Hunter Valley Wine Tour
Hunter Valley Wine Tour

Hunter Valley Wine Tour

Hello my lovely readers, today we are going on a “virtual” Hunter Valley Wine Tour. There will be no hangovers or embarrassing moments on this tour, so strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.  Hopefully when we finish I may have tempted you to take the “virtual” tour, and make it an “actual” Hunter Valley wine tasting tour.

There are many different ways to sample some of the Hunter Valley best wines.  You can take an organised wine tour, drive yourself from vineyard to vineyard, or hire a driver for the day. I like any method which requires no driving by participants! So before I send you on your merry way I thought I’d suggest two different driving services to get you from A to B, or from bubbly to fortifieds as the case may be.

Hunter Valley Wine Tour Operators



Offers small boutique vineyard tours throughout the Hunter Valley

Phone: (02) 4998 1234

Mobile: 0405 155 456


Sample the best the Hunter has to offer in the comfort of our superstretch limousine. Choose your own itinerary or they will organise one to suit you.

Phone: 02 4930 5193

Mobile: 0427 010 934

For our Hunter Valley Wine tour I have chosen some of my favourite vineyards to share. In my experience these vineyards give friendly, knowledgeable service to tasters, and produce quality wines. You will find a mix smaller boutique vineyards and more well known names on our wine tour.

Hunter Valley Wine Tour

Petersons – Sparkling

Peterson House Wines

Peterson House Wines

We are starting our tasting at Peterson House, the house of bubbles. As they say “Life is pretty flat without bubbles.”I have to agree!What better way to start a day of wine tasting with a selection of sparkling wine.

Peterson House Lifes Flat without Bubbles

Peterson House Lifes Flat without Bubbles

Peterson’s use the méthode traditionelle when producing their flagship sparkling wines.  The 2008 Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier  was my favourite and even at $42 it was the sparkling wine which came home with me. The Pinot Noir has spent 3 ½ years on yeast which gives the wine a lovely bottle aged character. The initial flavour is of fresh citrus from the chardonnay, the Pinot contributes some clean berry fruits but the fresh zing  and the great mouthfeel from the yeast is what I loved about this wine.

Peterson House Sparkling Wines

Peterson House Sparkling Wines

Bimbadgen – Sparkling

Bimbadgen - Hunter Valley

Bimbadgen – Hunter Valley

Next I’m taking you to Bimbadgen to compare their sparkling wines with those from Peterson House. You might remember I have taken quite a liking to the Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon.

High Tea Cafe Elan

High Tea Cafe Elan

The Sparkling Semillon is served as the “bubbles of choice” at a lot of the local restaurants.  I first tried it at Peppers Convent over lunch in Restaurant Eighty Eight and then during High Tea at Chateau Elan. With delicate soft bubbles and a lovely citrus flavour I will be missing this sparkling wine when I leave the Hunter.

Pepper Tree – White & Red

Located on the estate at Peppers Convent in Pokolbin this cellar door offers a lovely selection of wine. The vineyard produces two red wines which have scored exceptionally well on the Hallidays’ point rating.  The 2011 “Coquun” Hunter valley Shiraz scored 97 and the 2010 “14 Shores” Wrattonbury Merlot received 91.

Pepper Tree Shiraz

Pepper Tree Shiraz

I also enjoyed the “Silenus” 2011 Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.  Regular readers may remember seeing a bottle of Silenus in my story about Peppers Convent.

2011 Pepper Tree Silenus

2011 Pepper Tree Silenus

At the risk of sounding like we may appreciate wine a little too much I also have to mention the NV Tipsy Muscat.  This fortified wine is bottled in a spinning top style of bottle which is rather novel. The Muscat itself is like liquid Christmas pudding, sweet, syrupy, rich and fruity. LUSH!

Wynwood – Whites & Reds

Moving along on our tour we are stopping for a bite to eat at Twine and enjoying a wine tasting at the adjoining Wynwood Estate. Wynwood has a modern and inviting cellar door and produces both red and white wines.

Wynwood Estate Wines

Wynwood Estate Wines

My top two for this vineyard was the 2013 Grey Gum Semillon and the 2013 Reserve Shiraz. The Grey Gum Semillon is grown on old vines and is low yielding but each year produces a magnificent white wine.

Wynwood Estate Shiraz

Wynwood Estate Shiraz

The Reserve Shiraz is also grown on 70 year old Hunter Valley vines.  It is handpicked and the “must” is allowed to “cold” soak for 24 hours before the yeast is added. In producing the wine a traditional “basket press” is used.  This method of producing the wine is more time consuming but a gentler process suitable for Reserve wines. The proof is in the pouring, the wine has a rich berry flavour with lovely depth and intensity.

