Hunter Valley, New South Wales

The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region, but despite its long history, its winemaking community is among the most innovative and collaborative in the country. Discover one of the wine world’s unique places.

Average Ratings & Price By Varietal Hunter Valley
Varietal Name
Av. Rating Av. Price
Shiraz
Semillon
Chardonnay
Merlot
Rose
Verdelho

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Australia’s oldest wine region

A little over two hours’ drive north from Sydney is the Hunter Valley, the birthplace of Australian wine and a favourite country escape. It’s home to long-established winemaking families and up-and-comers bringing fresh energy, and some of the leading varieties on pour at cellar doors are semillon, chardonnay and shiraz. As well as being a historic wine destination, the region’s attractions include hikes through national parks, music concerts among the vines, and excellent restaurants, cafes and produce shops.

Pokolbin is at the heart of the Hunter Valley, and it’s where many visitors start and end. But the region has several other areas with top wine, dining and activities, including Broke Fordwich, Lovedale, the Wollombi Valley and Mount View, so it’s worth looking further afield, too. Continue your discovery below.

The history of the Hunter Valley

The first plantings in the Hunter Valley date back to 1823. Some of the region’s early settlers include George Wyndham, William Kelman and James King, but it was James Busby who was responsible for bringing almost 500 vine cuttings from Europe and South Africa to the Hunter Valley. Soon, the area’s vineyards began to flourish, and today’s well-known wine names put down roots: the Lindeman, Drayton, Tyrrell and Wilkinson families among them. In the 1960s, there was a shift in tastes, with drier wines coming to the fore. These styles are what the Hunter Valley is highly regarded for today.

Hunter Valley wine styles

Hunter Valley Varietals

The warm conditions of the Hunter Valley can be technically challenging, and yet skilled winemakers here create semillon and shiraz wines full of interest and with great ageing potential. Chardonnay is also a key player, and the Hunter Valley produces some of the country’s finest verdelho.

Semillon

Hunter Valley semillon is unique in the world of wine, famed for its ability to transform from a super-bright, super-fresh wine into one that’s nutty, honeyed and complex. Young Hunter semillon is lean and citrusy, while mature styles display sweeter, softer characters.

Shiraz

Shiraz has grown in the Hunter Valley since the region’s first vines were planted, making it home to some of the oldest vines of Australia’s favourite variety. In its youth, Hunter Valley shiraz tends to be dark-fruited and with savoury spice. With age, it develops into a wine with concentrated flavour and intriguing complexity.

Chardonnay

Hunter Valley chardonnay balances fruit flavours, mineral accents, and subtle oak notes, and is a style that can please all comers. Crunchy stone fruit and vanilla are common characteristics, and the wines are complex on release as well as with time in the cellar.

Verdelho

Verdelho is a Portuguese white variety that has thrived in the Hunter for decades. It’s clear, fresh, and aromatic, and delightful on a hot summer’s day, particularly when enjoying the afternoon sun. This fruity white wine with bright acidity and light minerality is ideal for pairing with seafood, salad, and spicy or tangy dishes.

Things to do in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley offers a variety of experiences, although wine is likely to be a companion throughout. Take a horseback ride through the scenic Molly Morgan Range, where glorious views can be enjoyed on track. Trek through the Yengo, Watagans, Mt Royal and Wollemi national parks, and experience the best of local and international music – Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones and Elton John have all performed in the Hunter Valley’s vineyards. Art appreciators can visit Mistletoe Winery, where a sculpture garden and gallery await exploration, and at Wilderness and Art Retreats, let resident artist Jacquie Mather accommodate you. Her peaceful stay offers a welcome space where you’re free to create. For those longing for some perspective, it’s essential to take a float in a hot air balloon. There’s no better way to take in this stunning wine country.

Hunter Valley Ranges

Facts

Wineries 222
Tasting Notes 9703

Geographic

Latitude 32° 54'S
Altitude 76m
Heat Degree Days 1823
Growing Season Rainfall 493mm
Mean January Temp 24°C
Harvest Late January to mid March
  • NSW
  • Hunter Valley