There’s something about a special place that you return to like a boomerang time and time again. A place where you can slowly build memories with loved ones, where the familiarity of it beckons like a comforting hug, and eventually, the sheer thought or picture of it warms your heart with fondness. A place where you can go to nest, to fully let go and simply be. For many Mudgee locals and travellers alike, Moothi Estate is just that. I wonder if the owners knew when they named it ‘Moothi’ after the Wiradjuri name for Mudgee, meaning ‘nest in the hills’.

It may ‘just’ be a cellar door and winery, but over the years it’s become much more than meets the eye. Whether it’s the winter sunsets on the terrace, catch-ups over grazing platters paired with wines, or simply soaking in the breathtaking undulating landscape, Moothi’s certainly found a place in many people’s treasured memory box.

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Nestled in Mudgee’s rolling hills

I can’t seem to visit Mudgee without stopping by Moothi Estate, and I know I’m not the only one who can’t hold back. And who can blame me with that view? Perfectly positioned to overlook 37,500 individual vines on the property, the outlook from Moothi’s sun-drenched balcony is a crown jewel of Mudgee.

The first time I visited, it was mid-winter. The vines were bare and striking and the sky was pastel blue. After an hour or so, the pinks and oranges of sunset began to sweep across the scenery, painting the surrounding hills and township in a golden glow. Sitting there, sipping a glass of rose – infused with aromas of sweet strawberry and pomegranate – it was impossible not to sink further into my chair as the sky put on a show right before our eyes. It’s not often a cellar door can offer so much, all at once. But that’s Moothi for you.

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A boutique family-owned winery

This attractive patch of land was purchased back in 1995 by Phil and Susan Moore. Chosen for its soils, climate and positioning on the hillside, the land wasn’t just ripe for growing wine, but for admiring the region’s landscape that so many have come to love.

Moothi was, and still is, a family venture. After the purchase, Phil’s brother Roger supported the couple by planting the winery's first vines: Shiraz, Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Almost 20 years later, the property is now coated with 27 hectares (42 acres) of vines. That’s 37,500 individual vines! Among the first varietals lie an expanded range, including Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Viognier.

Since day one, Moothi has been proud of their family-operated vines, which have won multiple awards, and since the cellar door opened in 2006, a place in locals’ and travellers’ hearts. In true Moothi family style, the businesses’ reins were passed onto Phil and Sue’s daughter Jessica and her husband Jason in 2008. Now in the second generation of the Moore family, it only adds to Moothi’s charm.

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A passion for produce

You’ll visit for the views, stay for the wines and be pleasantly surprised by the fare. Between Fridays and Tuesdays Moothi’s Kitchen operates, allowing guests to enjoy a perfect pairing of wine and local Mudgee produce. The carefully curated menu features colourful sharing grazing boards, replete with some of the finest produce in the Mudgee Region.

Like many who adore wine, the Moore family have always been passionate about local produce, especially when it comes to the Mudgee Region. Shannon, from Moothi Estate, says, “Our passion for local produce means that, wherever possible, we use fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, and herbs from our garden as well as produce from local suppliers. We partner with many regional producers to ensure a perfect balance of products both on our share platters and available for sale.”

Across the platters you’ll find a selection of High Valley Cheeses, made just a stone’s throw down the road. From pesto fetta to creamy brie and punchy caerphilly. Moothi pairs them with a range of meats, fruits, crackers and breads on their boards; the best accompaniment to their delicious wines.

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The best bit is, if anything takes your fancy on your plate, you can purchase it to-go at the cellar door, where “You will find a stand full of local delicacies showcasing the best of what the Mudgee Region offers”. Shannon says they stock produce regularly from, “Acreage Coffee, Nan’s Recipes by Jake, Rylstone Olive Press, Hello Lovelies and The Country Plate along with a rotation of other local producers.”

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