By Jacqueline Alanne
September 7, 2020 | 5 minute read
Hitting both ends of the wine spectrum, the Hunter is one of those regions that satisfy the die-hard white drinkers, and the ride or die red renegades. From Semillon to Shiraz, and practically everything in between, the oldest wine region in the country is steeped in history, and wine, glorious wine.
Visit for a dose of the old school, a taste of the new, and plenty of “WOW” scenic moments! Here is a selection of my favourite Hunter Valley wineries.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
One of those glorious spots that makes you count your lucky stars, Lake's Folly is small but mighty. Set in a perfectly painted original building, in a perfectly manicured garden, overlooking perfect vines, it’s a very special place.
Don’t expect to be poured fifteen different wines - there will generally only be one or two wines available to taste. The Lake's Folly team aren’t pumping out endless vino cellar door only opens when there is wine to sell - and they stick to the C’s - Cabernet, and Chardonnay. Enter the cellar door for a step back in time. If its a quiet day, one of the gents might take you for a tasting out of the barrel!
There are winery restaurants, and then there are Winery Restaurants
- and Margan is home to one of the most standout of these in the country. Their 1.5 acre market garden and ethically reared proteins make up the bulk of the menu, while the restaurant itself is an experience. These guys are all about estate grown, planting old faithful Hunter varietals, as well as a couple of alternate varietals only starting to appear in the region. Try the Barbera and the Tempranillo.
A rather charming and well-polished cellar door, this one is found in an old converted stables on the Gundog Estate. Presenting hallmark versions of the classic Hunter Valley staples of Shiraz and Semillon, these guys offer accommodation and a gourmet pantry to accompany their cellar door, so you needn’t drink your wine without cheese ever again!
A little off the beaten track in the Mount View
area of the Hunter, Briar Ridge has it all - but the thing that will have jaws dropping upon arrival are those mountain views. With stellar wines and cruisey platters to boot, Briar Ridge might have you planning a move to the country.
With a history dating back to 1858, if you don't visit Tyrell’s, why are you even in the Hunter? Their quality aged semillon is a stand out but so are many of the other wines you get to taste at their cellar door. While the tasting list might be thicker than the menu at your local Chinese restaurant, the staff are uber helpful and will point you in the right direction.
Walking up to this cellar door feels a little like coming home - if your home is a dreamy little cottage atop the foot hills, of course. Audrey Wilkinson consistently rates in the best cellar door in the country by Gourmet Traveller, and you'll see why. Offering premium seated tastings, picnics, and tours, you can choose your own adventure at Audrey Wilkinson. Stay at one of their precious guest cottages and then there’s no need for a designated driver!
You’ve heard of these guys and their wines for good reason. Schmickedy schmick as they come, this is one fancy pants venue you can’t avoid. The brand new cellar door is much less intimidating once you enter, we promise. Find some very visually pleasing circular tasting bars, extensive tasting and masterclass options, an expansive outdoor area, and the perfect spot for a day overlooking the vines. Choose from a fancy pants restaurant, or a more casual dining option to carry you into the afternoon.
The Tulloch name is synonymous with the Hunter Valley. Four generations of Tullochs equals 122 years of continuous winemaking, and endless history to boot. This mob stick pretty consistently to the varietals the Hunter is known for, but hey - if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Visit their gorgeous cellar door for a variety of wine tasting experiences, as educational or fun as you choose!
1813 are a small scale operation, growing five varietals over 16 acres. Their range moves from the classic Shiraz of the Hunter region, to more on-trend Fiano, dry Rosé, and brand new to us, Charmbourcin - an rare and easy-drinking red, best served a little cool. 1813 is another Hunter winery that offers accommodation on site, this time in the form of a positively opulent residence, named, well - The Residence! They also have a grand cottage that is equally fabulous if you have a smaller party.
If you came out to the country to embrace rural vibes, Usher Tinkler is a stop for you. Named after winemaker Usher, third of his name, with a father and grandfather of rural roots, Usher has worked to keep the country vibe strong. Operating their cellar door out of a converted Polkobin church, some of their wines are even named after different farm animals, from the white blend The Chicken, to the Shiraz and Pinot Blend, the Cow. Nestle into a chunky Chesterfield and sip the afternoon away.
It’s impossible to capture all of the Hunter in one weekend, so find an excuse to come back and try a few more wineries!
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