Hunter Valley Wineries & Vineyards

The Hunter Valley is now recognised as the birthplace of the multi-billion dollar-a-year wine making industry. The Hunter is renowned for its full-bodied white wines, 'medium weight reds' and some excellent ports. Some of the vineyards belong to big name companies such as Lindemans, McWilliams, Rothbury, Wyndham Estate and McGuigan. Others, like Tyrells and Draytons, are very old Hunter Valley family concerns, which have been there for several generations and remained independent. The range of wines in the Hunter Valley is endless.

Wine tasting in the Hunter is now an institution and an excellent introduction to the variety and quality of Australian wine. The majority of wineries open daily, not just on weekends and public holidays. Visitors are provided with tasting glasses and given a small taste of each wine in the maker's range of current vintages. Knowledgeable staff and often the winemaker will explain each wine, what grapes it is made of, whether it needs to be cellared, and so on. Tastings are small, but as most people prefer to drink them than spit them out, sensibly so.

An exceptionally good tourist information brochure called Hunter Valley Wine Country is available from the Wine Country Information Centre in Turner Park, Aberdare Road, Cessnock. Its 76 pages list all the wineries in the area, along with details of things to see and do.

Here is a sample of some of the wineries in the Hunter Valley, there are many more wineries and it is easy to explore the Hunter Valley and find your favourite wineries.

Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard

DeBeyers Road, Pokolbin. First planted in 1866, this site is widely regarded at the first wine vineyard in the Pokolbin area. Boasting spectacular views across the Hunter Valley, the Vineyard's reconstruction was completed in 1999. Wines are styled on tradition and enhanced by the characters of the Oakdale vineyards. Open Monday to Friday 9.00am -5.00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am - 5.00pm. Phone 02-4998 7411.

Bimbadgen Estate

McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. Architecturally unique, Bimbadgen Estate has a modern cellar door and excellent restaurant. The bell tower at Bimbadgen Estate is something of a landmark in the Hunter region. Bimbadgen Estate has state of the art methods and produces traditional Hunter Valley wines such as Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernets. Phone 02-4998 7585.

Drayton's Family Wines

Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin. A family-owned and run winery established 140 years ago. The winery is named Bellevue after its historic homestead, the winery also includes an outside barbecue are and a playground for children. Open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, weekends 10am to 5pm. Winery tours on weekdays at 11am. Phone 02-4998 7513.

Gosforth Estate

587 Ananbah Road, Gosforth. A six acre vineyard in a Lower Hunter property situated on the banks of the Hunter River. Open by appointment only. Phone 02-4932 8799

Hermitage Road Cellars at Hunter Resort

Daily tours at 9am , 11am & 2pm Hunter Resort offers the total "Winery Experience". The on site winery is by far the largest, and most advanced in the Hunter Valley . The Wine Tasting Cellars are open everyday to try the fruits of their labour... Crushing some 6.500 tonnes of grapes each year, the winery produces around 6 million litres of wine. Not to be missed is the daily comprehensive winery tour to experience how wine is actually made...right from the grapevine to bottle! Bookings essential 02-4998 7777

Lindemans Ben Ean

McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. One of the founding wineries of the Hunter, Lindemans tasting room is in its original stone-walled cellar. One of Australia's 'big name' wine companies, Lindemans holds back its best wines and cellars them under its Classic release program. Open for tastings Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, closed Christmas Day, Good Friday and New Years Day. Phone 02-4998 7684.

McGuigan Cellars

McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. McGuigan's is the home of McGuigan Fine Wines, Hunter Valley Cheese Company and Chocolate and Fudge Shop. Part of the Hunter wine industry for over 50 years, McGuigans offers an extensive winery and cellar door. Phone 02-4998 7402

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate

Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin. McWilliams is the largest wholly Australian owned family wine company in Australia. Mount Pleasant was founded in 1921 by Maurice O'Shea, who was regarded as one of the great winemakers of Australia. The winery has a tasting room, bar and lounge overlooking the vineyards. Elizabeth's Cafe serves meals during the day. The winery is open daily from 10am to 4.30pm. Guided tours cost $2.20 a person. Phone 02-4998 7505.

Pepper Tree Wines

Halls Road, Pokolbin. Nestled in the heart of wine country at the center of the Pepper Tree wine complex. One of the most awarded small wineries, the cellar door adjoins the winery and the beautiful grounds and gardens of Pepper Tree. Roberts Restaurant is also adjoins the Pepper Tree Winery. Open Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am-5.00pm. Phone 02-4998 7539.

Pokolbin Estate

McDonald Road, Pokolbin. One of the smallest old wineries in the Hunter, this estate has a tasting room in a 114-year-old sandstone cottage. As one of the smallest producers of hand made boutique wines all grown on the Pokolbin Estate vineyards, wines are not available in shops, restaurants or overseas. Open 7 days a week from 10am to 6pm. Phone 02-4998 7524.

Reg Drayton Wines

Corner McDonalds and Polokbin Mountain Roads. This winery has one of the few Women winemakers in Australia. Relax and enjoy spectacular mountain views while tasting premium trophy and meal wines. This winery also has a gift galley and family history museum. Open daily from 10am to 5pm. Phone 02-4998 7523

Rothbury Estate

Broke Road, Pokolbin. A relatively new winery, this is one of the best known in the Hunter. It makes wines from the Hunter and other regions. It cellars and tasting rooms are very tastefully presented. Open daily 9.30am to 4.30pm. Phone 02-4998 7363.

Tower Estate Wines

Cnr Halls and Broke Road, Pokolbin. Tower Estate is the Hunter Valley's newest boutique winery. The philosophy of this winery is to product outstanding wines of classic style. Created by Len Evans, this winery produces Semillon, Verdelho, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Open daily for tastings from 10.00am-5.00pm. Phone 02-4998 7989.

Tyrell's Vineyards

Broke Road, Pokolbin. One of the valley's oldest and most popular wineries, Tyrell's has been family owned and run for 144 years. Its tasting room is lined with 100-year-old wine vats, a great atmosphere for tastings. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic lunch among the vines. Winery tours at 1.30pm. Open daily except Sundays. Phone 02-4993 7000.

Wyndham Estate

700 Dalwood Road, Dalwood via Branxton. Wyndham Estate was established in 1828 and is the only vineyard situated on the banks of the Hunter River. The winery boasts of limited release Show Reserve Wines and Bin Range Wines. Wyndham has a licensed restaurant open 12 noon to 3pm daily, and a barbecue area for visitors by the Hunter River. Wyndham Estate hosts popular events such as Seasonal Lunches, Opera in the Vineyards and Vintage Jazz Festival. Open daily from 10am to 4.30pm. Phone 02-4938 3444.

Hunter Resort Aerial View and Vineyards Bimbadgen Estate Hermitage Road Cellars Winery Tour Lindemans Ben Ean Rothbury Estate Wyndham Estate Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard