HUNTER VALLEY, AUSTRALIA

By Decanter

15 MAR 2014

A visit to one of Australia’s most historic wine regions will reward both wine lovers and fun lovers alike.

Hunter Valley fact file:

Total planted area: 3,537 hectares

Main grapes: Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Verdelho

Number of wineries: 160

Quick links:

- Six of the best wineries to visit

- Where to stay, shop, eat and relax

- Tip of the day: Australian wine regions

Introduction:

No wine region in Australia offers more for visitors than the Hunter Valley. Less than two hours’ drive from Sydney, the most famous tourist destination in the state of New South Wales is a favourite playground for Sydney siders – and no wonder. It’s packed with resorts, day spas, breweries, a cheese factory, restaurants galore, four golf courses, public gardens, horse riding, multiple art galleries, hot air ballooning, even joy rides in jetfighter planes – not to mention 160 wineries.

Immerse yourself in the raw Australian beauty of hectare upon hectare of picturesque Hunter vineyards for a few days and you’ll quickly discover that even the extravagant tourist trimmings cannot disguise the rugged authenticity of this place. In fact, it’s remarkable that the region is able to produce such outstanding wine at all. The weather is often awful, with erratic, heavy bursts of rain around vintage time. This is one of Australia’s warmest and most humid wine growing regions, and it has large areas of poor soil. But, as everywhere, the finest wines emerge from marginal places, and when nature is kind, the Hunter blossoms. In the turmoil of Australian vintages over the past three years, the Hunter has emerged largely unscathed, making for a superb array of new vintage wines to line cellar door shelves, ripe for discovery by the eager wine traveller. There’s never been a better time to visit.

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Hunter Valley: Six of the best wineries to visit

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