Hunter valley winery

Top wineries to visit in the Hunter Valley, according to your priorities

Calling all wine lovers! Want to escape the city for the day? Here’s the go-to guide to the beautiful Hunter Valley which is just 3 hours north of Sydney. So whether you’re a lover of the vino or your Insta-game needs a pick-me-up, be whisked away on your wine ultimate retreat.

People tasting wines in winery
Image: Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley

I went over the Easter weekend with a couple of friends, but it’s the perfect tour to also go solo as there’s plenty of other like-minded, wine-loving visitors within the group too! I booked the tour through Travel Up!, Wake Up! Sydney’s very own travel desk with super helpful, friendly team members who try and get you the best deal possible.

The Bigger, The Better

We kicked off our Hunter Valley tour with a visit to McGuigan Wines. I believe this is one of the largest wineries within Hunter Valley! We had a tour of the factory here, which was super impressive to see the process of how wine is produced. We then had a private group tasting session, sampling a variety of wines produced on their premises.

Inside McGuigan Wines winery
Image: A sneak peek into McGuigan Wines

But this tour isn’t just for tasting – we learnt some vino facts along the way. McGuigan Wines, for example, holds up to 1 million litres of wine at a time, with each barrel holding over $100,000 worth of wine. Crazy right?! 

For The Insta-Obsessed

If you’re more into the ‘grammable goods than tastings and tours, then these beautiful wineries should be high on your hit-list.

Take in the beauty of Cyress Lakes with a complimentary drink and plenty of eye-catching features for the gram. The location was beautiful, giving us incredible views over a golf course, swimming pool and pond with a fountain.

Lake at Cyress Lakes winery
Image: Wine by the water at Cyress Lakes

If you’re looking for something on the smaller side, Iron Gate Estate is the perfect winery for you. The building was so beautiful, built with evident European influences. As the wine tasting takes place outside, you are graced with incredible views across the vineyards, the perfect backdrop to capture your new Insta pic!

Iron Gate Estate winery
Image: The quaint beauty of Iron Gate Estate

A More Intimate Tour

Mount Pleasant, a short drive from Iron Gate Estate, is the best location to get an insider’s look into wine-making. A wine expert took us for a walk with one of the samples of red wine, showing us which vines were used to produce the drink in our hands. It was pretty cool to see and think about the long process it’s been through, from the vine all the way through to the smooth, deep red liquid in front of us!

Glass of red wine
Image: A glass of red in hand at Mount Pleasant

The Best Time To Wine

Although wine can be enjoyed any day of the week, the best time to visit the wineries throughout Australia is around November to January. This is when the grapes are in full development and the vineyards are thriving, with rows and rows of lush green trees. Despite visiting in April, it was still beautiful and worth a visit, especially on a clear, sunny day!

Two girls in front of winery
Image: Enjoying the winery in April

More Info On Wine Tours

We went with an organised tour group called Colourful Trips, but there are plenty of options depending on what you want to get out of your day. Some Hunter Valley wine tours stop off at cheese tastings and chocolate factories as well as the wineries. Our tour with Colourful Trips visited three wineries, and included lunch too!

If you’re looking for something a little different to do near Sydney, I’d highly recommend a group day tour to the Hunter Valley! Ask at Wake Up! Sydney’s very own Travel Desk for advice and the best deals going to Hunter Valley today.

girl, garden
by Helen Jackson

A travel-obsessed gal from England, running away from adulting and the cold. Fulfilling my wanderlust currently in Australia. Follow my adventures @helendemelon.

activities, food and drink, solo travel, Winery

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