Before we moved to Australia, we lived in picturesque Cape Town, South Africa. Here we where we were extremely spoilt with amazing wineries just an hours drive away. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Somerset West in the Western Cape arguably have some of the best wineries and tasting rooms in the world!
This being said, we have now visited the Hunter Valley a couple of times. We have loved learning about Australian wine, which is quite different to the wine we are used to in South Africa.
The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region and is just over an hours drive from Sydney. The region is best known for their Chardonnay and Shiraz and we soon discovered why!
We would suggest spending at least 2 nights in the Hunter Valley, and hiring a driver so that you can make the most of your experience. Here are some of our favourite Hunter Valley wineries that we visited and would highly recommend.
If you enjoy a casual atmosphere and delicious juicy wines, then Piggs Peake is just the place for you.
Pete, our very friendly and funny host had our tasting lined up in their cellar. We tasted almost all of their extensive list of wines and absolutely loved everything. They do not take the winemaking too seriously and all their wines have very quirky and funny names. A joint-favourite by the whole group was the Pigs Blood a blend of Hunter Valley Chambourcin and McLaren Vale Shiraz.
A family-run boutique winery in the Broke-Fordwich region. We absolutely loved this farm and can safely say it’s our favourite farm that we have been to in Australia this far. Krinklewood is a biodynamic winery and is managed in a wholistic and sustainable way without the use of any chemicals.
As we were there on a beautiful summers day, we had our tasting in their Provincial style garden under the umbrella with chickens and peacocks roaming freely. The staff here were wonderfully friendly and helpful and to top it all off, their wine is absolutely delicious! They also offer a cheese and meat platter to enjoy with their wines. We loved their Basket Press Chardonnay and cannot wait to return to this winery!
A casual indoor wine tasting area with friendly staff and a large variety of delicious wines. I don’t think there was one wine that we didn’t enjoy. We once again tasted almost all of their wines. They have some delicious reds, whites and dessert wines. Our favourites were the Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay and the Sticky Wicket Semillon a lovely dessert wine that pairs perfectly with Biscotti.
The tasting room at Capercaillie overlooks a farm dam filled with a host of bird life including spoonbills and ducks with their chicks. We opted to have our tasting outside at a long table with views of the valley. We tasted everything on their tasting list as well as a few extras and had a tough time choosing our favourites as everything was just so good, with elegant and delicate flavours.
Our favourite wines at Capercaillie were The Clan a traditional style old world blend comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and sometimes Cabernet Franc (we now have a bottle of this in our cellar which we will save for our 10th wedding anniversary). Another favourite was The Creel, their flagship, iconic Hunter white wine.
The Gundog Estate tasting room is set in a historic Pokolbin schoolhouse on McDonald’s Road. We found a seat the at tasting counter where we were treated to a delicious tasting by the very friendly staff.
They have a variety of red, white & fortified wines under various labels. Our favourite wine at Gundog Estate was the Gundog Estate Shiraz which is a medium bodied Shiraz.
Usher Tinkler wines tasting room is located right next door to Gundog Estate, in an old Pokolbin Church. This newly renovated tasting room was our favourite stop on the day and we highly recommend fitting this into your trip.
They have a relatively small range of wines, but they are all delicious. We started our tasting with the Prosecco, followed by the whites and then the reds. Their labels are lovely and unique, which is something we really appreciate.
Most importantly, you MUST order their Salumi and cheese boards. (served between 10:00 & 14:30). They have a large selection of salumi and cheeses to choose from, which are all paired with mouth-watering pickles, relishes, fruits, nuts and honey. We would go back to the Hunter Valley every weekend just for this!
On arrival at Scarborough Wine Co. tasting room, you will choose between 3 different tastings depending on how many wines you would like to sample. We chose the Classic Flight tasting which give you the opportunity to taste 10 of their wines from their Offshoot and Classic ranges. With this tasting you will receive a small complimentary cheese plate to cleanse your palate.
We love Chardonnay and the Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay was probably our favourite Chardi that we tasted in the Hunter Valley. It reminded us a lot of a South African Chardonnay, which is what we have been hunting for since we arrived in Australia.