Wineries in Hunter Valley: Australia’s oldest vineyards

Since the first cuttings braved the oceans from Europe to Australia and were planted in Hunter Valley, the region has become home to over 150 wineries with a reputation for producing the world’s finest Semillon.

The New South Wales region may claim Australia’s oldest wine making heritage, but it is new innovative techniques pioneered by the likes of Maurice O’Shea of Mount Pleasant and Ben Ean of Lindeman’s that has led to the rise of modern Hunter Valley wineries.Although there are still internationally recognised brands in the region, most wineries in Hunter Valley are now small, boutique estates specialising in premium quality wines grown in vineyards across the picturesque rolling, green hills.

The region’s closeness to Sydney, which can be reached within a scenic three-hour drive, and a host of Hunter Valley wineries accompanied by a multitude of five-star hotels, fine dining restaurants, health spa retreats and golf clubs have made the area a prime destination for international tourists and well-heeled locals alike.

At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive tours of the best wineries Hunter Valley has to offer, which can include elaborate tastings, luxury accommodation, fine dining experiences and some unique activities.

All of our private tours of wineries in the Hunter Valley can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy some of Australia’s finest wines.

You will be able to sample several classic vintages at this prestigious Hunter Valley winery before taking to the skies in a private helicopter escort to one of the region’s finest gourmet restaurants where you can enjoy a lavish three-course meal accompanied by wine pairings from the Vineyard.Your return flight will take you over the winery’s estate for a second tasting followed by opportunity to stroll through the vineyards and enjoy spectacular views for a Wine Paths’ experience that will be difficult to forget – no matter how many glasses you taste!

Although numerous grape varieties are successfully grown in the region, there are four main grape varieties that have contributed most towards its international reputation. Here is a brief overview of the wines you are likely to discover during a visit to a typical Hunter Valley winery:As mentioned, Semillon reigns supreme in Hunter Valley wineries and has been described by award-winning Australian wine writer Campbell Mattinson as being: ‘acknowledged as the best in the world, the benchmark. It is the same kind of advantage enjoyed by Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne’.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.

The first Chardonnay in Australia was also produced in Hunter Valley, by the Tyrell winery of Pokolbin in 1968. The region’s styles may be somewhat overshadowed by Semillon, but are still award winners in their own right, including the coveted Six Nations Challenge top wine.Australia’s signature red Shiraz (known elsewhere as Syrah) also flourishes in the vineyards of Hunter Valley wineries – renowned for elegant, medium bodied reds that can be aged gracefully and carry a distinctive complexity that can accompany any food.Finally, Verdelho is a lesser known white grape variety that cannot quite scale the same heights as its more illustrious counterparts – but is easily quaffable and an ideal starting point for first time visitors to a Hunter Valley winery.

If you are interested in visiting a winery in Hunter Valley, see our Australia destination page for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip.

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