• Phillippa Sutton

24 Hours in the Hunter Valley

There’s no other place in Australia like the Hunter Valley for an indulgent weekend getaway. With around 150 top-class wineries matched with numerous restaurants – it’s no wonder why it’s a tourist hotspot. Located two hours from Sydney, an impromptu trip to Australia’s largest wine region was on the cards, you won't be disappointed along the Food and Wine Trail

10.00am: Don't waste any time to get your electric bike from Sutton Estate Hunter Valley. Bookings are essential for the premium service with local transfers and even wine pick up.

10.30am: Time to get your cellar door hopping on, and the first recommendation is Tintilla, Established in 1994, they are a family run Boutique Single Vineyard, Winery & Olive Grove in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley. Producing distinctive, individual, single vineyard award winning wines & olive products. Located on Hermitage Road food and wine trail.

The Wine Their wines include classic Hunter Semillon, the Angus, grown on the creek bed soils, a soft and flavorsome long lasting traditional Hunter Shiraz and a highly rated Justine Merlot from the clay on limestone soils. Tintilla has pioneered Sangiovese in the Hunter, a well-matched climate, producing a Rosato di Jupiter, a straight Saphira Sangiovese as well as the Sparkling Rosalind Blush. Chardonnay cuttings originally came to the Hunter direct from Clos du Vougeot vineyard in Burgundy in the 1830’s. At Tintilla’s winery, we make Chardonnay grape’s taken off a heavily limestone-laden block two kilometers down the road. As a result they exhibit great varietal character.

The Produce At the Tintilla cellar door, the visitor will not only gain insight into the array of European olives but get an education on the Hunter region and its produce. From season to season the produce will vary with Tintilla producing its fine olives and also luscious Chill Tomato Relish, fig jams and also local hunter honey can be found.

11.30am: Next stop is right next door at Piggs Peake Winery.

Known for twisting the rules of winemaking, Piggs Peake is an unusual place. In fundamental terms, it’s a winery. If your a red wine lover, this place is essential! They have a reputation for bending and twisting the rules of winemaking. Its not uncommon when you are doing a tasting to hear others using words like Heston and Willy Wonka to describe the experience. That’s not to say the classics don’t exist, they do. There are superb examples of Hunter Valley Semillons and Shiraz’s made at Piggs. But, its things like Moree Pedro Ximenez, Orange Zinfandels that take people by surprise make you stop and think. If you’re looking for classic wines, unusual varietals or something you’ve never experienced before, drop by for a tasting.

1pm: Feeling famished, a lunch pit stop to Two Fat Blokes was in order Perfect for a casual breakfast or lunch serving an amazing fresh range of local, Australian and International gourmet food.

Picture yourself relaxing in a small cafe in Provence or Tuscany, we have created an ambiance to rival that. It’s a place to relax and plan your day sipping on a Crema Coffee (and sweets) or a cold drink. Lunch is nice and casual – a menu offering many choices of snacks or more formal dishes at very reasonable prices.

2.30pm: Next stop on the ‘vino train’ is Worthingtons. Located on Mistletoe Lane it is the perfect place to try some great wine and soak up some amazing views of the Hunter Valley.

4pm: Yes its time for more wine! Go to the beautiful Keith Tulloch on the verandah.

Planted in 1978 on Deasys Road Pokolbin, this Semillon vineyard has consistently produced fruit of the very highest pedigree – this was behind they're decision to purchase the vineyard immediately when it became available in early 2017. The first harvest on the property was the 2018 vintage, and since this year we have consistently produced a single vineyard wine from this site. Oriented East-West on a gently sloping block, the long rows of vines have plentiful sunlight, whilst the volcanic clay and limestone soils have proven to express the zesty characters of great Hunter Valley Semillon. Its particularly the great staff and the amazing wine that gives it 5stars.

6pm: Time for some fun activity! Try the Wine Escape Room at Sutton Estate. Yes there is Wine involved and yes you will laugh and be scared a little but its all about wine education and a bit of fun. It will be an adventure you won't forget.

7.30pm: Time to eat again to a trip one of the Hunter Valley’s finest culinary venue, to Botanica to finish off your day. Restaurant Bot anica mixes modern Australian dining with a regionally distinctive style using fresh picked Hunter Valley ingredients.

Dining at Restaurant Botanica begins with the belief that great chefs must be great gardeners. The menu delivers produce picked fresh that morning with seasonal dishes effortlessly matched with wines from the Hunter Valley – Australia’s oldest wine region.

The restaurant has achieved a Chef-Hat in the Australian Good Food Guide for 2019.

Restaurant Botanica offers both vegetarian and vegan a la carte options. Our chefs are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements.

With the Hunter Valley opening after 2019 bushfires and COVID, it’s a great reason to support local businesses and check out the region, to experience its unique culture, fine wine and succulent food.

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