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Top 12 Hunter Valley Boutique Wineries

Updated on March 30, 2018
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Lonely Koala loves Australia. Aside from lazily dozing off on a fork of a eucalypt, he loves writing about his home.


Hunter Valley is Australia's premier wine region, and the oldest one at that. With about 120 wineries and cellar doors across the region, choosing just ten percent of the total number of winemakers is a matter of bias and subjective opinion.

The fact remains though that when it comes to wine, Hunter Valley is one of the best places to be. So, despite the limitations, I bare the list of my Top 12 Hunter Valley Boutique Wineries.

But first off, a disclosure. These wineries did not pay me to be selected. I'm doing my own selection for the love of it. Australian wine remains the best in the southern hemisphere. I bet on that one.

Audrey Wilkinson

Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia. Views from Audrey Wilkinson.
Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia. Views from Audrey Wilkinson.

Audrey Wilkinson easily tops the list. With 150 years of winemaking history, this rustic cellar door has been producing the best wines. All their wines are standouts – Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdelho, Dry Red, Dry White, Muscat, Rose, Pinot Noir, you name it. My favourite is Tempranillo.

Perching on the foothills of Brokenback Mountain Ranges, a visit to this boutique winery assures you quaint views of their vineyards and a picturesque natural scenery. Not only that, you can sample a glass or two of their excellent Chardonnay.

Tyrell's

Tyrell's Cellar Door. Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW.
Tyrell's Cellar Door. Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

Another subjective choice, but this one has a rich history dating back to 1858. Tyrell’s has been raking in awards – trophies and medals. It received the “Winery of the Year” award from James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion in 2010.

Try their Vat 1 Semillon, Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet, or the award-winning Vat 47 Chardonnay. They’re all outstanding. Well, the range of their wine selection is wide. Check out their Winemaker’s Selection when you visit this elegant cellar door in Broke Road, Pokolbin.

Oakvale

Oakvale's Cellar Door. Pokolbin, NSW.
Oakvale's Cellar Door. Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

Also in Pokolbin, this picturesque vineyard nestles at the base of the Brokenback Mountain Ranges. The cellar door of Oakvale showcases premium handcrafted wines that reflect a unique Hunter Valley winemaking tradition. Their wines are handcrafted to perfection.

Check out the range of their wine selection – the iconic Semillon, Verdelho, Rose, Sangiovese, and the one I like most, the dark fruity flavour Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz. Swill a glass of their Sangiovese, and you know why Oakvale is in the list.

Keith Tulloch

Keith Tulloch's Vineyard. Pokolbin, NSW.
Keith Tulloch's Vineyard. Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

A small family-owned vineyard and winery, you cannot be mistaken at Keith Tulloch. That I can assure you. Although relatively new to the trade, established in 1997, in the past twenty years this quaint winery has been a force of its own to reckon with when it comes to winemaking.

Visit their cellar door in Hermitage Road, Pokolbin for the winemaker’s selection – Marsanne, Epogee, and Vanguard Shiraz. I love their Pinot Noir, but their Semillon and Shiraz-Viognier won’t let you down either.

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant's Vineyard. Pokolbin, NSW.
Mount Pleasant's Vineyard. Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

Awarded the ‘Best Large Cellar Door’ of Hunter Valley in 2014, Mount Pleasant offers sensational wines and outstanding customer service. Maurice O’Shea founded this winery that has become one of the institutions in the region.

The impressive views of Brokenback Range would be a nice backdrop as you swill a glass or two of their flagship Semillon or Shiraz. They have a wide range of different wine varieties from Rose to Verdelho to fortified liqueurs. Their Shiraz is excellent.

Krinklewood

Hero of Krinklewood's Cellar Door. Broke, NSW.
Hero of Krinklewood's Cellar Door. Broke, NSW. | Source

Serenely nestling on Wollombi Road, Broke, Krinklewood grows and takes care the health of their vines in a ‘biodynamic’ way. An organic vineyard, they apply holistic and sustainable farming techniques, refraining from using chemical sprays. They craft their wines with minimal intervention allowing the fruits to do the wonders in the process. The result excellent wines expressing vibrancy and freshness.

