With its proximity to Sydney, the Hunter Valley has long been a favourite region to visit for wine lovers, both local and from abroad. But, frustratingly, most of the region's tourism is dominated by huge commercial producers, and those holding ever-popular large-scale concerts.
Our 'different' cellar door guide takes you to the heart and soul of the Hunter, focusing on its amazing history, its up-and-coming stars, and our favourite artisan producers. Plus some fun spots for lunch and the family too!
A Rich History
Tyrrell's Wines historic Cellar Door
In our opinion, no one screams 'Hunter Valley' like the Tyrrell family. Tyrrell's was established by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell way back in 1858, with one-millionth generation winemakers Bruce Tyrrell and son Chris now driving the business into an exciting future. Sample a wide range of high quality Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz at the excellent cellar door, and be sure to ask for the good stuff!
Another long-term centrepiece of the Hunter Valley is Mount Pleasant. Under new ownership and the guidance of Adrian Sparks, just the fifth Chief Winemaker in Mount Pleasant's 100 year history, Mount Pleasant has begun to reassert itself as one of the country's finest Shiraz producers. The newly renovated cellar door is stunning, making this winery simply a must-visit on any Hunter tour.
The Crowd Pleasers
The De Iuliis Wines Team
If you're looking for friendly service, unique tasting experiences and some of the Hunter's best value wines, look no further than the 2022 Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year De Iuliis Wines. De Iuliis is a long-time favourite of ours and provides one of the most reliably enjoyable cellar door experiences in the region.
One of the region's most loved cellar doors, and one of our favourite spots too, is Scarborough Wines. The Scarborough family are famous for their welcoming cellar door, where you'll find arguably the Hunter's most popular Chardonnay, and sweeping views of the region. All with activities for the kids too!
The New Wave
Angus and Hannah Vinden
One of the first producers we always insist you visit in the region is Vinden Wines. Just a stone's throw from the centre of Pokolbin, the peaceful, scenic Vinden cellar door makes a lovely way to slip through the afternoon. Young gun winemaker Angus Vinden runs the show these days, crafting some of the Hunter's most dynamic and boundary-pushing wines. A star on the rise.
If 'natural' wine is your thang (of even if it isn't), then set a course for Harkham Wines in the south of the region. An unassuming cellar door at first glance takes a twist when you enter inside to discover an eclectic, vivacious tasting room unlike any other in the Hunter. Owner/winemaker Richie Harkham is the man behind this unique label, who's sense of adventure is embodied in these creative, pure-feeling wines.
Margan Wines Restaurant
If a long lunch is what you're after, then make sure you book in to the beautiful Margan Wines cellar door and restaurant up in Broke, where you'll find delicious, estate-grown food paired with one of the region's more diverse wine ranges. And keep an eye out on the exciting and innovative 'Breaking Ground' wines of next-gen winemaker Ollie Margan, too!
Set in a renovated church in the heart of the Valley lies Usher Tinkler Wines. Usher has a long family history in the region, and manages to blend traditional Hunter styles with a modern, experimental flair to create an approachable range of wines that keeps you on your toes. Pop into the church, set aside an hour or two and sample Usher's wares alongside the most substantial and delicious salumi selection you'll likely ever see!
More 'Different' Favourites:
Thomas Wines - Winemaking icon Andrew Thomas is still 'the man' when it comes to exploring the different shades of Hunter Shiraz and Semillon.
M&J Becker - Husband & wife team of Megan and James Becker craft exceptional small batch wines from around NSW and even the USA!
Comyns & Co. - Experienced winemaker Scotty Comyns and wife Missy run a gorgeous, centrally located cellar door with contemporary wines and family fun!
Charteris Wines - Industry legend PJ Charteris has relaunched his Hunter Valley brand in a cosy, classy cellar door in the middle of town.
We hope you find this guide useful. Check out our full range of Hunter Valley wineries and wines here, and please feel free to contact us if you'd like any more tips, or if we can help tailor a Hunter Valley experience for you. Cheers!