra prides itself on offering visitors a relaxing country experience with the opportunity to hop between cellar doors, take a hot-air balloon flight across the region or try a variety of watersports. Don’t miss the chance to unwind in nature’s beauty at the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, between manicured gardens and tranquil waterways of lakes and streams in a space honouring World War ties.

James Halliday on Cowra

Given that Cowra is the southernmost region in the Central Ranges Zone, one might think it is the coolest, when in fact it is the warmest. The answer lies in its lower altitude, and its open front to warm winds that blow from central Australia.

Until 1973, when Cowra Estate planted the first vines in the region, Cowra was best known as the site of Australia’s prisoner of war camp for Japanese soldiers and citizens in the World War II. It was also the scene for a futile mass escape, and today has an attractive memorial garden and museum recording the events of those days.

To this day, the rolling hills with their sweeping vistas are predominantly given over to grazing. But since 1973, Cowra has grown enormously in importance as a wine region, even if growth has come in sporadic bursts. The 1990s saw a major expansion, with larger companies (notably Rothbury and Orlando’s Richmond Grove) and boutiques such as Brokenwood aggressively planting vineyards. It is primarily a white wine region able to produce generous yields with the aid of irrigation.

The vineyards are situated on gentle slopes within a broad valley cut into the western side of the Great Dividing Range by the head waters of the Lachlan and Belubula rivers, which converge into the Lachlan at Gooloogong, flowing into the Murrumbidgee River north of Balranald.

Cowra Facts

Cowra Wineries 12
Cowra Tasting Notes 291


Latitude 33°57’S
Altitude 300–380 m
Heat Degree Days 2130
Growing Season Rainfall 370 mm
Mean January Temp 23.5°C
Harvest Early March to early Arpil