by Sean Teuma
ARRIVING at night in any location after a hard day at work can get you down, and give you a bad first impression of a new place.
Especially at the start of spring, when the chill of winter is still in the air and an overbearing number of layers are required to stay warm.
Thankfully, I was warmed by the hospitality upon arriving at the Ridgemill Estate in Stanthorpe by owner Michelle Feenan.
I walked to my spacious cabin, where I found a bottle of rose, fresh fruit, and a hulking bed with more pillows than a department store.
With generous air-conditioning and a fireplace stocked with enough wood for the rest of the year, there was no chance I was going to be cold.
I don't consider myself a wine aficionado by any stretch of the imagination, however just listening to fellow estate owner Martin Cooper speak about the processes and dedication that goes into every single bottle gave me a new appreciation.
It's clear why Ridgemill Estate's various wines have won numerous awards.
Their approach is simple: "Don't let anyone tell you what you should like”.
This mantra explains why the business has experimented with different methods and ingredients, striking gold in the process.
Guests have the opportunity to see "wine whisperer” Pete McGlashan at work, with the cellar door now open seven days.
This is only part of the wine tasting experience that Ridgemill Estate aims to provide.
Martin says they want to give people knowledge of what the estate is doing, as well as a first-class tasting and buying experience.
After waking early, I took the opportunity to explore what Stanthorpe has to offer, starting with a stomach-filling breakfast.
I drove up Maryland St in my quest to satisfy my tastebuds, when a chic, modern venue caught my eye.
Fork and Cork possessed an intricate menu, however I stuck with the traditional bacon, eggs, toast and sausage, which satisfied my appetite.
After breakfast, it was time to take in the sights, and what better way to do so than by adopting a bird's eye view.
The Mt Marley lookout is simply breathtaking.
It is nestled in the trees, with the option to take a walk through the bush.
I settled for the tranquil views overlooking Stanthorpe, and revelled in the opportunity to take in the scenery.
Back in town, you can't progress too far in Stanthorpe without a mention of apples so it was fitting that my last experience in the region would involve the delectable fruit.
I was told by a number of work colleagues and people along the journey that a visit to Sutton's Shed Cafe was an absolute necessity.
Stanthorpe was blessed with a beautiful, sunny day, so I took the opportunity to take in some sun and relax.
Sutton's apple pie has a reputation that stretches beyond the town, and it was certainly on my afternoon tea menu.
My slice of pie was accompanied by cream, ice cream, and a glass of dry cider.
The pie is a must-try.
The rich sauce and tantalising pastry, plus the amount of apple in the pie, made it certainly worth the price.
There is so much to do in Stanthorpe, and in my limited time, I barely managed to scratch the surface.
The writer was a guest of Ridgemill Estate.