34° 40' N


150° 48’ E




about this subregion

The Hilltops wine region, nestled in the picturesque landscapes of southern New South Wales, Australia, is renowned for its exceptional cool climate wines. This region is characterized by its unique environment, with vineyards perched at around 500 meters above sea level, providing a distinct terroir that contributes significantly to the quality and complexity of its wines. The climate here is marked by warm days and cool nights, a feature that is particularly beneficial for slow and even ripening of grapes, ensuring the development of concentrated flavors.

Among the main grape varieties thriving in the Hilltops wine region are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, which have long been staples of the area, benefiting from the optimal ripening conditions. In recent years, the region has seen an expansion in the diversity of grapes grown, with Italian varieties such as Prosecco gaining popularity, alongside other varieties like Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Fiano. These grapes are well-suited to the region's climate and soil, contributing to the growing reputation of Hilltops as a versatile wine-producing area.

The Hilltops wine region's commitment to quality and diversity, coupled with its idyllic setting, makes it a key player in Australia's wine industry, attracting wine enthusiasts and producers alike to explore its rich viticultural potential.



Vineyard Hectares



1,850 - 2,000


Discover Terroir

Hilltops, a picturesque wine sub-region nestled approximately 130 kilometers northwest of Canberra, showcases the natural beauty and viticultural richness of southern New South Wales. Renowned for its high-quality wines, this region boasts a diverse terroir and a thriving viticultural community. At the heart of Hilltops lies the Hilltops Wine Association, a dynamic organization committed to championing the excellence of local winemaking.

Comprising a collective of esteemed wineries, the Hilltops Wine Association serves as a unifying force, fostering collaboration among vintners and promoting the distinctive characteristics of the region's wines. Through collaborative initiatives and shared expertise, member wineries uphold stringent quality standards, ensuring that each bottle reflects the unique terroir and craftsmanship synonymous with Hilltops.

The association's dedication extends beyond promoting excellence in winemaking; it also plays a vital role in nurturing sustainable practices and environmental stewardship within the region. By advocating for responsible viticultural practices and supporting initiatives aimed at preserving the natural landscape, the Hilltops Wine Association contributes to the long-term vitality of the local ecosystem.

Visitors to the Hilltops region are greeted with an array of immersive experiences, from vineyard tours and tasting events to cellar door encounters that showcase the diversity of varietals and winemaking techniques. With its idyllic landscapes and warm hospitality, Hilltops offers wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike a memorable journey through the flavors and aromas of southern New South Wales.

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of New South Wales, Australia, the Hilltops wine subregion stands as a testament to the harmonious marriage of terroir and climate. Situated at an elevation of approximately 500 meters above sea level, this elevated plateau enjoys a cool climate that is instrumental in crafting wines of exceptional quality and distinction.

The interplay of altitude and climatic influences creates a microclimate characterized by warm days and cool nights, a phenomenon known as diurnal temperature variation. This natural rhythm not only extends the ripening period but also fosters the gradual accumulation of sugars and flavors in the grapes while preserving their essential acidity. Such conditions are ideal for the slow maturation of grapevines, resulting in wines that boast complexity, balance, and elegance – hallmarks of the Hilltops wine profile.

One of the defining features of the region is its settled autumn, a period crucial for the final stages of grape ripening. As temperatures gradually decline, the vines are afforded ample time to develop optimal phenolic ripeness, enriching the fruit with concentrated flavors and nuanced aromas. This extended growing season enables vintners to cultivate a diverse array of grape varieties, ranging from classic stalwarts like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz to lesser-known Italian varietals and emerging alternative grapes.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift towards the cultivation of Italian-origin varieties, reflecting both the region's adaptability and the vignerons' willingness to embrace innovation. Varieties such as Prosecco, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo have found a hospitable home amidst the rolling hills of Hilltops, their distinct characteristics complementing the terroir-driven expression of the region's wines. Alongside these Italian gems, an assortment of alternative varieties including Fiano, Corvina, and Rondinella have garnered attention for their resilience and suitability to the local climate.

The Hilltops wine subregion serves as a canvas for vintners to explore and experiment, pushing the boundaries of winemaking while remaining rooted in tradition. With each vintage, they weave a narrative that celebrates the unique terroir, climate, and grape varieties that define this captivating corner of the Australian wine landscape. Through their dedication and artistry, the wines of Hilltops continue to captivate palates and inspire oenophiles around the world, embodying the spirit of innovation and excellence that defines the region.

The Cowra wine subregion, part of the Central Ranges zone in New South Wales, Australia, is notable for its unique soil composition that plays a critical role in viticulture. This region is characterized by two primary types of soil: granitic clay and basalt, each contributing distinct qualities to the vineyards and influencing the wine produced in this area.

  1. Granitic Clay: This soil type is derived from the weathering of granite rocks, resulting in a clay-rich soil that retains moisture well. Granitic clay soils are typically deep and well-drained, providing a stable water supply to the vines during the growing season. The thermal properties of these soils help to moderate soil temperatures, contributing to a longer growing season which is beneficial for the gradual ripening of grapes. This slow maturation process allows for the development of complex flavors and aromas in the grapes.
  2. Basalt: Basalt soils originate from ancient volcanic activity and are rich in minerals. They are known for their fine texture and good drainage capabilities. Basalt soils tend to be darker, which aids in heat retention, warming the vines during cooler periods. This characteristic is particularly advantageous in regions with significant temperature variations between day and night. The mineral richness of basalt soils is believed to contribute to the distinctive mineral notes found in the wines produced from grapes grown in these soils.

