Australian viticulture began in Sydney with cuttings brought in on the first fleet in 1788. Vineyards were established in Bathurst following the crossing of the Blue Mountains in the early 1800's with plantings equalling those in the Sydney basin. Records show that, in the 1830's George and Janet Ranken had established 20 acres of grapes and made wine at Saltram, on the northern side of the town.
The vines eventually died from both disease, Oidium Tuckerii (known today as powdery mildew), and frosts - for which the town is notorious. Viticulture ceased in the area for many years.
Today modern viticulture techniques have allowed a re-appraisal of the Bathurst area as a viable wine growing region. While it is still early days in the Bathurst region's renaissance, local vignerons have produced wines of exceptional quality.
The entire Bathurst region, which takes in Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow shires, is 'cool climate' with vineyards at altitudes from 700-1100 metres.
Bathurst's close proximity to Sydney and the Blue Mountains makes the area an ideal base to discover new boutique wineries, great cellar doors and warm, friendly people.