As the days start to warm and the spring flowers begin to bloom, there really is no better time to escape to the country. Wondering where to go? What to do?
Well, if your passion is wine (and if you’ve already made it this far, we gather you’re at least intrigued) then we suggest you pack a bag and venture out to a few of the finest wineries that New South Wales’ Hunter Valley has to offer.
Put simply, the Hunter Valley is the birthplace of Australian wine and has been an established wine-producing area since the 1800s. The region amasses more than 10 million visitors every year, appealing to wine enthusiasts and anyone and everyone in between with its exciting array of activities, food, drinks and the sheer beauty of the land. Clocking in at a mere two hours north of Sydney's hustle and bustle and a short stretch inland from Newcastle, the Hunter Valley is Australia's oldest and one of our best-known wine regions, boasting more than 150 great wineries.
A quick Google search will point you in the direction of the Hunter’s most popular and famous wineries. However, we all know the top dogs get their fair share of time in the sun and sometimes it’s the little guys that deserve some lovin’ too. So that’s why we’ve put together a short list of our top three vineyards amongst the Hunter Valley’s smaller wineries. These are essential visits to tick off your spring bucket list.
Iron Gate Estate
Iron Gate Estate: A European summer may be off the cards this year, but head to this little treasure and you’ll feel like you’ve teleported and stepped right off the plane into Tuscany. Iron Gate Estate is modelled on classic Tuscan architecture - natural stone, terra cotta floors and tiled roofs combined with long open glass windows that complement the outlook to the vineyards. Conveniently located in the heart of Pokolbin, Iron Gate winery is a must-see, having won many awards for their wines over the years, including Winestate magazine ‘Best of NSW Wines’ tasting for their 2020 May-June edition.
Tatler Wines: Tatler is a family-owned winery that captures the essence and spirit of the Hunter’s Lovedale region through its collection of various drops. Their vision is to create a space where people can come together and bask in the essence of the atmosphere that they’ve brought to life. With a focus on quality hospitality, the adjoining café ‘The Brunch Society’ at Tatler should be at the top of your list for unique Valley experiences. While all of Tatler’s wines are produced on-site, a special shout-out goes to the La Folie 2018 sparkling Pinot Chardonnay that boasts notes of strawberry, watermelon and fresh raspberries - the perfect spring beverage.
Tamburlaine Organic Wines
Tamburlaine Organic Wines: Not only entirely organic, but sulphur-free and vegan friendly, Tamburlaine was established in 1966 and purchased in 1985 by Chief Winemaker Mark Davidson. Davidson has ingrained his ethos and organic practises into both the vineyard and the winery, creating rich and unique wines that are quickly growing in popularity as consumers aspire to be more health-conscious and environmentally friendly. Not surprisingly, the winery also has a strong focus on sustainability. This conviction extends to utilising the yielded grapes and stems as compost and recycling their water, which is then re-used throughout the vineyard through a drip irrigation system.
Fun fact: Tamburlaine winery was named after Christopher Marlowe's famous play and character ‘Tamburlaine the Great’, who was a nomadic bandit turned powerful emperor.
So what are you waiting for? Escape to the Hunter Valley for a few days, drink up and add to this list some of your own favourite wineries.