The combination of these soil types within the Cowra wine subregion provides a versatile foundation for viticulture, supporting a range of grape varieties and contributing to the unique terroir of the region. The soils, alongside the climate conditions of warm days, cool nights, and dry late summers, create an ideal environment for ripening wine grapes, thereby allowing Cowra to emerge as a significant wine-producing area in Australia​​​​​​.


The Hilltops wine subregion of New South Wales is a distinguished cool climate wine region that has garnered acclaim for its exceptional grape varieties. Situated around the towns of Young, Harden, and Boorowa, the region's vineyards are perched at an elevation of approximately 500 meters, offering a unique terroir that is instrumental in the cultivation of premium quality grapes. This article delves into the most common grapes of the Hilltops wine subregion, focusing on their agricultural and climatic requirements.

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon: This grape variety thrives in Hilltops due to the region's warm days and cool nights, and its one of the flagship grapes for wine producers from this region. Cabernet Sauvignon benefits from the continental climate, which facilitates a long, slow ripening process. This extended ripening period is crucial for the development of the grapes' complex structure and depth. The well-draining red loam soil over decomposed granite provides an ideal foundation for Cabernet vines, contributing to the robustness and vigor of the grape.
  2. Shiraz: Shiraz is another variety that has found a favorable habitat in Hilltops. The variety's success is largely due to the temperature variation between day and night, which is characteristic of the region. Such climatic conditions are essential for Shiraz, as they help to maintain the grape's acidity and develop its rich color. The soil composition, predominantly well-draining red loam, further supports the health and growth of Shiraz vines, ensuring the production of grapes with concentrated flavors.
  3. Riesling: Riesling vines prosper in the cool climate conditions of Hilltops, where the cool nights serve to preserve the grape's natural acidity, a critical factor in the development of Riesling's freshness and vitality. The region's soil, rich in decomposed granite under a layer of red loam, provides excellent drainage, reducing the risk of root diseases and promoting healthy vine growth. This grape variety benefits from the consistent climate, which allows for a gradual and complete maturation process.
  4. Prosecco: Recently introduced to the region, Prosecco has adapted well to the Hilltops terroir. This grape variety requires a specific climate that can offer a balance of warm days to develop sugars and cool nights to retain acidity, both of which are abundantly provided by the Hilltops region. The soil's good drainage capabilities and the area's irrigation practices ensure that Prosecco vines receive the optimal amount of water, essential for the production of vibrant and lively grapes.
  5. Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio flourishes in the Hilltops' cool climate, where the temperature variation encourages the development of the grape's signature freshness and acidity. The vine's preference for well-drained soils is well met by the region's red loam over granite, providing a stress-free environment that encourages the production of high-quality grapes. The consistent weather patterns of the Hilltops region allow for Pinot Grigio to ripen evenly, producing grapes that are balanced in both sugar and acidity.
  6. Fiano: The introduction of Fiano to the Hilltops wine subregion has been met with success, thanks to the area's suitability for Mediterranean varieties. Fiano's adaptation to the cool climate is facilitated by its ability to maintain acidity and develop complex flavors under these conditions. The well-draining soils of the region, coupled with adequate irrigation, ensure that Fiano vines are neither waterlogged nor overly stressed, promoting healthy growth and fruit development.

The Hilltops wine subregion's unique combination of climatic conditions, soil types, and elevation creates an ideal environment for the cultivation of these grape varieties. Each variety's specific agricultural and climatic needs are met, allowing for the production of grapes that contribute to the region's reputation for high-quality, cool climate wines.

The Hilltops wine sub-region, located in New South Wales, Australia, has become a leading area for the production of exceptional cool-climate wines. Hilltops wine producers are particularly noted for their high quality Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. Each wine has unique characteristics that reflect the region's distinctive environment.

  1. Shiraz: Hilltops Shiraz is celebrated for its rich and complex aromatic profile, which typically features a mix of dark fruits, such as blackberries and plums, intertwined with subtle hints of pepper and spices. On the palate, it offers a robust and full-bodied experience, with flavors that echo its aromatic complexity. The integration of oak often adds layers of vanilla, chocolate, smoky nuances and hints of white pepper, contributing to its smooth finish and depth of flavor.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: The Cabernet Sauvignon from Hilltops is distinguished by its powerful and inviting nose, showcasing aromas of blackcurrant, eucalyptus, and tobacco, accompanied by earthy undertones and a touch of oak. Flavor-wise, Cabernet sauvignon it's structured and complex, with a palette that mirrors its aromatic profile, enriched with dark cherries and a hint of green bell pepper. Cabernet sauvignon's firm tannins and acidity balance its richness, leading to a persistent and elegant finish.
  3. Chardonnay: The Chardonnay of the Hilltops region stands out for its delicate balance between fruit and minerality. Aromatically, it presents a bouquet of ripe stone fruits, notably peach and nectarine, complemented by citrus blossom and subtle oak-derived vanilla and toast notes. On tasting, it reveals a creamy texture that carries flavors of lemon, melon, and a distinct minerality that adds freshness. This wine demonstrates a harmonious blend of fruitiness and acidity, making it both refreshing and complex.

These wines, with their distinct profiles, epitomize the excellence of Hilltops' viticulture, offering a sensory journey that underscores the region's capability to produce varietals that can compete on the global stage. Each glass reflects the meticulous care and expertise of Hilltops' winemakers, alongside the natural virtues of the region's terroir.