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HUNTER VALLEY BLOG

With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

Follow our insider tips by the people who know best… the locals. We ask talented winemakers, chefs, farmers, brewers and journalists to blog about their favourite places and experiences in this fertile wine region.

It's vintage time! Where you can pick and stomp grapes in the Hunter Valley

As you can expect around vintage time, it’s all go go go here in the Hunter Valley. Our winemakers, viticulturists, vignerons and vineyard staff are all hard at work preparing for the 2022 harvest.

Vintage is one of the best times to visit the Valley. The grapes are bursting with colour and flavour, the vines are looking lush and green, and the community is in full swing with everyone pitching in to harvest the grapes at the right times – whites are picked first, follow by reds.

Harvest traditionally kicks off about 100 days after the vines flower and in the Hunter Valley that's usually between January and March, depending on the weather. This year harvest has only just kicked off with the majority of wineries starting next week – week of the 24th January.

For an insight into a Hunter Valley vintage and how you can get your hands dirty too, read on.

Want to get in on the action and experience the 2022 vintage first-hand by picking and stomping grapes? We’ve got you covered with an awesome line-up of grape picking and stomping events throughout the months of January to March that show you what it’s like to be winemaker for a day.

Some of the wineries mentioned below don't have specific dates for their events as it will depend on when the grapes ripen, so if you want to score tickets you'll need to get in fast as there are limited numbers. Plus, some are member-only events, so you'll need to sign up for membership to take part.

And remember, if you're going to be stepping into the shoes of a winemaker you need to dress like a winemaker. That means enclosed, flat shoes for work in the vineyard and winery, and casual clothes that you don't mind getting dirty and stained.

GLANDORE ESTATE WINES

The Glandore vintage picking day 2022 is held on Saturday 29th January and is not to be missed! Well-known for their fun, memorable and go big or go home style events, join the crew at Glandore Estate Wines for an action-packed day experiencing everything from vineyard to winery work.

You’ll kick off the day with breakfast cooked by their multitalented winemakers from 6:30am and of course freshly brewed coffee to give you that early morning energy boost. Followed by grape picking in the vineyards and grape stomping at the winery. Indulge in a wine or three while playing outdoor games to really work up an appetite. Conclude the day with a well-earned gourmet lunch with matching wines in the barrel room. It’s a full-on day so prepare yourself for fun, laughter, a bit of work but most importantly wine, lots of wine.

Glandore vintage event 1

Details:

- Date: Saturday 29th January 2022

- Where: Glandore Estate Wines | 1595 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320

- Time: 6:30am until well in the afternoon

- Cost: Members $160pp | Non-members $180pp | Children $60pc

- More Information

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Glandore vintage event 2

 

PETER DRAYTON WINES

Peter Drayton Wines annual grape picking, stomping and bottling event is back for 2022. Held on Sunday 6th February from 11am, this is an event to entertain the whole family. Experience the fun side of wine making as you take part in some of the most important steps of vintage; picking and stomping grapes and bottling and tasting the wine.

The little ones can also join in on the fun but there will also be additional activities to ensure there’s more fun to be had. From a jumping castle to a face painter and prizes to be won the excitement lasts well into the afternoon. This is all hard work, so your ticket includes a sumptuous buffet lunch paired with sparkling wine and craft beer. There’ll be live music playing on the day and you’ll get the chance to meet the winemaker and the team to learn from the best.

PDW stomp event

Details:

- Date: Sunday 6th February 2022

- Where: Peter Drayton Wines | 694 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320

- Time: 11am until late in the afternoon

- Cost: Adults $120pp | Children $40pc | Under 5 FREE

- More Information

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PDW stomp

 

BONVILLA ESTATE

This year we have newcomers Bonvilla Estate hosting a French style harvest event on Sunday 6th February. In France, the time of harvest is known as la vendange, hence the name of the event. At Bonvilla Estate the team is like family, and the Bonvilla family are inviting you to experience, first-hand, their amazing and wonderful 2022 la vendange season.

You’ll have the opportunity to handpick grape straight off the vines, followed by grape stomping, which is a must-do experience in Wine Country. Once the morning’s work is done, there’s more fun to be had as you join with winery team for a nourishing feast with matching wines overlooking the stunning vineyard. Later on in the year, once the wine has been bottled, you’ll receive a special bottle of wine made from the grapes that you handpicked at la vendange.

