19 March 2012

The boutique vineyards of The Hunter Valley

150 years ago, scattered throughout the vines, a small region in New South Wales gave birth to Australia’s first vineyard. Now producing some of the world’s best wines (including a particularly good dry white Semillon), The Hunter Valley has well and truly put the Aussies in the lead of a New Wine Order. However impressive, this is not the only drawing card for the Hunter Valley. What really makes this humble town special is their endless commitment to nurture the smaller things in life with a big city attitude; matching grandeur, style and elegance with all things quaint and simple. So drink up the spirit of the Hunter Valley at four of our favourite boutique vineyards and experience a truly unique and charming destination. And just like a cold, crisp glass of vino, there’s nothing like Australia.

BRIAR RIDGE

No trip to the Hunter Valley would be complete without a visit to the Briar Ridge winery. A constant in the Australian Wine Companion (the Semillon’s equivalent to the bible) this expert vineyard constantly produces award winning wines…their 2007 Dairy Hill Single Vineyard Shiraz being a testament to this fact. Although their wines are renowned throughout the country, what reels the locals in is their newly established restaurant, Briar Grillade. An extension of the well known Bistro Molines, this little establishment brings simple and elegant French cuisine to the landscape. Experience country hospitality at its best as owners Sally and Robert Molines make you feel like part of the local clan.

THE LITTLE WINE COMPANY

The name says it all. The Little Wine Company prides itself on producing and unearthing smaller, unique wines, and in doing so, has cemented the Hunter Valley as a leader in the emerging wine scene. A testament to its success, this little vineyard threatens to stray from its name, having amassed more than thirty trophies and hundreds of medals, as well as a name for itself as a big player on the boutique wine scene. Visit this vineyard to taste some of the new and exciting variants of the simple grape such as the Viognier, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot and truly understand the saying “from little things, big things grow”.

RIDGEVIEW WINES

Born out of Darren and Tracey Scott’s dream to produce premium 100% Hunter Valley wines and brought to fruition in 2004 as a bottled and sold product, Ridgeview Wines have since become a local celebrity. Winner of the prestigious 2010 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemaking Trophy, this vineyard encapsulates the heart of The Hunter Valley. Hard work and a commitment to local produce are not the only features of this vineyard. Stay at one of the four resort-like cottages and find yourself immersed amongst the trees with the picturesque lake at your doorstep and Brokenback ranges behind your shoulders. For extra indulgence, book into the luscious king cottage and sink into the scenery from the outdoor Jacuzzi.

MISTLETOE WINERY

Nestled into the north-west corner of Pokolbin, in an area previously known as ‘Mistletoe’, this adorable little winery defines the meaning of boutique wines. Producing extremely small quantities and only sold direct from their cellar door or website, Mistletoe wines are a favourite amongst wine connoisseurs (having just won the 2011 trophy for ‘Best Chardonnay in New South Wales,’ it’s little wonder why). Enjoy their unique, top quality vintages on the terracotta veranda whilst drinking up the spectacular view of the Vineyard. During the cooler months, book in for one of their twilight tastings and enjoy your tipple around a roaring fireplace, and realise that all best things in life will always begin with good wine and company.

Words by Chloe Sachdev

Make your Australian vino dreams a reality with bespoke travel agents, Black Tomato. Visit the website for more information and booking a trip.

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