I am a lover of fine wines so during our trip to Australia was keen to enhance my knowledge of as many of the wine regions as I could. A trip to the Hunter Valley was therefore an essential part of our time in Sydney. We selected Wine Country Tours from a tourist information booklet. I was attracted by the idea of having a wine professional conduct the tour - particularly when so many of the other tours seemed aimed at perhaps a student crowd.
This was to be a last minute booking but was easy to arrange - they answered my call quickly & we were booked in. They were very quick to answer subsequent emails & enquiries.
Richard arrived in his minibus right on time - we were lucky enough to be the only couple that day so it ended up as our own private tour. Richard is a great raconteur so the two hour drive to the Hunter Valley was interesting & entertaining. We learned as much about Australian culture, politics & current affairs as we did about wine!
When we arrived in the Hunter Valley we enjoyed a relaxed morning tea at Peppers Guest house before heading off to Tyrells winery for some serious tasting. It was harvest time so there was plenty of activity at the winery & Richard took us on a full tour explaining the various processes & encouraging our interaction. We then moved on to the tasting room for a tutored tasting conducted by Richard himself. We sampled a wide variety of Tyrells wines with the opportunity to compare & contrast various varietals & vintages. The focus was much more on the appreciation of the wine rather than simply an assessment of whether it was any good or worthy of purchase. Plenty of time was allowed for this so we did not feel rushed. Once finished we headed up to Muse restaurant @ the Hungerford Hill winery for a late lunch. The food was truly exceptional & far better than would usually be expected as part of any tour. Clearly Richard has designed a package to suit the discerning palate. We concluded the day tasting some of the Hungerfod Hills wines before the journey back to our hotel in Sydney.
I thoroughly enjoyed this tour - the structure of the day was far better suited to the enjoyment of good wine than the alternative of simply visiting cellar door after cellar door. I would recommend this tour both for the novice & the keen amateur alike - you will end the day having gained a considerable knowledge of Australian wine.
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