New South Wales has such a diverse wine landscape. Whilst some regions are more prominent than others there are some hidden gems that are worth seeking out and discovering. None more so than the region which surrounds our home here in Port Macquarie, the Hastings River wine region. Hastings River is a small, developing wine region situated in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. The region is located roughly 420 kilometres north of Sydney and 510 kilometres south of Brisbane.
The Hastings River region has been inhabited by the Birpai people for thousands of years. The river was first chartered by European explorers in 1818, and the region celebrates their bicentenary in 2021.
Source: Wine Australia
The region is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Dividing Range. It spans 84 kilometres of coastline and is surrounded by rugged hinterland mountains and rainforests. The main clusters of vineyards are located in Port Macquarie and Wauchope.
The first vineyard – Clifton – was planted in the Hastings region in 1837 by colonial surveyor Henry Fancourt White. By the 1860s the region was home to 33 vineyards. However, due to competition from other regions, shifts in taste and difficulties with vineyard maintenance at that time, production declined and ultimately ceased between 1920 and 1980.
In 1980, the Cassegrain family worked to reinstate the area as a wine region. The family pioneered new grape varietals and methods of vineyard management, which led to the development of other vineyards and wineries along the northern coast of New South Wales.
John Cassegrain remembers his early days in the region: “The grapes we planted were not the Isabella variety, which was favoured by the early vignerons of the Hastings River region, but the classic varieties used in France including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and an exciting, relatively new variety, Chambourcin.”
Wines produced in the Hastings region include Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends and Chambourcin. The region produces rich white wines, and Chardonnay is the most widely planted variety in the region.
The region was established as an Australian Geographic Indication in 1999, with roughly 500 acres (200 hectares) of planted vineyards. There are six wineries located in the region. New vineyards in the Hastings River area are the only significant new plantings in Australia in the last 30 years not to be irrigated.
The Hastings region features a warm climate with high humidity in summer and high annual rainfall. This is due to its proximity to the warm Pacific Ocean to the west, and weather patterns caused by tropical cyclones in Queensland. Therefore, the best vintages in the region are the driest ones.
Wineries in the Hastings Region:
- Douglas Vale Historic Homestead & Vineyard
Douglas Vale Historic Homestead & Vineyard is the only volunteer run property of its kind in Australia. In 1995 a conservation group was formed to ‘rescue’ the homestead and vineyard from disrepair. Their aim is to continue to preserve this iconic site as a working museum and vineyard for future generations.
- Bago Maze & Winery
Bago is a working family farm with a vineyard, winery, pastures, crops and beef cattle. The family are invested in developing its green space for the future. Bago Maze is the first and central element of the Bago Gardens, developing over the next few years.
Bago Maze and Winery. Source: Instagram
- Long Point Vineyard & Art Galley
Long Point Vineyard was established in 1994 and encompasses 12 acres, including a homestead. There are 5 acres under cultivation. Long Point’s wines are produced from grapes grown on their estate. They grow Chardonnay, Frontignac, Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin and Tempranillo.
- Innes Lakes Vineyards
Vines were planted on the Innes Lakes property over 100 years ago by Major Innes. The vineyard is now owned by the Charley family. The estate was farmed as a pineapple and banana plantation prior to Bob and Jim Charley planting their first vines in 1988.
Cassegrain Wines to discover from Hastings Region
Keen to taste some of the wines from our local region? Our renowned Chambourcin is a must try wine to start your palate discovery, while our Semillon is perfect for white wine lovers.
A great expression of this rare hybrid varietal. Stunning aromas of raspberry and cranberry. This medium bodied wine features fine tannin structure with hints of cedary oak.
Aromas of tropical fruits, zesty lemon and herbaceous characters. A refreshing and medium bodied wine that pairs well with seafood.