The modern Orange region wine industry was pioneered with early plantings in 1980 & 1981 by the Fardell’s at Nashdale (Nashdale Vineyard) and the Bourke’s at Millthorpe (Sons & Brothers). These vineyards were followed in 1983, 1984 & 1985 by the Doyle (Bloodwood), Swanson (Cargo Road Wines) and Crawford (Forest Edge) families. Other early winegrape growers included Murray Smith (Canobolas-Smith), the d'Aquino family (Highland Heritage), Phil Stevenson (Ibis Wines), Arthur and Sue Sanders (Habitat Vineyard) and Philip Shaw Wines.
In the mid-1990’s planting in the region expanded rapidly to the now over 1,500 hectares.
In the early days the cooperative spirit that is a hallmark of the region was developed through field days often lead by winemakers and viticulturists.