Hunter Valley Wine
Audrey Wilkinson Winery
If there was an award for the most picturesque winery in the Hunter, Audrey Wilkinson would win it hands down. Best of all, the wines inside the country-house tasting room stand tall as well. Soak in the breathtaking views of the Brokenback Mountain Ranges as you sip stand outs such as semillon, chardonnay and shiraz. The winery also produces an interesting Gewurztraminer that’s worth a look.
With a name that means ‘place of good view’ in the local Indigenous language, Bimbadgen has a beautiful backdrop to complement your tasting. The venue of many a great concert in the Hunter is another stop for eating and swirling amidst the century-old fig trees. The tasting rooms are spacious, the estate wines hit the mark – try the semillon, chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz and shiraz viognier, with the latter being one of the best examples of that blend in the Valley – and Esca restaurant serves a great Mod-Oz lunch and dinner.
Natural wine is everywhere right now, and there’s a reason for that: it’s delicious. Harkham Wines in the Hunter Valley is one of our favourite producers, and it’s also one of the closest wineries to Sydney that produces natural drops. The best thing about Harkham? It has accommodation, so you can drink to your liver’s content, as there’s no need to drive anywhere afterwards.
All hail chardonnay! Dating back to 1975, Brokenwood may be known for its Cricket Pitch red, but the real standouts are the award-winning chardonnays from Beechworth (Vic), Hunter Valley and Orange (NSW). Expect fruit-driven wines that have a good acidic balance. Opt for a casual, private or group tasting at the cellar door. While it can get busy on weekends, the staff are friendly and find a way to offer a pleasant experience even when there are hordes.
Look out for the magpie: that’s when you know you’ve found a gem of a boutique producer in Lovedale, known for its shiraz and semillon. The chardonnay is also a standout, as is the merlot. The small cellar door has the feeling of a country house and alongside serving samples of wine, gourmet products from across the Hunter are also on sale. Sample Gartelmann’s finest in their cellar door or opt for a tasting on the covered deck overlooking the dam. There’s also a café that’s open for breakfast and lunch.