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Couple sits in vineyard drinking wine.
Photograph: Supplied

The best Hunter Valley wine tours

Experience NSW's most popular wine adventures on these five tours of the region

Maxim Boon
Written by
Maxim Boon
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If you've been hankering for a drop of crisp sauvignon blanc straight from the source or you just want to finally know what the hell tannins are, it’s high time you went on a wine tour.

And in NSW, the Hunter Valley is the place to do it. There are more than 150 wineries dotted over the rolling green hills of the region and collectively they’ve accumulated 180 years of experience in growing, smooshing and fermenting grapes to make our favourite reds, whites, rosés.

Wine not your drop? Sydney has some awesome boutique distilleries such as Brix Rum in Surry Hills, Sydney's first Four Pillars outlet and new kid on the block, Hickson House Distilling Co.

Did you know you can drink chilled reds? Find out how to make a bottle of vin rouge the surprise MVP of your summer chilly bin.

Explore wine country

A trot through the vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage might be the quaintest way to experience the Hunter Valley. Meet your guide and trusty steed at the Small Winemakers Centre, before trundling to cellar doors, and getting to know the region’s produce, tasting olives, cheeses and chocolate. You can make it a private experience or join an open group and meet more wine (and horse) enthusiast friends. A full-day tour (10.30am-4pm) plus lunch costs $125 per adult, while a half-day (finishing at 1.30pm) comes in at $80 per adult. 

This private tour with Tastes of the Hunter does transfers as far as Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton, as well as local round-trips running Sunday-Tuesday. Your chariot will arrive between 8-9.45am, ready to visit three boutique wineries, a cheese shop, chocolaterie and the choice between a vodka and schnapps tasting at Hunter Distillery or something sweet (at your own expense) from Sabor Dessert bar. You’ll also get to decide where to lunch during the tour, but it isn’t included in the cost. Pay $720 to charter a booking for up to 13 passengers and $880 for up to 20 passengers.  

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An evening tour in the Hunter Valley is hard to come by, but you can experience the region by moonlight on this degustation tour. With this iHop Hunter Valley twilight excursion you’ll visit two boutique cellar doors for a guided wine tasting and cheese plate. Next stop is a local brewhouse to sample a tasting paddle of Hunter beers and ciders. Final stop of the night? One of the locals' favourite restaurants. But we won't tell you where. The iHop vehicles will ferry to and from local accommodation for this five-hour experience – for just $169 per guest. 

The guys at Two Fat Blokes want to showcase more than the Hunter region's wine. They show off the region’s chefs and local produce at day-long or multi-day excursions ranging in price from a very reasonable $199 for a first-timer's Uncork the Hunter day tour, to $630 for a two-night romantic getaway. There are also tours that explore the Hunter's breweries, half-day Snapshot tours for just $89 and private adventures with customisable options for between $440-$880 for your entire group. Hungry? Try the Cheese and Wine experience, where you can sample nine carefully curated bites with paired wins for an additional $30.

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The founder of Wine Country Tours Richard Everret will share more than 40 years experience as a winemaker on this city-to-vineyard experience. After your Sydney pick-up, you’ll arrive in the Hunter to a morning tea at around 10am. Richard will then introduce you to the area’s renowned long-ageing dry semillons and other regional varieties, conducting all the tastings personally at various wineries, vineyards and a working wine cellar. Lunch is served at either Muse Kitchen or Esca at Bimbadgen, but not included in the $150 bill for Sydney transfers or the $85 for guests staying locally. Sydneysiders can expect to get home around 7.30pm. 

Hit the open road

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