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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.

Top places to catch live music in the #huntervalley

Each year the Hunter Valley plays host to some of the world's biggest music acts. For example, this month you can catch some of the greatest jazz artists, including Grace Knight and James Morrison, at Jazz in the Vines on November 24 at Hope Estate.

But if you're in the mood for some music with your mates, you don't have to head to a big-ticket event. Whether it's a sun-drenched beer garden with a live band or a terrace bar with vineyard views and a smooth soundtrack, it's an end-of week ritual to enjoy some great vino and vibes.

Here are some Hunter hangouts where you can listen to top hits while you sip.

Esca Bimbadgen

Kickstart the weekend with live music at Esca Bimbadgen (pictured above) every Friday night during November. and December From 5.30pm you can enjoy the smooth sounds of a local acoustic artist, with sunset drinks on the Esca balcony followed by dinner in the award-winning restaurant. Performances on November 2 and 16 by singer/guitarist Samuel Schirmer, November 16 by Tiali Ditton, a singer who plays acoustic and electric guitar; November 23 by multi-instrumentalist Chris Gable; and November 30 by Dominique Morgan, who plays classic hits.

Harrigan's Irish Pub

This popular pub has hosted weekly gigs for weekend after weekend for years now. Whether you're looking for an afternoon bevvy with a ballad or two, or want to grab a friend and hit the dancefloor until midnight, Harrigan's is the music venue for you. It has live music on the deck every Friday and Saturday night until midnight, and Saturday and Sundays from 1-4pm with a different performer each day. Some of this month's acts include The Smarts on November 3, a rock band trio with a repertoire of popular chartbusters; solo artist Greg Bryce on November 10, who plays a range of covers and original material; and local artist Kristy J on November 18.

For the full gig guide click here.

Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Kitchen

Another great spot to relax and listen to live music when the weekend rolls around. It's weather permitting as the gigs at Two Fat Blokes are outdoors in front of the table settings on the lawn overlooking the vineyard at De Iuliis Wines. Each Saturday from 12-3pm soloist Tim Usher plays pop music that creates a great family atmosphere and on Sundays from 11am-2pm there's a different style of music each week – from blues and folk to country and pop. Some entertainers include Felix and Quinn acoustic duo, Frohlich Brothers – a two-piece Newcastle band who play folk, soft rock and blues, Kent Daniel and Dave and Rusty Katz.

UPDATE: Two Fat Blokes has since moved location to Harkham Wines but is still hosting the weekly music sessions.

IronBark Hill Brewhouse

Ironbark Hill Brewhouse/Peter Drayton Wines

Check social media and you'll see posts of people dancing in the daylight at this boutique brewhouse and cellar door. Every Saturday and Sunday from 12-4pm the toe-tapping Kwozzi play on the sunny deck overlooking the grapevines. BJ (a Kiwi) and Diana (an Ozzi) are the talented duo who plays keyboard and guitar, performing easy listening music and popular old favourites such as Daryl Braithwaite's The Horses – a real sing-a-long crowdpleaser.

Pepper Tree Wines

On the last Sunday of each month Pepper Tree Wines pulls out all the stops for #SundayFunday. You can sprawl on a picnic rug on the manicured lawns and listen to live music from 11am-2pm while tucking into wine, cheese and antipasto platters. It's a relaxed vibe among the pretty cottage gardens and quaint cellar door with multi-instrumentalist Mitch Burgess booked in for the next Sunday sesh on November 25.

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