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The best wineries in the Hunter Valley

This article originally appeared on www.hotelclub.com/blog. which is now part of hotels.com

If your affinity for wine is equal to your love of travel, you’ve come to the right place.  HotelClub members receive a special discount on their first order of Naked Wines exclusive range of wines, hand made by independent winemakers.

Even if you’ve never been, you’ll no doubt have heard about the Hunter Valley – Australia’s fabled wine region that produces award-winning drops lauded the world over, nestled within lush, rolling green hills a few hours north of Sydney. It’s also one of the oldest wine spots in all the land (the region’s first bottles were corked in the early 19th century) and houses more than 150 wineries. So where to start your wine-tasting adventure? We asked the people who know the Hunter Valley best – a handful of HotelClub’s favourite local hoteliers – for their expert pick of the best vines for “wine time”.

1. Chris Codd, Manager, Harrigan’s Irish Pub

What’s the best winery in the region?

I really like Scarborough Wines. They’re on top of the hill on Gillards road, and they do the full tasting – they sit down, take you through each of the wines individually. They give you time to sample each one, and do things a lot more traditionally.

What’s your wine of choice?
Probably the Scarborough White Label Chardonnay.

Wineries aside, what’s a must-do in the Hunter Valley for a first-timer?
We’ve got one of the largest attractions in the southern hemisphere – the Hunter Valley Gardens. It’s 50 hectares of manicured gardens with 10 featured individual gardens.

Tell us a little bit about your hotel?
We’re a pub that has four-star accommodation attached, 48 rooms. We’re quite a large hotel, family orientated. Good food, good customer service at a decent price in the valley.

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2. Noreen Gottaan, Managing Director, Hermitage Lodge

What’s the best winery in the region? We have two favourites – Scarborough Wine Company, which has fantastic views and beautiful wine. They have a really great cellar door experience. Everything they do is really fabulous – they do a sit-down tasting, you get a bit of cheese, the wine is beautiful, the staff are knowledgeable. It’s really informative. As does Keith Tulloch Wine. They have fantastic wines and are a little bit higher-end than Scarborough. They have a beautiful cellar door. It’s just a really great experience rather than standing up at the bar. It’s a whole experience.

What’s your wine of choice?
The Pepper Tree Pinot Gris.

Wineries aside, what’s a must-do in the Hunter Valley for a first-timer?
Sabor Dessert Bar is something a little different. There’s also a great cheese shop at Tempus Two called Smelly Cheese.

Tell us a little bit about your hotel?
We’re very centrally located and we’re quite small, with 20 rooms. We give personalised service, the rooms are very nicely appointed and we have a lovely restaurant onsite as well.

3. Christine Tancred, Manager, Rothbury Escape

What’s the best winery in the Hunter Valley?
Sovereign Hill Lodge do a beautiful champagne. We’ve got Midnight Promise right next door to us that have great wines.

What’s your wine of choice?
No wine – champagne is my choice.

Wineries aside, what’s a must-do in the Hunter Valley for a first-timer?
There’s lots to do in the Hunter Valley. There’s hot air ballooning, golfing, open air concerts. Lots of things. Just a nice, casual lifestyle to be away from the city life.

Tell us a little bit about your hotel?
We have eight one-bedroom units, ensuited and people get a complimentary breakfast and a bottle of wine upon arrival. And we have fully equipped kitchen, lounge and dining facilities, fire in the communal area for all the guests to use. So we’re like a little mini motel, with the added benefit that you can actually cook on sight. We’re situated on 20 acres. It’s very peaceful.

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4. Katrina Barrionuevo, Director of Sales, The Sebel Kirkton

What’s the best winery in the region?
My personal favourite would have to be Tulloch Wines.

What’s you wine of choice? A Tulloch Creme De Vin.

Wineries aside, what’s a must-do in the Hunter Valley for a first-timer?
Definitely a hot air balloon ride.

Tell us a little bit about your hotel?
It’s a journey into a unique country experience, set on 70 acres of grounds with iconic views of the Hunter Valley. Its got old-world charm and classic hospitality.

5. Robert Coates, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

What’s the best winery in the region?
My favourite would be Draytons – there’s just so much history in the area.

What’s you wine of choice?
The Draytons Reserve Semillon 2010

Wineries aside, what’s a must-do in the Hunter Valley for a first-timer?

There are so many activities available – but my pick would be to just get out for a drive and breathe in the fresh air with a picnic.

Tell us a little bit about your hotel?
Fantastic resort, 18 hole golf course, Ubika Spa, Lovedale Brewery, a mix of Villa accommodation, 2 and 3 bedroom, or just guest rooms. Water Dragons kids club, with our own resort train, and beautiful pool and spa. A 2000 sq metre brand new conference centre, all on 99 acres of space to enjoy.

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