Crisp whites and bold reds in Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Crisp whites and bold reds in Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region

Mar 02, 2024 09:22 AM IST

Plan a trip to Hunter Valley in Australia to meet the passionate winemakers, sample world-famous vintages and sip semillon in the sun.

Hunter Valley, Australia's oldest wine region, is home to 150 wineries, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful hotels. The first grape vines were planted in the fertile soil of the Hunter Valley in the 1820s and it has since become the largest wine region in New South Wales. Semillon stands out as the signature variety of the Hunter Valley, characterised by its classic white profile featuring intense yet refined flavours, crisp acidity, and notes of citrus and apple. The region is equally celebrated for its bold and robust Shiraz, crafted from some of the globe's oldest vines. (Also read | Beverage Travel: Beer and beer bath in Prague, the world’s drinking capital)

Home to 150 wineries, Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region.(F Delventhal - Flickr: Hunter Valley Means Vineyards, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16222015)
Home to 150 wineries, Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region.(F Delventhal - Flickr: Hunter Valley Means Vineyards, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16222015)

Mark your calendars for the 12th annual Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival on Saturday July 13, 2024, within the grounds of the picturesque Rydges Resort Hunter Valley.

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Wine regions of Hunter Valley: Pokolbin, Lovedale, and Broke-Fordwich are the three wine-growing regions in Hunter Valley. Due to differing soil and microclimates, all of these regions produce their own unique wine, and all offer different cellar-door experiences. (Also read: Explore the unforgettable scotch whisky trail in Scotland)

• Pokolbin: Since its inception, Pokolbin has served as the focal point of the Hunter Valley wine region.

Since its inception, Pokolbin has served as the focal point of the Hunter Valley wine region. (Wikipedia)
Since its inception, Pokolbin has served as the focal point of the Hunter Valley wine region. (Wikipedia)

By the end of the 19th century, notable wine families, including Tyrell, Tulloch, Drayton, Wilkinson, and Lindeman, had planted their vineyards in this locale. To this day, Pokolbin maintains the highest density of wineries in the valley, complemented by a selection of hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

• Lovedale: Lovedale offers an opportunity to explore small, family-operated wineries in a tranquil setting, away from large crowds. The intimate cellar doors provide a chance to engage in conversations with winemakers or growers, gaining insights into their latest vintages. Wines in this region are typically named after family members.

• Broke-Fordwich: Broke-Fordwich is renowned for hosting top-notch boutique and sustainable wineries, along with highly praised fine dining options, a World Heritage-listed wilderness, and ancient Aboriginal rock art. The area has a dozen wineries, all conveniently located within a few kilometres of each other.

Best vineyards of Hunter Valley

• Scarborough Wine: Scarborough Wine Co. is a family-operated vineyard celebrated for its outstanding wines and hospitable atmosphere. The estate provides a journey from soil to cellar, allowing guests to gain insights into the entire winemaking process, spanning from the vineyard to the bottling stage.

• Tyrrell’s Wines: Tyrrell's Wines is a must-visit for wine lovers. With a history dating back to 1858, this family-owned establishment has consistently produced high-quality wines for over 160 years, making it an essential destination for those passionate about wine.

Tyrrell's Wines is a must-visit for wine lovers.(https://tyrrells.com.au)
Tyrrell's Wines is a must-visit for wine lovers.(https://tyrrells.com.au)

• Brokenwood Wines: Founded in 1970, Brokenwood has evolved from a weekend getaway for hobby winemakers into one of Australia's highly regarded wine brands. The winery is celebrated for its outstanding selection of wines, which encompasses notable varieties such as the renowned Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the ILR Reserve Semillon, and the Cricket Pitch Range.

• Audrey Wilkinson: Audrey Wilkinson is famous for its premium wines, notably Semillon and Shiraz, as well as its scenic vineyard location, at the elevated foothills of the Brokenback Range.

• Briar Ridge Vineyard: Briar Ridge Vineyard is a high-quality winery recognised for its award-winning wines, ranging from the vibrant and refreshing Semillon to the rich and intricate Shiraz.

• McGuigan Wines: With a history dating back to the 1880s, this family-owned winery has been producing award-winning wines for four generations. Particularly noteworthy is the McGuigan Black Label range, which has dominated the market. This range has clinched the top three positions in Australia's best-selling red wines by volume, with Black Label Red at #1, Black Label Cabernet Merlot at #3, and Black Label Merlot at #6.

• Thomas Wines: Thomas Wines stands out as one of the highly acclaimed winemakers in the Hunter Valley, receiving recognition both nationally and internationally for its outstanding collection of single vineyard Hunter Valley wines. Their impressive range is marked by the Kiss Shiraz and Braemore Semillon, setting modern standards as benchmarks for the Hunter Valley.

• Peterson House: Peterson House is renowned for its distinctive offering of gelato paired with sparkling wine, presenting a diverse selection that includes lively sparkling varieties and rich, complex red wines.

• Mount Pleasant House: Mount Pleasant Wines stands as one of Australia's oldest and highly regarded wineries, renowned for its outstanding creation of top-tier, cool-climate wines specific to the Hunter Valley. In 2023, it earned the third spot in Halliday's Top 100 Australian Wineries, affirming its excellence.

• Bimbadgen: Bimbadgen is a winery that provides a complete hideaway retreat. Celebrated for its breathtaking views and spacious rooms featuring lofty ceilings, this vineyard presents an assortment of wines, encompassing varieties such as Verdelho, Shiraz, and Shiraz Viognier.

Best Wine Tours:

• Get a bird’s eye view of the Hunter Valley vineyards with Balloon Aloft and Beyond Ballooning

• To experience a hatted restaurant, cellar door, and vineyard, sign up at the Ultimate Margan Experience

• Embark on gourmet adventures guided by Two Fat Blokes

• For the most exclusive Hunter Valley experience, hop between vineyards on a heli wine tour with Aero Logistics or Hunter Valley Helicopters

• Explore the picturesque vineyard landscapes on horseback with Hunter Valley Horses

Beyond the Wine Must-see/do:

• Yengo National Park: Situated within the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Property, Yengo features stunning vistas, pristine wilderness, and significant Aboriginal cultural sites with sacred sites and rock engravings to explore.

• Winmark Art Gallery: Located next to the newly opened Cellar Door, seamlessly integrates art, nature, and wine, providing visitors to the vineyard with a unique experience.

• Lake St Clair: Lake St. Clair offers a premier outdoor recreation hub, perfect for activities like swimming, sailing, water skiing, camping, and fishing.

Getting there

• The Hunter Valley sits just two hours north of Sydney and an hour west of Newcastle. The best way to get to and around the region is by car or with an organised tour

• Sydney Airport (SYD) services domestic and international arrivals

• Newcastle Airport (NTL) services domestic flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne

• Car hire is available both in Sydney and Newcastle

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