If you’ve decided to include a trip to the Hunter Valley in your Sydney itinerary, then you have chosen well. Why? You can certainly have a wine experience in Sydney but where else can you try unique varieties such as a sparkling Chambourcin, Quartet – a blend of four white varietals with a bold character and the natural sweetness of a late harvest – or Gewurtztraminer, while surrounded by crisp country air and views to die for?
Why go on a Trip to the Hunter Valley
You can journey to the Hunter Valley in a day from Sydney, experience around 6 hours in the valley and be back to Central around 12 hours later. However, you won’t regret choosing to make a weekend of it by staying in Pokolbin, Lovedale or Rothbury. There is so much to see and do that you only get a small snapshot of the Hunter Valley experience by doing it in a day. It’s a shame to rush it when you should be relaxing and savouring all that the area has to offer.
If you can talk someone in your group into driving, you may elect to navigate around the region yourself however the driver isn’t the only one in your group who would be missing out if you chose that option. By joining a group tour with an experienced Hunter Valley local as your guide, you not only get their knowledge of the area, but you also get to leverage the established relationships they have with the cellar doors.
Ever dreamt of seeing the very oak barrels and stills where the wine you are tasting was matured? What about enjoying a toast with the owner of a vineyard? Or seeing firsthand the strong honey colour and experiencing the complex aroma of a 30-year-old Semillon compared to one bottled only last year? Only through leveraging the connections of a local tour guide and the exclusivity of a private wine tasting tour will you get access to such Hunter Valley gems.
How to spend a day tour with a Hunter Valley Local
If you are looking for a trip where you get to spend the day with a Hunter Valley local, and you get the extra access benefits that come with touring with the owner of the business, then look no further than Tastes Of The Hunter Wine Tours. With private tastings, a luxury tour minibus with leather seats, entertainment system and more and a knowledgeable and attentive guide, you have the perfect recipe for a Hunter Valley experience you won’t soon forget.
You could choose to self-drive and queue at the front counter of each cellar door to taste 2 or 3 wines as served by a junior staff member. Or you could whisk past the line for a sit down private tasting with the cellar door manager where you can savour 8-10 different wines on a guided wine tasting. This is how you can experience the full range offered and even some unique reserve wines not usually provided at the average tasting. Joining, a wine tasting tour is an investment in your Hunter Valley experience.
The Hunter Valley wine tasting experience
While the Hunter Valley region is indeed on the map for its wines, it would be a shame not to cleanse your palate during the day with a visit to one of the micro-breweries. From the light spritz of a ginger beer with gorgeous honey flavours to the full-bodied, robust character of a dark ale there is something for even those who don’t consider themselves beer drinkers.
Matilda Bay Brewhouse or Potter’s Brewery are options that won’t disappoint, and a wine tour with Tastes Of The Hunter will allow you to experience both: the wines and Hunter Valley boutique style craft beers that are rapidly gaining in popularity.
A wine tasting experience is not complete without adding some cream cheese and decadent chocolate treats. Cheese and chocolates often accompany a professional wine tasting session for a good reason. A red wine like the Hunter Valley’s famous Shiraz varieties will always be more appealing when it is savoured the way the winemaker intended it to be tasted.
Sampling a red wine with a protein such as cheese gives the tannins (the bitter-tasting organic component of red wine) something else to cling to other than the sides and roof of your mouth!
In fact, at Capercaillie Wines (situated in the Lovedale region of the Hunter) you can taste your first mouthful of their Shiraz. Then eat it after a bite of cheese. You will see how the complex and chocolatey flavours of the wine have come to life on your tongue. A completely different experience that you would have missed without such guidance.
And why settle for any supermarket variety cheddar? At the Smelly Cheese Shop in Pokolbin, you can try fettas and labnas (a cheese made from yoghurt) paired with dukkha, chilli, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
For a truly luxurious experience, you can try a triple cream brie with a smooth layer of truffle mousse through the centre. And with more varieties of blue cheese and camembert, the adventurous palate will rediscover some of these flavours and fall in love with the mild cheese and biscuits all over again.
The other perfect addition to your Hunter Valley Shiraz is a rich and creamy dark chocolate. Don’t feel guilty – we all need antioxidants in our diet! And what better way to get them than a dark chocolate fudge or for that extra hint of heat. The chilli chocolate at the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is a must to try.
Stay overnight in the Hunter Valley
After a packed day of wine, craft beer, cheese and chocolate tasting you can now see why coming back to your luxury Hunter Valley accommodation is indeed the preferred option! From resort-style motels with every convenience at your fingertips to country cottages with the character on the outside and a superior modern design on the inside, there are options to suit every taste and budget.
It’s easy to see why the Hunter Valley is such a popular destination for the ultimate Sydney weekend escape.
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