Hunter Valley

New South Wales

About

The world-famous Hunter Valley is arguably the birthplace of Australian wine country, with vines dating back to the 1800s from pedigree roots to consistently produce premium grapes.

Some of the nation’s most recognised wine labels come from the Hunter Valley’s vines, sewn around the hilly countryside, with iconic vintner family names still in production. The Valley is the nation’s oldest winemaking region, with champion styles of shiraz, semillon and chardonnay. The region’s flagship semillon wines are truly unique, with a citrus palate ready to enjoy now, but also revered for its cellaring potential, its future a gold-plated certainty. The region’s most celebrated red is its medium-bodied shiraz, which can also be safely put down for later consumption

The region has wines to suit every palate, plus eateries and activities to fit between cellar door tastings. Explore the Hunter Valley from the sky and take a hot-air balloon flight or tempt your tastebuds and sample the region’s best gourmet delights.


James Halliday on the Hunter Valley


For those born and bred in Sydney, the Lower Hunter Valley is not only the greatest and the most important wine region in Australia, it is tantamount to the only region. If you come from overseas and have an interest in wine, it is a fair bet it is one of the two wine districts (the Barossa Valley being the other) you will have heard of prior to your arrival and which you propose to visit. For South Australians, it is an object of derision (with a generous dash of jealousy); for Victorians, it is an area which arouses a mixture of curiosity and respect.

To a disinterested observer (if there is such a person) the most obvious characteristic is the peculiarly Australian beauty of the Valley. In no small measure this comes from the smoky blue of the Brokenback Range, rising threateningly above the nearest vineyards along Broke Road, and distantly though clearly etched as you look back from Allandale and Wilderness Roads – but wherever you are, a significant part of the landscape. Apart from the Brokenback Range, the Valley has only the most gentle undulations; the vineyards are concentrated on the southern side, and the Barrington Tops, on the northern side, are out of sight.

So there is that feeling of open, endless, timeless space so special to Australia. Under the pale blue summer sky, the dark, glistening green of the vines is a stark contrast to the patterns of straw, yellow and golden grass and the more olive tones of the gum trees. Attesting to the modest rainfall, which in any event tends to come in erratic, heavy bursts, the grass is brown through much of the year, tenuously greening in autumn and spring.

The brown landscape hints at what the statistics say loud and clear: the Hunter Valley is an unlikely place in which to grow grapes. But when vineyards were trialled across the state in the 19th century the situation was different. The coastal fringe (around Sydney) was too wet and too humid, and if one moved too far west, spring frosts could pose threats, even though some distinguished wines were made at Rooty Hill and Smithfield until the 1950s and 1960s. More importantly, overall soil fertility on the previously unfarmed Hunter Valley was high, and the modern diseases of downy and powdery mildew were unknown.

Facts

Wineries 217
Tasting Notes 9117

Geographic

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