Their Semillon and Wild Red are standouts as well as their Shiraz and Rose. Their elegant, light to medium bodied Spider Run Reserve White is highly recommended. Please remember that when it comes to wine, it's all in the name. On your visit to Krinklewood, you figure out what on earth is biodynamic.

Small Winemakers Centre

Welcome Sign of Small Winemakers Centre. Pokolbin, NSW.
Welcome Sign of Small Winemakers Centre. Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

A charming cellar door on McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, you won’t be seeing sandwiches here. What welcomes you instead is a glass of their aromatic Vermentino, Chardonnay, or Sangiovese.

Small Winemakers Centre offers the largest range of wines from six winemakers in the region. A team of light-hearted and friendly folks lets you taste their wines and guides you which is which when it comes to wine and wine pairing.

De Iuliis Wines

Cellar Door of De Iuliis. Pokolbin, NSW.
Cellar Door of De Iuliis. Pokolbin, NSW. | Source

It is quite hard to pronounce when you see four vowels and two consonants in a word. De Iuliis [de uli ~ iss] is not a tongue twister but a stylish cellar door on Broke Road, Pokolbin. Introducing a fresh approach to winemaking that is truly expressive of place and time, this winery is one of the top wine producers in Hunter Valley.

They offer a nice range of wine to choose from – from the region’s iconic Semillon to the traditional Shiraz. Their Tempranillo and Sangiovese are outstanding. But I promise it’s all in the name.

Harkham Wines

Harkham's Unique Winemaking Technique.
Harkham's Unique Winemaking Technique. | Source

Rhyming with Arkham, Harkham Wines claimed no added sulphites to their bottled wines. Batman agreed. They are an organic winery on Debeyers Road, Pokolbin, using no pesticides or chemical sprays on their vineyard.

They employ natural methods in winemaking allowing the fruits to work their magic and produce vibrant wines expressing a unique personality. Their classic Semillon and Shiraz are standouts. Try also their Rose and Chardonnay.

Meerea Park Wines

Meerea Park Sign.
Meerea Park Sign. | Source

Located in Cessnock, Meerea Park Wines released their first vintage in 1991. For over 20 years, they had made their way into one of Australia’s top wine producers.

They specialise in producing the region’s Semillon and Shiraz. But you can also try their Chardonnay and other alternative varieties including Shiraz Pinot, Pinot Noir, Rose, and Marsanne.

Briar Ridge

Briar Ridge's Cellar Door. Mount View, NSW.
Briar Ridge's Cellar Door. Mount View, NSW. | Source

Briar Ridge on Mount View has carved a mark as one of Australia’s leading producers of world-class Hunter Valley wines – Semillon, Shiraz, and Chardonnay. Their excellent range of wine selection proves that they are indeed a top-notch cellar door.

You can quaff a glass of their Semillon or Shiraz Pinot Noir. It is perfectly O.K. Try their Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. Considered as one of the region’s boutique wineries, they also produce sparkling wines.

Margan Wines

Margan's Vineyard
Margan's Vineyard | Source

A family-owned winery on Milbrodale Road, Broke, the award-winning Margan Wines offers one of the best wines in Hunter Valley. For seven consecutive years, they have been rated a red 5-star winery by James Halliday Wine Companion.

They have an excellent range of sensational wines. Their Vermouth, Albarino, Shiraz Mourvedre, and Ripasso are exceptional. I also like their traditional wines – Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Any recommendations?

My selection process for this list of Hunter Valley’s top boutique wineries is not objective. That is obvious. But I have tried to be objective as possible by listening to comments and suggestions from some friends and folks online.

On your visit to Hunter Valley or if you have already visited the region, please share your thoughts. Any winery you could recommend would be much appreciated.

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© 2018 Lonely Koala

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