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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.


With more than 150 wineries, the Hunter Valley really overdelivers when it comes to wine-tasting. But if you really want to learn more about the wine you're swirling around in your glass, booking a winery tour is your best bet. Not all wineries let you go behind-the-scenes, but there are a bunch of wineries that run scheduled tours, so you can get the inside scoop on how a bunch of grapes is magically turned into a bottle of sublime wine.

Bookings are essential and don't forget to wear enclosed shoes and take a hat and sunscreen, as some tours include a walk through the vineyards.

Founded in 1970 and given a massive $8 million redevelopment in 2018, Brokenwood is one of the region's big guns. It's big in size – the humungous 1400-square-metre complex boasts a spacious tasting room with circular bars opening to an outdoor terrace, a wine museum, private dining rooms and two eateries – but it also has a big reputation, renowned for its Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz (the only Hunter wine to hold exceptional status in Langton's Classification of Australian Wine).

​You can book a behind-the-scenes tour and taste, which starts off in one of the private tasting rooms where you taste six premium Brokenwood wines (three white, three red) matched with canapés created by on-site The Wood Restaurant. A tour of the winery comes next, where you will learn all aspects of winemaking, followed by a taste of pre-release Brokenwood wine straight from the barrel. Cost $100pp.

​Carillion doesn't run tours during vintage, when they're busy harvesting the grapes, but will be starting their tours again in March. Great news for those who love The Gram, as the tour takes in one of the most beautiful views in the Valley. The boutique brand specialises in traditional local varieties, Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay, as well as some funky blends like Semillon, Verdelho and Chardonnay, and Italian varieties Sagrantino, Vermentino and Verduzzo.

​The tours run every Saturday and Sunday at 10am (weather dependent) starting with a soil briefing in the hilltop cellar door overlooking those to-die-for views of rolling hills and vineyards, followed by a walk through the vines lining the slopes in Mount View learning about the different varieties and how they are grown, followed by a tasting back in the cellar door. Cost $15pp includes a souvenir tasting glass to take home with you.

​ With more than 300 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Orange, Tamburlaine is one of Australia's largest organic wine producers. All wines are preservative-free and, since the 2017 vintage, they're all vegan-friendly too. They offer a sneak peek into their line-up of organic wines and the regenerative farming principles they use in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Pokolbin property six days a week.

​The 90-minute guided tour includes a stroll through the vineyards and working winery, followed by a structured tasting of eight to 10 wines with a cheese platter to nibble on. The tours run at 9.30am weekdays and at 1pm on Sundays. Cost $35pp ($40 vegan option).

​ Tyrrell's is one of the Hunter Valley's most popular family-owned wineries and the perfect place to learn about the rich history of winemaking in the region. Five generations of the Tyrrell's family have been tending vines and creating outstanding wines at the iconic Pokolbin estate since 1858.

​The daily walking tour takes in some of the oldest vineyards in the Valley with stunning views of the Brokenback Range and then moves indoors to the heritage winery where you can learn a bit more about what's in your glass. Then it's off to the old cellar door with its dirt floor for a tasting of some of Tyrrell's delicious drops, including their award-winning Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. A selfie in front of the old slab hut out front of the cellar door that founder Edward Tyrrell built in 1858 is a must. The 90-minute tour runs daily at 10.30am. Cost $15pp (free if under 18).

​ Want an intimate look at a boutique winery that's an olive producer too? Then head to this beauty in the outlying hamlet of Broke. The family owned estate not only produces tasty wines, including a Portuguese red called Touriga Nacional that's won a swag of awards, they also produce premium virgin olive oil and Kalamata table olives.

​You can take part in a walking tour around the relaxed rural retreat, starting with a tour of the vines with the imposing Yellow Rock escarpment providing an impressive backdrop. This is followed by a stroll through the olive grove where the kangaroos like to siesta before heading indoors to the winery for an educational tour and tasting surrounded by the tanks and barrels. Tours run from 10.30am to 3.30pm Friday to Sunday. Cost $15pp.

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