Hunter Valley Region of Australia

by Annonymous

I’ve enjoyed visiting many wine regions around the world, but the Hunter Valley region of Australia is by far my favorite.

Located a short drive outside of Sydney, it’s amazing how quickly the city is left behind for the idyllic scenery of the Hunter. Fortunately, there are many tours available from Sydney (or from Newcastle, which is even closer to the vineyards), taking away worries of trying to identify a designated driver.

The winery operators in the area are incredibly friendly and eager to share their enthusiasm for their product, perhaps because the Hunter is a bit less commercialized than more well-known wine-growing regions.

Shiraz is a particular regional specialty, but there are many other varieties to sample as well. And of course, there are lots of complementary shops in the area featuring artisan cheeses, olives, and other related products.

The attribute of the Hunter Valley that makes it so unique is the fact that the vast majority of wineries are boutique, with wines not sold outside of New South Wales or even beyond the cellar door. This provides a wonderful opportunity to try an array of generally reasonably-priced wines while learning about their roots from the winemakers themselves.

My favorite boutique winery in the region is Sandalyn Wilderness Estate. The setting is gorgeous, with vines and olives trees as far as the eye can see. The sweet apricot flavor of their late harvest semillon is irresistible, and I treasure the bottles I brought back to the United States for special occasions. They also do olive oil tastings and offer a pasta-making class that I’ve not yet tried on my two separate visits, but I hope to return for this someday soon.

Until then, I’ll savor the Sandalyn bottles in my wine cellar and will think happily of the estate and of the adorable golden retriever that greets visitors upon arrival. Of course, there are so many other wonderful wineries to try in the Hunter Valley – no doubt every visitor will find their favorite, just as I have!

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