Bonvila Vintage

Details:

- Date: Sunday 6th February 2022

- Where: Bonvilla Estate | 534 Oakey Creek Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320

- Time: 9am onwards

- Cost: $100pp

More Information

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OAKVALE WINES

You’re invited to Oakvale’s annual Crush Party 2022! Join the team at Oakvale Wines as they take you through the full experience of a Hunter Valley harvest. From grape picking, sorting and stomping to a hearty lunch in the vineyard matched with your Oakvale favourites, plus live music, what more could you ask for!

Oakvale

Details:

- Date: Saturday 19th February 2022

- Where: Oakvale Winery | 1596 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320

- Time: 10:30am – 4:30pm

- Cost: Members $144pp | Non-members $180pp

- More Information

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Oakvale vintage

 

MARGAN WINES & RESTAURANT

While vintage is an exhausting time for all involved, from the vineyard to the winery to the cellar door, there’s still fun to be had. Join the team at Margan Wines & Restaurant for an exclusive look into harvest 2022 and the winemaking process. This year marks 25 vintages for Margan so Andrew, Lisa and the Margan team are excited to celebrate this milestone with you!

Enjoy a guided tour of their sustainably farmed vineyards by Andrew Margan himself, followed by a vermouth cocktail masterclass and topped off with a visit to the winery where you’ll learn about the winemaking process and what makes Margan wines unique. This is all hungry work, so you’ll finish the day in the Barrel Room and be treated to a seasonally inspired three-course lunch matched with specially selected Margan wines.

vineyard cereshill semillon heroimage handpicking family alessa andrew ollie chriselfes

Details:

- Date: Saturday 19th February 2022

- Where: Margan Wines & Restaurant | 1238 Milbrodale Rd, Broke NSW 1317

- Time: 10am – 4pm

- Cost: $180pp

- More Information

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winery tank sampling redwine tanktap nicole landscape lg

 

Saddler's Creek Wines

Combining fun and wine education, join the vintage crew at Saddler's Creek Wines as you put yourself in the shoes of a winemaker and discover the life of a grape from vineyard to glass. You'll not only get the opportunity to pick and stomp grapes but also experience the behind the scenes winemaking processes, contact a Baumé analysis and taste the wine at each stage of the winemaking process.

This is not easy work, so afterwards, you'll be treated to a banquet brunch in the winery. Brunch will be prepared by the talented chefs at Vincent St Kitchen and Bar and paired with Saddler's Creek wine.

Saddlers vintage 22

Details:

- Date: Saturday 19th February 2022

- Where: Saddler's Creek Wines | 15 Marrowbone Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320

- Time: 8am – 12pm

- Cost: Members $75pp | Non-members $85pp

- More Information

BOOK NOW

Saddlers creek vintage 22

 

STOMP! WINES

Become an apprentice winemaker for a day and join the team at Stomp! Wines for a fun and educational look at life as a winemaker during vintage. Your day will consist of measuring grape ripeness, sampling 2022 juices and ferments, wine blending and tasting and of course grape stomping.

After all the hard work is done, it’s time to relax with a three-course alfresco lunch prepared by Hunter local chef, Matt Dillow from The Deck Café Lovedale. Your lunch will be paired with wines and there will be live music playing in the background.

2062STO Stomp 2021 Event Photography 080 LR RGB FA

Details:

- Date: Saturday 5th March 2022

- Where: Stomp! Wines | 504 Wilderness Rd, Lovedale NSW 2325

- Time: 11:30am – 3pm

- Cost: $160pp

- More Information

BOOK NOW

2062STO Stomp 2021 Event Photography 049 LR RGB FA

 

VINDEN WINES

Winemaker, Angus Vinden, also runs an annual picking and crushing day for members and friends. It's a real hands-on experience as you get to pick grapes in the vineyard, load them by hand into the fermenters and then take off your shoes and socks and stomp the grapes with your feet in the fermenters. After all the work's done for the day, Angus provides lunch for the pickers. It's a free event and the perfect way to get a glimpse into the winemaking process. The exact date is vintage dependent, so you'll need to check in with him for specific dates.

Vinden Vintage event

 

HUNTER VALLEY RESORT

You can also have a go at traditional grape stomping in an oak barrel at Hunter Valley Resort. It regularly holds wine appreciation classes as well as other activities including pressing grapes by foot. It's a fun way to learn how grapes were crushed into juice before machines were used. Minimum numbers apply and bookings are essential. $35pp (cost is subject to seasonal grape availability).

Hunter valley resort grape stomping 2

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