The vineyard is one of the oldest in the region, established in 1983 on Cargo Road, west of Orange. The varieties grown are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Zinfandel, Lagrein, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. The vineyard is planted on deep red basalt and clay based loam soils, and is largely unirrigated. 

Cargo Road Wines - James Sweetapple

The vineyard was taken over in 1997 by a trio from quite different backgrounds, sharing an inspiration and desire to build a future. Charles Lane, James Sweetapple, and Brian Walters purchased the run-down Cargo Road Vineyard in 1997. The vineyard was already 14 years old, making it one of the oldest vineyards in the Orange Region.

James has spent the subsequent years adding to the vineyard and making it into a viable business. This has been achieved primarily through holistic management principals, nurturing and maintaining the property. This included weed control, pruning, canopy management, and a bit more weed control. It has also improved through increasing the varieties planted on site, and the number of vines.   

The Vineyard

Cargo Road Wines is situated on the sheltered northern slopes of Orange's Mount Canobolas, at an elevation of 860 meters.  

Cargo Road Wines has 16 hectares (ha) of established vines. Cargo Road Wines' white wine varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer, and the iconic red styles of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Zinfandel and Lagrein.

Our signature red is made from the Zinfandel grape, a red variety that is relatively rare in Australia. Our two signature white wines are made from Riesling and Gewürztraminer grapes. The Gewürztraminer is a very elegant and dry style with luscious aromas of lychees and roses with hints of ginger spice. The Riesling has a floral nose with jasmin and citrus blossom aromas, a lemony limey palate with a perfect balance of acid. 

The first vines were planted in 1983, which makes them some of the region's oldest vines. The vineyard is largely unirrigated and planted on deep red basalt and clay based loam soils. See the map of the property with the soils data.


The vineyard is run holistically, which means we use 'best practice' management techniques to ensure that we are always improving our land and environment, in a safe and reputable manner whilst maintaining a sustainable business. We will be here for a long time. We care as much about growing our grapes as we do making our wines. We nurture our vines all year round, pruning carefully, managing the undergrowth and weeds holistically. Increasing organic matter in the soil, as well as overall soil health. Continuing to develop the terroir. We always harvest the grapes at the optimum level of ripeness.

We grow grapes and make wine for people to enjoy. We care for the environment by managing our land holistically. We use a 7 testing process for decision making, always testing back to the holistic context. We have never used pesticides on the property. Sheep are used to cycle the minerals, and the strategic use of a side throwing slasher to mulch the mid-rows under the vines. In recent years we have used Bio Ag Phos a soft rock phosphate with bacteria to activate the soil releasing more available phosphorous. We have also used compost tea to stimulate fungus and bacteria in the soil, which is feeding the soilfoodweb.