Sample world class Semillon and Chardonnay in Australia’s premier holiday destination
Hunter Valley is undoubtedly the most valued wine region in Australia’s New South Wales, renowned for pioneering two distinctive styles of wine – dry varietal Semillon and oaked Chardonnay.
It is also where the country’s wine industry first started since it was the home of Australia’s so-called wine ‘godfather’ James Busby who grew cuttings shipped over from Europe in the 1830s, which have become the land’s oldest vines. The region’s close proximity to Sydney – as well as a multitude of five star hotels, fine dining restaurants, health spa retreats and golf clubs – have made Hunter Valley wine tasting tours incredibly popular with well-heeled locals and international visitors alike.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive Hunter Valley wine tasting tours, which can include elaborate vineyard visits, luxury accommodations, gourmet dining experiences and some unique activities. All of our private wine tasting Hunter Valley tours can be customised to meet your exact specifications, ensuring that every detail is taken care of before you step a foot Down Under.
There are around 160 wineries on the Hunter Valley wine tasting map, which is spread across hectare upon hectare of authentically rugged Australian landscape littered with picturesque vineyards and surrounded by the silhouette of the Broke Back mountain range.
Wine tasting in Hunter Valley should never ignore the region’s signature Semillon, which is championed here like no other place on earth. This crisp, dry white is refreshing with citrus tones when young but transforms into a gloriously rich wine with flavours of honey and butter after being aged – sometimes for more than 15 years.
Hunter Valley is also where the first Chardonnay in Australia was produced, by the Tyrell winery of Pokolbin in 1968, which became immensely popular during the 1970s and 1980s leaving a legacy that still survives. Hunter Valley wine tasting can also include red styles, with Australia’s ubiquitous Shiraz (known elsewhere as Syrah) in particular bearing the region’s distinctive character, especially when aged gracefully.
The Hunter Valley Wine Zone covers the entire catchment area of the eponymous river, while the differentiated Hunter Wine Region includes most of the prestigious vineyards and can be divided into three sub-regions: Broke Fordwich is named after two towns and features red soils similar to the ‘terra rossa’ of Coonwara, which are ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon – although most of the land here is dedicated to Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Pokolbin covers most of the area known as Lower Hunter Valley and is where the region’s first Semillon vines were planted and where Tyrrell’s introduced Chardonnay. It’s among the best wine tasting Hunter Valley destinations with numerous estates ranging from family owned boutiques to long established commercials including Drayton, Lindeman’s and Tulloch. The Upper Hunter Valley settles on the higher slopes to the north and west and is home to only a few small wineries.
Wine tasting in Hunter Valley can always be accompanied by fine food – with contemporary Australian cuisine that focuses on local produce usually the theme among a full range of excellent restaurants, while Hunter Valley wine tasting tours typically include gourmet pairings with cheese or charcuterie. The coastal city of Newcastle, approximately a two-hour drive from Sydney, is known for its rich history, culture and sophisticated dining – as well as pristine beaches and ancient rain forests in national parks Watagan, Yengo, Wollombi and World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops.
Contact Wine Paths for more inspirational ideas before planning a Hunter Valley wine tasting tour.