Welcome to the second instalment of our Hunter trip – the wine. I couldn’t write about the Hunter and not talk about the wine, now could I? That’d be blasphemy!
Not knowing much about wine other than it tastes great on a Friday night with my dinner, I decided the best option would be to do a wine tour and learn a bit more about the different types. It was hard to find a place though that would offer pick up and drop off services to Red Belly Farm. There was a note from Lynette (the owner of the farm property) letting us know of a couple of places that previous tenants had used and that’s how we discovered Cheers.
For $60pp, we were picked up and dropped back off at our place of stay, we visited 4 wineries, a distillery, stopped for lunch (we paid for that ourselves though) and we were out from about 9:30am and weren’t back until late afternoon. It was unbelievably good value in comparison to others we enquired about.
Our driver for the day was named Royce and he was so friendly and such a joy to travel with all day. He had a wealth of information about the area and the wineries and because it was such a small group on a weekday, he basically catered the day around the types of wineries we wanted to see. Me being a lover of small and boutique type businesses, he took us to the smaller wineries which I absolutely loved. Being smaller wineries, all the wine they made was made from strictly their own vines grown in the Hunter and not brought in from elsewhere, and they seemed to have quite a lot of time for us too. I felt comfortable and relaxed in all the places we visited, and learnt quite a lot too. We ended up buying a bottle from every winery we visited we loved them so much!
The place with the nicest view was most definitely Ivanhoe though!
We also visited Calais Estate which was also nice in it’s own right!
Our lunch stop was at Tempus Two, but we didn’t visit the winery. Instead, Jared and I decided to try and soak up our morning’s wine with some awesome burgers at Tuk Tuk which was a few doors down. I got the soft shell crab burger and it was phenomenal. Perfect mid-wine tour eating!
After all the wineries, we visited Hunter Distillery known for it’s organic vodka and schnapps. They let us try mini test tubes of different flavours and although at first we were apprehensive of trying striahgt vodka, I can honestly say they were nice enough to enjoy with a mixer. The flavours were phenomenal for both the vodka and schnapps, and we had an incredibly hard time choosing which to get. We ended up walking out with a small bottle of butterscotch and choc mint schnapps (hello dessert themed cocktails and cheeky coffees!).
The last place we visited was the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop, and after all that boozing, it was so much harder to refrain from overspending. My foodie senses were going crazy for all the smoked meats and delicious cheese available. We ended up leaving with 2 types of brie, duck pate, olives, bresola, pancetta, smoked salmon, cabanossi and gluten free crackers. Most of which I served up as a makeshift dinner. Amazing!!
If you’re headed to the Hunter for a wine tour, I’d definitely recommend going with Cheers as they were so friendly, relaxed and easy on the budget, all the wineries we visited were also great, the distillery a must if you want to try something different and the Smelly Cheese Shop if you love your cheese and smoked meats.
My last and final instalment of our trip will be up tomorrow, and of course, it’s my favourite one because it’s to do with FOOD! We had the pleasure of visiting a couple of super awesome restaurants and I can’t to share the photos with you all!