Tiny houses are becoming big business in Australia. Ideally, these small but perfectly formed lodgings are two to three hours’ drive from major cities. Smart landowners are popping them into secluded corners of their idyllic properties so guests feel a million miles from their everyday lives.
It’s no surprise, then, that many Australian vineyards tick all the boxes in providing the perfect tiny house vibe. More and more vineyards are installing their own tiny houses or partnering with tiny house accommodation providers to access an additional income stream. For guests, it’s a win-win, as they can enjoy sampling wine without worrying about who has to volunteer as the designated driver.
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1. Lake George Winery, Canberra Region
Tiny Away, a Singapore-owned company that manages more than 70 tiny houses across four Australian states, offers several tiny houses on commercial and private vineyards. Lake George Winery near Canberra (the Australian capital is a three-hour drive from Sydney) is home to two pet-friendly tiny houses: Little Edgar and Little George (available through Airbnb).
Winery owner Sarah McDougall says that initially, a tiny house provided a solution to an unexpected problem. The winery she runs with winemaker husband Anthony had featured Airstream accommodation – until “she was purchased by a couple who wrote a cheque that night and drove away with her.”
“We had bookings but weren’t sure what to do,” says Sarah. “So, our friend built us one, and we kept getting booked out every three months. We then stayed at a Tiny Away [house] in Mudgee (a wine region a 3.5-hour’s drive northwest of Sydney) and loved it. So, within three weeks, Edgar arrived. It’s been almost one year, and it’s been such a hit.”
Most guests, she says, “book in for lunch on weekends, do a wine tasting and literally roll up the hill, put the fire on for the night and enjoy an early morning walk. People really enjoy not having to drive far after a long lunch,” she says. “There’s something magical about watching the sun set over Lake George or watching the moon rise and the stars come to life at night. Some people even get up to watch the sun rise or to feed the horses a carrot or two and enjoy the quiet times in the vineyard.” Guests can also visit neighboring Lerida Estate to sample its notable pinot noir and shiraz.
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2. Gemtree Wines, South Australia
The award-winning biodynamic Gemtree Wines is near South Australia’s McLaren Vale region south of Adelaide. The region famously has Australia’s highest percentage of vineyards – some 38 percent – that are certified biodynamic and organic. CABN, which launched its first tiny house in 2017, has installed several of its cosy retreats on the property, including two next-level versions under the CABN X brand. T
These luxurious options, Giles and William, include indoor and outdoor bathtubs, a sauna, king bed and fireplace. Gemtree co-owner and chief viticulturist, Melissa Brown, says partnering with CABN has proved fruitful in more ways than one.
“Having the CABN accommodation on-site is bringing people to Gemtree that may have never heard of us and is building brand awareness,” she says. “Initially, we were looking into glamping as we thought that would be a good fit for our ethos, which is strong on environmental initiatives and connecting people to nature. We heard about the CABN business model, and this was attractive as we had no experience as accommodation providers.
“CABN has a similar philosophy to our own, which is operating a business with a focus on the minimal detrimental impact on the environment and encouraging people to enjoy time together and engage with nature. The Gemtree Ecotrail, a 10-hectare area in the heart of our vineyards, is an area devoted to native flora and fauna. It’s an added attraction to guests. The CABNs are also off-grid, which complements our commitment to renewable energy.”
Image Credit: Gemtreewines.com / AlcoholProfessor.com.
3. Near Audrey Wilkinson Vineyards, Hunter Valley, NSW
In Pokolbin, the heart of the historic wine-growing region of the Hunter Valley two hours’ drive north of Sydney, is another Tiny Away property. Tiny House 888 is set in a working shiraz vineyard. The closest cellar door to this tiny house is 500 meters away. Stroll to Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, established in 1866, to taste its top-notch Semillon (the Hunter Valley’s signature wine), chardonnay and shiraz. Tulloch Wines, Usher Tinkler Wines and Ben Ean wineries are also nearby.
Image Credit: AudreyWilkinson.com.au / AlcoholProfessor.com.
5. Near Coolangatta Estate Winery, NSW South Coast
One of Australia’s lesser-known wine regions is the Shoalhaven Coast, stretching from Kiama to Milton-Ulladulla and inland to Kangaroo Valley. A blue tiny house named India, part of the In2thewild Tiny Holidays portfolio, is squirreled away in bushland below the summit of Cullunghutti (formerly known as Mt. Coolangatta) and above Coolangatta Estate. Guests staying at this semi-secluded, forest-cloaked hideaway enjoy views over this much-awarded winery that incorporates a convict-built village and can wander down to the cellar door to indulge in a tasting session.
Image Credit: Coolangattaestate.com / AlcoholProfessor.com.
6. Cupitt’s Estate, NSW South Coast
Recently, Cupitt’s Estate at Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast opened 10 tiny lodgings they’ve dubbed “pods.” Measuring a cozy 47 square meters, the pods are on par with the Australian definition of a tiny house (which can measure up to 50 square meters).
Guests will receive a complimentary bottle of Cupitt’s Estate sparkling wine, a tasting experience at the cellar door of this multi-faceted enterprise that includes a restaurant, brewery and fromagerie, access to the kitchen garden and farm walks. They can also take a vineyard walking tour to learn more about the estate’s history.
Image Credit: AlcoholProfessor.com.
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