Hunter Valley wines are acclaimed around the world. The Hunter region is divided into the Upper and Lower Hunter by the Hunter River. A registered wine sub-region known as Broke Fordwich exists in the Lower Hunter region. Some of the most famous types of wines to come out of the 7,000 acre vineyards include semillon, shiraz, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, cabernet sauvignon, and pinot noir.
There are numerous wine tours that feature many interesting activities in addition to the obvious wine and cheese tasting sessions. In fact, some wine tours even offer full meals and tea over the course of the day as you walk through vineyards and gardens and generally commune with nature.
As Australia's oldest wine region, wine tours tend to emphasize the history of the locality. Hence, some wine tours will have its group visit the nearby historic Wollombi village. Samples of famous wines are distributed and the group may be permitted to purchase one or two bottles that suit their preferences. One wine tour goes deep into Oz history, examining the Australian Outback, history, and Aboriginal culture. The group is introduced to the locals, visit the national parks, and hear tales of the old days when the island was just being developed as well as stories about the lives of the convicts who were imprisoned there.
Other wine tours tend to focus more on the upscale nature of wine tasting, taking their groups to the boutique wineries, where they can sample the produce and surroundings as they discuss the wine business with the owners. Although harvest season is between late January and late March, there are still plenty of activities that can supplement the tours year round. And of course, cases of wine are always available throughout the year at "cellar door tastings."
If you're interested in going on one of the wine tours, the best place to sign up would be at the Cessnock Information Center, which carries up-to-date information on the various wineries that operate in the region. The center arranges bookings for activities that can include everything from horse riding to riding in a hot air balloon. The most reputable wineries operating in and around Sydney are Wyndham Estate, Tyrrell's Vineyards, Rosemount Estate, Peppers Creek, Lindemans, Lake's Folly, and Farrell's Wines. There are also a large number of gourmet restaurants in the area to supplement the great wines. Be sure to sample the fresh seafood and local produce for a well-rounded experience of the region.