Are you looking for a fun and unique way to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life? If so, why not consider a wine tasting tour in the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest and most renowned wine region.
The Hunter Valley is located just two hours north of Sydney and is home to some of Australia’s most renowned wineries and their brand homes— their Cellar Doors.
The 10 best Hunter Valley Cellar Doors
I have been wine-tasting in the Hunter Valley for over 10 years. In that time I’ve visited many of the 142 cellar doors in the region— honestly, I’ve lost count. That said, here are my top 10 picks for wineries to visit in the Hunter Valley, and links to book via Door Explorer:
- Carillion at Tallavera Grove – for beautiful views and Italian-style wines.
- Scarborough Wines – especially if you love Chardonnay.
- Usher Tinkler – for unmatched cheese and charcuterie.
- Vinden Wines – delicious wines and great service.
- Wild Ren Wines – a beautiful cellar door and modern wines.
- Comyns & Co – great venue, with well-priced delicious wine.
- Krinklewood – worth the drive out to Broke; beautiful venue (with peacocks).
- Tamburlaine – organic wines; a modern classic.
- Petersons – another classic Hunter cellar door, with must-try red wines.
- Pepper Tree Wines – great venue for large groups, get a cheese board.
How do you get around Hunter Valley wineries?
A common question I get is how to get between wineries in the Hunter Valley, it’s a large region and there aren’t great public transport links between wineries.
- Drive yourself – scissors, paper, rock; for a designated driver (see tips below).
- Find a private driver – look online, I’ve had great success on AirTasker.
- Get a taxi – be prepared to wait, book in advance. Uber is unreliable.
- Walk – you’re limiting your choices, but some wineries are walking distance:
I would however avoid booking a wine tour with a pre-set itinerary. You’ll end up at the most commercial vineyards, simply because the tour company is earning a commission. Instead, find a private driver and choose your own adventure.
Do you need a car in Hunter Valley?
The short answer is yes- I typically drive and swap driving responsibilities with someone else between days. It’s the cheapest/most flexible option, and you can still taste quite a few wines over a day and stay under the limit— remember small sips.
That said, I do have a few tips for the designated driver;
- Let the wineries know who the driver is, often they won’t charge a tasting fee for that person as they’ll be tasting less wine (and the rest of the group wouldn’t be there without them).
- Be selective with what you taste. When you have to hold back, not everything is worth tasting— “I’m driving, but I’d love to taste your Chardonnay and anything else you’d recommend.”
- Split your tastings over two days and alternate the driving responsibilities between days. There are 142 wineries in the Hunter Valley, there’s plenty of great wine to go around.
- Use the spittoon— you can get most of the flavour from swilling the wine around your mouth and then spitting it out. Sommeliers and professional wine tasters do this to avoid getting drunk, you can do the same!
What wine is the Hunter Valley best known for?
A wine-tasting tour in the Hunter Valley is a great way to learn more about the wines produced in the region and to sample some of the best wines in Australia. You will also be able to learn more about the history of the region, the winemaking process and the different types of wines produced.
The most common wines produced in the region are Semillon, Shiraz and Charodnnay.
- Semillon is a light, crisp and fruity white wine with hint of citrus and honey.
- Chardonnay is a medium-bodied white wine that is traditionally buttery.
- Shiraz is a full-bodied red wine with aromas of blackberry, plum and chocolate.
So, if you are looking for a unique and fun way to spend a weekend away from the city, why not consider a wine tasting tour in the Hunter Valley? With its stunning scenery and exquisite wines, it is sure to be a memorable experience.