Michelle Yang – Eling Forest Estate

What do you love most about the Southern Highlands?

The people here are great. And there’s nice wine, of course! Cool climate wines. It’s also very close to the city, which means easy access to the wineries for people from Sydney. And it’s a beautiful region. You can get some really lovely views here. Oh, and nice food!

What do you think makes this region so special for food & wine?

Actually, not many people know about this region’s wine. When people think about NSW, they think Hunter Valley. So when they come here and taste, they’re usually very surprised at how beautiful the wines are. They can’t believe the wines are so smooth and elegant. The cool climate definitely plays into that – that’s a special point about the Southern Highlands. And the fact that we’re so close to Sydney surprises people too.

What are your top 3 tips for people visiting the region?

They need to go to the Information Centre in Mittagong first! That place will give you a good overview of information about the whole region. Then, they should come to our winery to do a tasting! And grab a cheese platter too. And I always encourage people to stay one night. Coming for a day trip is good, but you get to experience more of the region if you stay overnight.

What are your most popular wines here at Eling Forest?

Oh wow! This is a bit of a hard question, because everyone is different. And I’m very proud of all of our wines here. But I would say that our sparkling is a bestseller, as well as our pinot gris & rosé. They’re all very nice. Our sauvignon blanc is our signature wine, and it’s very nice. For the reds, it would have to be pinot noir. Lots of people come to the Southern Highlands to taste the pinot here. If you asked me to tell you my favourite wine, I probably couldn’t! I like them all, and they all work at different times of the year. And it really depends on what food I’m going to have. Food & wine pairing is really important to me.

What is the philosophy of Eling Forest Winery?

My feeling is that here, we always focus on the premium style wine – which means high quality. And to match that, we do our best to give good, premium service when people come here to do a tasting. We want guests to feel that there is more here than just tasting the wine. We want to give them knowledge about the winemaking process, the different wine styles, things like that. We want to give them much more than what they expect. It’s all about the whole experience here.

Michelle Yang, Manager of Eling Forest Estate, Sutton Forest