The Hunter Valley is Wine Country for New South Wales. There are over 140 wineries and it is impossible to see them all in one day. I’ve been to the Hunter quite a bit and have put together a few tips for your next day trip to this amazing place less than two hours from Sydney.
Looking a little bare in the image above but don’t let it deceive you. Hope Estate has a huge selection of wine and their grapes come from other parts of Australia too. If you’ve heard the name before it may be because they’ve had concerts on their property starring the likes of Elton John, The Rolling Stones and many more.
Favourite thing to do at Hope: Picnic on the grass watching the kangaroos among the vines with cheese and wine to eat.
Favourite wine from Hope: ‘The Cracker’ – it is an amazing cabernet merlot that just surprises any person who would normally not drink red wine. Such a smooth drop.
Mens Tip: Hope Estate now brews and sells their own range of beer! If you don’t like wine then grab a flight of their beer on a tasting paddle. Their pale ale is very nice.
Keith Tulloch Wines
A stop into Keith Tulloch’s is a must-do, even if you don’t drink. It is a beautiful venue. When you arrive you have the tasting building on the left and Muse Kitchen on the right. Firstly, the wines. For $5 per person you can sit on the top level balcony and taste every single wine overlooking the vineyard. It is a beautiful view and the staff are knowledgable and lovely. The cost of the tasting is taken from any wine purchased afterwards so, win win.
The restaurant is a great stop for lunch if you aren’t keen for a picnic. I won’t go on about it too much but produce from the country has a different flavour to the city and is well worth your time. Their burger and/or lamb dish is stunning.
Favourite thing to do at Keith Tulloch’s: Relax and not feel guilty about trying their wines. The $5 is small but I didn’t feel obligated to buy a bottle as a result.
Favourite wine at Keith Tulloch’s: The Pinot Gris is so refreshing and easy to drink that you’ll need to be careful of how the bottle empties. A particularly great wine for the summer.
Mens tip: On my last visit Muse had a lamb shoulder on the menu, it is recommended for two but if you have a big appetite then dive in. It’s glorious.
This winery may be familiar to you already. It is the more popular vineyard of the ones listed here. The road to Audrey’s is a little rough so while I hope the council fix that soon, take it easy if you aren’t in a 4WD. But. It is worth the trek.
The great thing about this stop is the amazing building on the hill, the view from the top as far as the eye can see and if you’re lucky you’ll also see a helicopter land in front of you for the richer folk on a wine tour by air.
Favourite thing to do at Audrey Wilkinsons: As a group ask for a tasting session outside, there are some great tables for six or so people and the staff are extremely knowledgable and don’t confuse you with wine lingo.
Favourite wine at Audrey Wilkinsons: I say this for my fiance and this is also the main reason we visit, the moscato. Audrey Wilkinsons make a sweet pink moscato that is delicious but also my fiance’s favourite.
Mens tip: This is also a great place to pick up a gift wine for a somebody. Audrey Wilkinsons sell some gorgeous shaped bottles in lovely timber boxes. It’ll be sure to impress the in-laws.
Other thoughts and tips
- If you’re staying overnight then you really should check out Enzo’s Cafe. They have fantastic coffee and a great menu for the start of your day.
- If you are visiting from Sydney and traveling on the M1 (was F3) skip the first exit and take the Hunter Expressway, it is new but will shave 30 minutes on your trip in.
- If you have time for a final stop after the above then spend literally 10 minutes at Piggs Peake. This winery does an amazing Shiraz Dessert Wine. Make sure you ask to taste it with chocolate and be ready to have your mind blown. It is a stunning wine, I’ll normally run in, buy it and keep moving!
- If you are driving, don’t drink… but get one of your drinkers to shout you lunch