Hunter Valley Harvest Wine Experience
The sun was shining and what better way to spend the day than in the Hunter Valley. We were picked up by John, our AAT Kings Driver Guide and embarked on our tour to the Hunter Valley. We travelled through the leafy suburbs of North Sydney while John provided us with some insightful and interesting commentary along the way. Who would have known that the cosmopolitan suburb of Chatswood was named after Charlotte “chatty” Wood who was the gossip queen of the town? A little further into our tour we passed through small country towns and acres of green hills peppered with cows, sheep and horses. It was so nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city Sydney is and appreciate the countryside.
Soon we arrived at the Hunter Valley. This small wine region of NSW only produces 2% of Australia’s wine, however is visited by over 2.5 million people annually! That’s a lot of wine tastings! Our first stop was Hope Estate. We were greeted by Lynn, who gave us a tour of the cellar and explained the ins and outs of wine making at their estate. We even got to try one of their Verdelho’s straight from the vat. From there, Lynn talked us through a wine tasting class, trying both red and whites from Hope Estate. Hope Estate was beautiful, and you can understand why they host regular events in the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Elton John. The best part too is we even managed to sneak in some beer tastings, as Hope Estate also has a brewery boasting a variety of craft beers.
Our tummy’s started to grumble as we knew we were on our way to lunch. Served a buffet of meals from Salt and Pepper Calamari to Lamb Ragu penne pasta, there was something for everyone with complimentary wines to pair with each meal. As my boyfriend and I sat at the end of the table devouring what we could, John made note when we finished that this was the most food he had seen eaten by a group yet. I’m just going to go ahead and take that as a compliment. Who doesn’t love a buffet meal!?
After sneaking in again some beer tastings from Matilda Bay, we made our way to McGuigan Wines. We were greeted by Tyrone, McGuigan’s wine tasting guru, and sampled some of McGuigan’s finest wines from their World Best Semillon and Merlot, to their dessert wine and NV Personal Reserve Tawny Port. Tyrone was great at explaining the process of how each wine was made and what food would be best to pair each wine with. James and I couldn’t help but leave with a bottle of our favourite red.
Brimming with boutique stores and a stunning display of gardens, Hunter Valley Gardens Village was last on the hit list before heading back into the city. Here we treated ourselves to chocolate tasting and a very quick game of Aqua Golf – and when I say quick, I mean a 10 minute-one bucket of balls-hit off. There were also an array of gift stores, candy stores and even a liqueur store – something for everyone.
With our tummy’s full and feeling ever so sleepy for some reason, we were on our way back to Sydney. What a great mid-week escape filled with new friends, great food and wine and entertaining commentary from our Driver Guide John. It’s safe to say AAT Kings made my first visit to the Hunter Valley a memorable one.
Why not jump on our Hunter Valley Harvest Wine Experience and see for yourself?