We enjoyed a fantastic and humorous day-trip to the Hunter Valley to try a number of different wines in the vineyards of the region.
It was an early start as we were picked up from our hotel in Newcastle at 7am before making the trip to the Hunter Valley. All of us were pretty tired after out journey up the Pacific Highway yesterday.
The journey took much longer than originally expected as Elton John was in the area for a concert. But this afforded us a great opportunity to see some of the countryside surrounding Newcastle in NSW.
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Hunter Valley
Eventually, we arrived at our first winery – Ridgeview Wines. This winery is family owned and makes wines while encouraging biodiversity in the vineyard.
We tasted a number of wines including reds, whites and roses which were all delicious. I can see why this vineyard had received a number of awards for its wine.
Two of our friends on the trip were clearly quite fond of this winery too, buying a bottle to sink before the next stop. They would be a source of great delight and amusement throughout the course of our day.
Macquariedale Organic Wines
Our next stop on our trip around the Hunter Valley was Macquariedale Organic Wines. This winery specialises in natural winemaking that are vegan and vegetarian friendly.
In 2005 the winery was the first in the Hunter Valley to achieve full Biodynamic Certification.
All of the products the vineyard uses to make wine are natural and do not use chemicals, herbicides or pesticides. We decided to buy a white liquor, very similar to Port to take home and try.
In another humorous event, we had to wait a bit longer for our two friends to reboard the bus. They were getting better acquainted on a nearby bench and received an enthusiastic round of applause when they finally returned.
Wynwood Estate, Hunter Valley
For our lunch, we made our way to Wynwood Estate where my wife ordered a pork schnitzel with gravy and chips. I went for a simpler choice of fish and chips! The food was accompanied by a glass of complimentary wine and some relaxing background music, which our two inebriated friends started dancing too!
While walking around the gardens here, we discovered that this vineyard estate one of the newest in the Hunter Valley.
Ernest Hill Wines
With the food lining the stomach a bit we made our way to our next stop at Ernest Hill Wines.
Ernest Hill started making wine in 2002 and have a variety of wines on offer including Cyril Semillon, Alexander chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz. merlots and others.
This was probably the most informative visit of the day as our host told us the best techniques for tasting wine. It was definitely my favourite tipple of the day and we bought two large glasses to sip in the gardens while we waited for the bus.
Remaining on the bus were our two friends. I think they needed some sleep after our last stop.
Matilda Bay Brewhouse, Hunter Valley
Our next stop was not actually a winery, but the Matilda Bay Brewhouse. This was music to my ears as I love a good beer.
My wife said I was like a kid in a sweet shop at this brewery. I spent ages trying to decide what to have. In the end, I finally chose to have a beer float of six of their best ales. This was fantastic and I finished off with a pint of my favourite, Munich pale.
Our two wasted cohorts were in top form here too, they were looking for a lost wallet which was later found in the front garden of the establishment.
Pokolbin Chocolate and Cheese Shop
The next port of call gave us a bit of rest from the onslaught of alcohol. This came in the form of the Pokolbin Chocolate and Cheese Shop.
I tried a number of cheeses on display here and bought a small takeaway selection to consume, as well as some spicy cooked sausage. The wife could not resist buying a small selection of chocolates to eat on the bus too.
Our final venue to visit was the Hunter Distillery which specialises in its production of gin, vodka, liqueurs and schnapps.
We got to taste a number of their vodkas including raspberry, apple, coffee, chocolate and chilli. The chilli vodka certainly had a kick to it too.
The Hunter Distillery was certainly a welcome change to the wineries and mixed the day up a little bit.
It was great to see our two friends attempt to try some vodka here, but promptly being refused on the grounds of one of them being too intoxicated.
Chinois Restaurant, Newcastle
The trip back to Newcastle was a lot quicker from the Hunter Valley than the morning’s trip.
Onc back in Newcastle it was then time to find some food for our evening meal. We decided on Chinois Restaurant which was not too far from our hotel. I decided on king prawn with ginger and vegetables. Even though the service was a bit slow the food was excellent.
We had such a great day tasting the alcoholic beverages of the Hunter Valley. There was such a great selection of vineyards and other places of interest.
Despite giving them some stick in this blog, our drunk friends were pretty well-behaved during their legendary performance. They certainly amused everyone on the bus. No doubt they would be rough in the morning.