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10 Cellar Doors To Visit In The Hunter Valley

If you get a chance to visit the Hunter Valley, then you’ll be treated to over 150 invidual vineyards and cellar doors to visit. This is a list of ten cellar doors that we visited. Claire and I had a car, so we could dictate where and when we wanted to go.

Getting in

Car : about 1.5hrs from Sydney
Public transport : about 4hrs+ from Sydney, with interchanges between train and bus
Organised tour : usually set off at 6am from Sydney and return in the night.

Where to stay

If you can find affordable accomodation, then try to stay in Cessnock. Its the biggest town near the wine region. Otherwise, Singleton was a fine location, too – 15 minutes drive to the wine region, but a very quiet country town.

There is a YHA right in the middle of the Hunter Valley – but you’d have to check out how to get there yourself.

Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard

750 Debeyers Rd, Pokolbin
Daily 10am-5pm, closed Xmas & Boxing Day

360 degree views down into the valleys surrounding the property – that is the main reason for a visit to this vineyard. However, my experience kept me indoors more than outdoors and it was all because of Ross, the funny guy behind the counter at Cellar Door. Although I mentioned that I would only try a few red wines, he insisted that he take us through the entire offering. Of course, the Semillon is a beautiful drop here.

Cockfighter’s Ghost Wines

Cnr McDonalds Rd and Debeyers Rd, Pokolbin
Daily 10am- 5pm, closed Xmas & Boxing Day

The legend of the Cockfighter’s ghost needs to be heard – but it needs to be told by Wayne, the owner and all-round legend at the Cellar Door. In a nutshell, there was a horse that drowned, crossing one of the rivers in the region – its ghost can still be seen on a dark and stormy night, after a few bottles of wine…

David Hook Wines

Cnr Ekerts & Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Daily 10am-5pm

Listed in the Hunter Valley magazine with a picture of an astronaut floating in outer-space, it was the most quirky listing in the entire magazine. Trying to differentiate itself from the lovely rolling hills of the typical vineyard imagery, David Hooks Wines draws you inside its inviting cellar door. My picks here were the Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, 0ne of the only vineyards in the region to produce these varietals.

Hope Estate

2213 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Daily 10am – 5pm

The estate is host to open air concerts in the valley with some big names having played the venue already : The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, and Fleetwood Mac to name a few. When they’re not hosting concerts, they’re making wine.

Hungerford Hill Wines

2450 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
Sun-Thu 10am-5PM, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm

Here they serve a beautiful German grape variety, Gewürtztraminer, producing a white wine. Try out the sparkling red wine here, a perfect accompaniment to a summer’s day bbq.

Lindemans

119 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Daily 10am – 5pm

This is one of the oldest vineyards and wineries in the Hunter Valley and one of the first. They produce a beautiful Semillon from Hunter grapes – but the wine that took my fancy here was a red blend, part of the Gentleman’s Collection.

McGuigan Wines

447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin
Dail 9:30am-5pm

World renowned, this winery serves up a great selection of reds and white, but mostly their Semillon is made with Hunter grapes.

Mistletoe Winery

771 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
Daily 10am-6pm, closed Xmas & Boxing Day

This beautiful, little family run winery really struck a chord with me. Apart from the amazing artwork and sculpture that surround the cellar door, there is also a mini gallery inside! Of local provenance, the artworks are for sale. I liked the red wines here, try out their Shiraz.

Pokolbin Estate

298 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Daily 10am – 4pm

A surprising little gem of a winery. Their cellar door is a heritage building that has literally been rebuilt from the ashes (of an accidental fire). You’ll find the exterior an inviting sandstone facade with a very modern and sexy interior setup. The Semillon on offer here is beautiful young as it is beautiful aged.

Scarborough Wine Co.

179 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin
Daily 9am-5pm

Sweeping vistas and complimentary cheese platter are the draw cards for this winery. Then you get to taste the wines! Beautifully presented, each wine has a food pairing suggestion, for example: 2005 Semillon paired with Traditional Fish Pie. You’re left to imagine the taste of fish pie with the wine, but you can take home a recipe card of that food pairing! I loved this place a lot.

Something other than wine?

The Hunter Olive Centre

298 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Daily 10am – 4pm

Located directly next to the Pokolbin Estate Cellar Door, this is a welcome break to any wine tour in the region. For $0.50 you get some bread with which you can taste the array of olive oil on offer. My pick here is the garlic infused olive oil. Also, watch out for the hot sauce, its deceptively spicy!

The Hunter Beer Tunnel

Hunter Valley Gardens, 21 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
If you’d like a break from wine, then switch to beer! This beer tunnel is home to a selection of more than 800 beers, local and imported from all over the world.
Also, in the Hunter Valley is the brewery for Matilda Bay – producer of such craft beers, Fat Yak, Redback, Beezneez, Dirty Granny, and Minimum Chips. Nice for lunch, if you have the time.

 

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