McGuigan Wines

McGuigan Wines is one of the pioneering Hunter Valley vineyards.  They are also one of the most awarded wineries in the world, having won the title of ‘world’s best winemaker’ three times!

McGuigan Wines

McGuigan Wines

Although originally a small family enterprise McGuigan Wines is one of the larger Hunter Valley vineyards.  The vineyard reliably produces award winning wines from their extensive range.  Expect to spend some time sampling all the wines. McGuigans are known for the popular Black Label but at the cellar door you can also sample more exclusive labels such as Vineyard Select and Personal Reserve.

Draytons – Fortified

Moving onto the fortifieds we have to visit another pioneering Hunter Valley wine family. Drayton Family Wines produces quality wines from 100 year old vines, but its the fortified range that sets them apart.

Draytons Family Wines - Award

Draytons Family Wines – Award

When we visited, the vineyard has just received the 2014 Hunter Valley Wine Shows award for the Premium Vintage Fortified Wine.   Drayton’s 1978 Tawny was the recipient of the award, and as Edgar, the chief winemaker mentioned he has the benefit of a long history Drayton family wines behind him.

Draytons Old Barrels

Draytons Old Barrels

Edgar showed us around the cellar and drew our attention to  a treasure trove of 10, 20, 50 + year old barrels of fortified wine. We were able to taste from the barrels and he explained the different characteristics of each of the wine varieties and how the aging process alters the colour and flavour profile of the wine.

Wine a little!

Wine a little!

That concludes my virtual Hunter Valley Wine Tour. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.  Please make a time to  enjoy these wonderful vineyards in person.


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About Julie


  1. I love the Hunter Valley! I went on a wine tour with friends there last year, it’s so much fun! And being in the area is a great excuse to visit the Smelly Cheese Shop 😉

  2. We are not drinkers at home but I do find the whole wine making fascinating. It’s the science I think 🙂 Of course, the beautiful vineyards and landscapes don’t hurt either.

  3. Setting aside tasting, I enjoyed this “virtual” tour and didn’t have to shell out a single cent! I love those Peterson pink bags!!!

  4. I’ve been on almost as many Hunter Valley Wine Tours as I have had hot dinners (but not quite!) And now I can add your virtual tour to the list, revisiting some of my old favourites! The Hunter is so beautiful and the wines so divine, it’s a great way to spend the day, and something we always try to do when we have overseas guests. For my 40th, I hired a minibus, packed in all my friends and had a fantastic day in the vineyards. Probably one of my best (and booziest) birthdays ever!

  5. oh a service to drive around to taste wine sounds great!!
    This is awesome, thank you for the wine tour. Sometimes, I wish I understood wine more 🙁

  6. He,he – love the ‘wine a little’ quote. I love the Hunter Valley and every year go to the Hunter Valley Wine Show that comes to Sydney for one day. That’s very convenient for me but I’d still love to experience the wine show in the actually Hunter xx

  7. Alesah Villalon :

    Forgot to mention I love the name, “Grape X Pectations”! So witty 😉

  8. The Hunter is on my list of must visit places, Julie! Thanks so much for this virtual tour!

  9. Oh why do I have to live so far away.
    Have a super day Julie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. I think a tour like this will be the perfect gift to my husband! Nothing could make him more happy that a wine tour! The wynwood states looks amazing Julie 😉

  11. I’ve never been to Hunter Valley but it looks beautiful. My first stop would be the Peterson’s House Winery- I like the pink packaging with their wines (it must be true that packaging does make a difference)!

  12. I love wine tours! And I love your virtual tour — so many great places to visit. This sounds like such fun — thanks so much.

  13. Or an alternative tour option – go with a friend who’s not a drinker! 😉

    I’ve been alcohol-free since February, so when I recently went to the Hunter with a group of friends, I was roped in to be the designated driver while everyone else did the tastings!

  14. I know nothing about Pepper Tree wines, but if I saw that name in my wine shop, I’d buy it just for the name. 🙂

  15. All of your wonderful posts on the Hunter are making me want to go back Julie! My favourite getaways always involve wineries 🙂

  16. The first Australian wine I ever tasted was McGuigan. I have the best memories of that night. I even kept my date forever.

    I’ve never been to the Hunter Valley but I’ve had quite a bit of their wine. I have wine tour envy.

  17. So many wonderful wines to try! Thanks for such a lovely tour 🙂


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