Well, we’ve finally made it to the Hunter Valley! As wine lovers, we’ve been slowly making our way through the Australian wine regions and we’d had the Hunter Valley high on our list for a while, waiting to be ticked off. On our way up to Queensland, we finally got a chance to check it out and we were certainly not disappointed. As we’d hoped, the wine is fabulous, and the region is oh so stunning!
Home to over 150 wineries, the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region. It is also a clear favourite with interstate and international visitors. They flock to the region every year to indulge in the exciting range of wines on offer.
With so many wineries in the valley, it’s obviously impossible to see them all in a few days, as hard as you might try (and try we did!). But we did sample quite a few in our four-day stint. Here are our favourites.
Ivanhoe is an 80-acre vineyard nestled in the small town of Pokolbin, right at the foot of the Brokenback Ranges. The setting is spectacular and of course, so are the wines.
Ivanhoe produces premium quality, boutique wines that are only available at their cellar door. We booked their cheese and wine tasting experience and were seated downstairs in their tasting room, beside glass windows overlooking the vines.
We went through a very long list of incredible whites (I really enjoyed their Chivalry and Chardonnay), some soft and smooth reds, and a couple of big and gutsy reds. Their wines were very enjoyable and we took a few bottles home with us.
We were even lucky to have a curious lizard come inside and join our tasting, followed by a huntsman spider who was a lot less welcome. I hate those guys! This led to a discussion with our sommelier about how they pick the grapes at night and have to wear gloves and face shields to avoid the massive Golden Orb spiders that live in the vines. It’s quite clear that I will never work as a grape picker!
Address: 525 Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin
2- Black Creek Farm – Thélème Wines
This winery at Black Creek Farm was my favourite winery in the Hunter Valley. This small family-owned winery is run by a French couple and has a provincial inspired Cellar Door. Our wine tasting took place on the farmhouse veranda, overlooking the vineyards, with rolling hills in the distance. It was such a relaxed, picturesque setting that we could easily have sat there all afternoon!
The owner Jean was very friendly and gave us detailed tasting notes for every wine. Their wine tasting felt so much more personal than at many of the bigger wineries. All the wines we tried were 5 star and we again ended up taking a few bottles home!
I forgot to mention, if you like dogs, their wine dog is adorable and likes to greet you!
Address: 803 Old North Rd, Rothbury
Established in 1998, Piggs Peake Winery sources its grapes from a wide variety of places (Moree, Mudgee, Orange, Young, McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley), to make a range of wines that are well outside of the box!
I’m not sure what I loved the most about Piggs Peake Winery, their unique wines or the funny names they give them! We started tasting with a nice drop of Prosciutto (Piggs Peake’s version of a Prosecco!), followed by Sows ear Semillon, Hogshead Chardonnay, Savvy Pig, Wiggly Tail Marsanne, Pig’s breath, Pork Sword etc. You see what I mean about their names!
We had our tasting inside their cellar, amongst the wine barrels and the workers going about their daily tasks. We sat at a wine barrel table which made the tasting feel more authentic. Their big bold reds were awesome, so if that type of wine is your thing, this is the place for you!
Address: 697 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
Tyrrell’s is one of Australia’s oldest family-owned wineries. It was established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, and the fifth generation, Chris, Jane and John, are now involved in the business. It is a popular Australian wine brand and is widely available in bottle shops around the country. But I would still recommend a visit to the winery because of the experience itself.
Tyrrell’s vineyard is the site of the Tyrrell family’s historic home and our tasting took place in a room that’s as old as the winery itself! The historical decor added to the ambience with family portraits hanging on the walls and other antique memorabilia. Our server told us stories about the Tyrell family, and she was also very knowledgeable about each wine we tried.
As you’d expect, the wines were top notch and once again there were a few of them to try, sparkling, whites and reds. All in all, it was a great experience.
Address: 1838 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
This was the first winery we visited in the valley. We had a lovely tasting on their terrace, just outside the cellar door, with beautiful views over the vineyards and the surrounding Moon Mountain. The guided tasting was informative and well-paced, so we really got to enjoy every drop of their lovely wines. The majority of their wine is sold via their exclusive wine club and so, as you might expect, the quality of their wines is up there with the best!
Address: 1733 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Things you need to know before you go to the Hunter Valley
- Currently, due to Covid restrictions, many of the wineries require you to book ahead for wine tasting. So, before you go to a winery, check their website or give them a quick call to avoid disappointment.
- Some of the wineries are very generous with their serving sizes so if you want to try a few, it may be best to hire a driver or go as a group for a few days, changing the designated driver every day. That way, everyone gets a turn. You can also book plenty of day tours from either the Hunter Valley itself or from Newcastle or Sydney.
- All wineries provide a spit bucket, so remember, you don’t have to drink it all. But don’t spit out wine from the $90 premium range or you may get some funny looks from your wife 🤣; unless it’s truly awful of course, but we definitely didn’t taste any bad wines in the Hunter Valley.
Accommodation in the Hunter Valley
There are lots of great places to stay in the Hunter Valley. We recommend using HotelsCombined to search across all the major accommodation websites.