Plan your trip to the Hunter Valley

By Halliday Promotion

20 Dec, 2021

There is so much to see, do and sample across the Hunter Valley, you’ll want to plan your trip well ahead. Here are just some of the highlights to include in your next visit’s itinerary.

The only challenge with a trip to Hunter Valley Wine Country is trying to scratch the surface of this abundant region. So many standout producers and wine styles are waiting to be discovered at the 150-plus cellar doors across the wider region. It is made up of distinctive subregions, including Pokolbin, Mount View, Hermitage Road, Lovedale, Broke Fordwich, Upper Hunter and Wollombi. 

The ground-breaking spirit of Australia’s oldest wine region has long been espoused by the generational winemaking families across the region – think iconic names such as Tyrrell, McGuigan, Drayton, Tinkler and Tulloch. But now it also home to a new wave of fresh expressions, with bold wine styles being immaculately crafted by next-generation producers. This combination of dynamic winemaking and diversity makes for a real wine adventure.

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Now the region is also home to a new wave of fresh expressions, with bold wine styles being immaculately crafted by next-generation producers.

When to visit the Hunter Valley

Milder months are an ideal time to spend time here, once the round-the-clock chaos and humidity of vintage subsides, and the evenings are cool enough to unwind by an open fire with a glass of local shiraz. There is a full calendar of events and intimate experiences to build your visit around, and mid-week stays may provide a more laid-back pace. This allows for lingering over must-try wines at local restaurants, where inspired menus are created to complement the range.

Where to go

It’s also worth taking the road less travelled here, winding through lush country landscapes along Wollombi Road to Broke Fordwich. This is the tranquil side of the Hunter, a haven of small-batch producers, quietly achieving excellence with sustainably grown fruit almost exclusively from single vineyards. You’ll get to know a vibrant community of authentic winemakers, where the person pouring your wine at the tasting counter may be the estate viticulturist or winemaker.

If it’s been a long time between visits, enjoy the stylish new cellar doors and richly textured wines so true to terroir. From the terraced vineyards of Mount View to the rolling hills of Lovedale, quality over quantity is the rule of thumb. Each wine reflects a deep reverence for provenance and place. 
A new wave of winemakers are foils to the more traditional Hunter Valley wine styles, taking an energetic approach to making wine differently. They are reimagining the classic varieties without compromising on the long-established heritage and standards of great winemaking. These surprising wines are made to stand out from the crowd and tell the story of their maker.

Guests at Winmark, Hunter Valley
Just one of the many cellar door experiences to be had in the Hunter Valley.  Image: Cassandra Hannagan. 

Wines of the Hunter Valley

The region’s flagship semillon wines are so unique in regional character they can’t be replicated anywhere else. Hunter Valley winemakers have the purest expression of semillon down to a fine art, with each expression bearing the flavour signature of its own patch of earth, giving it a naturally derived personality all its own.

Not to be overshadowed by semillon, the Hunter Valley produces classy chardonnay wines that have a depth of flavour that flourishes over time. This was the birthplace of chardonnay in Australia, and a heritage of highly skilled winemaking gives rise to wines with real finesse.

Also be sure to seek out a selection of the region’s coveted shiraz wines for savouring and cellaring – potentially for up to decades. Laying claim to some of the oldest shiraz vines in the world, the Hunter Valley has carved a niche with its elegant, medium-bodied styles, created with heart, by multi award-winning winemakers, to age remarkably well.

Lively, fruit-driven verdelho is another Hunter hallmark – wonderfully fresh, clean and disarmingly easy to enjoy. And with a growing number of producers pushing the boundaries of expectation, you’ll also find dozens of other varietals available for tasting. Expect vermentino, pinot noir, tempranillo, sangiovese and barbera.

With so much innovation and talent emerging, consider booking ahead for a wine flight, masterclass or vineyard tour to expand your appreciation of the region and its many wines.

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This article was produced in partnership with the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association.