Which wineries in Hunter Valley?

Old Apr 10th, 2009, 04:28 PM
  #1  
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Which wineries in Hunter Valley?

We will be at Sydney in late October and want to get a tour of wineries along the wine trail of Hunter Valley.
Which wineries would be best to visit and does any one know of good tours along the wine trail?
We do not want to drive!!!
Thanks
Cathy
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Old Apr 10th, 2009, 10:17 PM
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Though I do not mind a good drop Cathy, can't say as I'm a regular Winery visitor and Hunter my least visited of any though I've been in the region a few times.

Rather than a Valley as such as you may have a picture of in your mind, the Hunter I'd describe as more open plains with a smallish in places river, even smaller in dry years and though you've got plenty of vineyards and wineries they are kind of spread about a bit with some locale groupings, Polkolbin possibly being about closest to Sydney and a fair trip it is to the Hunter region.

Unfortunately, the region is also active in coal mining and that kind of sits in the central area, a blight on the landscape in places, but Polkolbin/Cessnock areas are far enough away.
http://www.winecountry.com.au/Inform...Sheets.asp?c=2 and http://www.hunterweb.com.au/ will give you some idea of what you can see by area and you may want to look at varities.

There's oddles of newer wineries about, some boutique which usually means paying! but a couple of names you'd find hard to go wrong with are Mc Guigans and Draytons - reds suit my taste buds anyway.

I'm not familiar with any tour companies going there but I'd expect the standard ones are similar in price though you may not be able to select personal winery preferences - that's when they become personally tailored and you'll pay a heap more - old story, you get what you pay for.
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Old Apr 14th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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You don't say anything about your style preferences and why you like to go to wineries. Some people only go for a day out!

There are a couple of centres where one can taste a variety of wines and even get a bit of wine education thrown in but I do not have them listed on my computer.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for the ideas.
We enjoy touring the wineries (just as we did in Chianti Italy)...for tasting, purchasing, sightseeing, and just being with friends having fun. The variety of wines is fine and we would leave that up to the guide when we tell them of our tastes in wine. We would like to see the most popular wineries, if I had to select 4-6 to see in one day.
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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Hi Cathy,

First of all, good on ya for not wanting to drive..... I was in Chianti for a week, and we took day trips, did the wine thing as well. I'm from California, we have Napa here (as well as LOTS of other wine growing areas), which is just winery after winery, very close by. The distances in the Hunter are a bit further out AND the DUI level is less than it is here in the States, so a tour is a good way to go! Leave the driving to someone else, sit back and enjoy.

The Hunter is a beautiful area...you can choose to do a day tour from Sydney as Saluarius said, or you could "base" yourself in the Hunter for a few days and toodle around. It's just a matter of personal taste (no pun intended).

As far as wineries go, what you want to look for on a tour are the smaller, boutique wineries. You don't need to travel all the way to Australia to taste wines that you can taste here (like the big prodcer's = Penfolds, Lindeman's, etc). That said, when you DO visit those smaller places, it's almost a given that you'll fall in love with some wine that you CAN'T get at home, and want to bring it back. The taxes are a killer.

If that happens (as it did to me with Old Block Shiraz), I wrapped my dirty laundry around the bottle, (not joking) and carried two bottles in our backpack (i.e. carry-on luggage) and took it home! Broke it out for a "special dinner" with friends.

Hope this is helpful!

Regards,

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:51 AM
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Brokenwood is a lovely winery in the HV. We also like Marsh Estate for lovely Shiraz and Scarborough for white wines. Scarborough is a very pretty winery and run their tasting as though you are in a little restaurant. The staff will sit you at a table and serve some cheese and biscuits to accompany the wines.

Tempus Two is another that we like and the winery itself is combined with a gallery and a venue where live concerts are sometimes held. Think Elton John, Sting, etc.

The Champagne House is fun for a champagne tasting.

If you choose to visit the larger wineries ie Penfolds you may find that you are fighting with tour bus crowds to be served. There are much nicer ways to enjoy the winery experience.

Hope you have a lovely day.
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Old Apr 18th, 2009, 05:56 PM
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That really gives us some names to start checking on. Great idea about sticking to the smaller wineries to avoid familiar wines and crowds!!! Thanks for the help!

Does anyone recommend any specific tour companies?
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Old Apr 18th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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If you go to the tourist office in The Rocks in Sydney, you'll find several small tour operators who do day tours to the Hunter Valley. If I were home, I'd have the info ... but I'm in NYC )) Enjoy!
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Old Jul 31st, 2010, 03:21 PM
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Hello Cathy
We have just returned from a few days in the Hunter.
The area specialises in Semillon (white) and Shiraz (red) wines although many of the 70 or so wineries do blends with either locally grown varieties or sourced from other regions. There is an increasing trend to dabble in some of the lighter mediterranian style wine varieties (spanish; italian and portugese)
We were with friends so shared the "designated driver" role so we have no experience of tours in the area.
There are several wine tours available which you should be able to book through the local visitor information centre. The Wine Country website in Bushrangers' post above should list most. One we saw in the guide books that did seem a little different was offered by "Two Fat Blokes" who specialise in small group tours either with a wine or wine/food focus. I am not sure if they have a website.
There are several large wineries (Mount Pleasant; Tyrells; Draytons; Hungerford Hill etc) that provide quality (but more mass produced) product. They offer tours of their facilities and some do wine appreciation classes. We went mid week in winter so there were no crowds and we enjoyed more personal service.
Depending on your taste you may prefer the smaller cellar doors who produce vintages in much smaller quantities, most of which are only available via their cellar door or mailing list.
For quality wines, I would recommend Brokenwood; De Illeus; Maerea Park (available at the Small Wine Makers Centre) and David Hooks.
For helpful advice try Scarborough; Gartleman and Tintilla.
For beautiful views try vineyards like Scarborough; Audrey Wilkinson and Allandale. Lunch at Amandas on the Edge.
There are some excellent restaurants depending on your budget. For top end I would thoroughly recommend Rock; Fire Stick Cafe; Muse; Roberts. If you are there on a weekend book to avoid disappointment.
If you want a wine free experience go to the Blue Tongue Beer Factory and have a sampling paddle of locally produced beers.
October is when the vines are just beginning to flourish after winter so the region should look lovely. If you have great weather consider a balloon ride.
Happy and Safe Travels!
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