Hunter Valley Wineries | Top 5 cellar doors you need to visit!

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

If you’re a keen wine fan, the article below about top Hunter Valley wineries will be a perfect fit to read! The Hunter Valley is by most famous and visited Sydney wine region. Famed for its subtle Semillon, Chardonnay, and light-bodied Shiraz, Hunter wineries are less than two hour’s drive from Sydney to North. One of the best places closer to Sydney to visit on wonderful days such as early Autumn or Summer.

There’s a wealth of wineries and boutique cellar doors in the Hunter Valley. The first vines were planted in 1825 by James Busby, making it the oldest wine-producing region of Australia. There are more than 150 wineries in Hunter Valley to explore and most of them will allow you to wander around to admire the beautiful grounds and taste their finest wine.

Video from VisitNSW

The Hunter Valley is best known for Semillon, however, the Mediterranean climate in Hunter helps to produce top range Chardonnay and Shiraz too. Apart from these grape varieties, Verdelho is the next prominent grape varietal you can find in any Hunter cellar door followed by Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Occasionally you will get a chance to taste a hybrid grape variety such as Chambourcin.

When there are so many Hunter Valley wineries to choose from, how do you narrow it down? To help you choose which properties to visit during your next Sydney wine tasting trip, we rounded up a list of top Hunter Valley wineries. We have used the Sydney Royal Wine Show 2019 results and Royal Melbourne Wine 2018 Awards during this research of selecting top Hunter Valley wineries to visit in 2019/2020. Consideration only is given to Gold medal or special category winner for each entering class. Read on to see which properties are sure to leave a lasting impression.

McGuigan Wines

Undoubtedly one of the most awarded Hunter Valley wineries and a must-visit on a winery tour. And our number 1 favourite cellar door in the Hunter Valley. McGuigan is one of the prestigious Hunter Valley wineries crowned for its reputation and long-standing. Winning the winemaker of the year four times at the International Wine Challenge in London demonstrates the quality of produce at McGuigan winery. In 1880, McGuigan winery started as a supplementary income to family-owned farm, however, they were the 4th largest Australian winemaker by 2002.

If you visit McGuigan, we recommend you to try Bin 9000 Semillon. A must for a subtle white wine lover. This wine was crowned for its quality at the Sydney Royal Wine Show 2019. By winning Class 8 Gold, The Dr. Henry John Lindeman Memorial Perpetual Prize for Best Mature White – McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon Class No. 8 / Cat No. 17, The NSW Department of Primary Industries James Busby Perpetual Trophy for Best NSW Wine – McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon Class No. 8 / Cat No. 17. Lastly, the same series won the Best Semillon award at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show in 2018.

  • Address – 447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Opening Hours – Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Contact info – (+61) 02 4998 4111
  • Winery tour – $10 PP for an in-depth guided winery tour
  • Tasting fee – $5 PP for general tasting at the cellar door. However, you have options for booking a premium wine tasting including chocolate pairing at cost $15 pp or private tasting for $10 pp.
Best Hunter Valley Wineries
Photo credits – VisitNSW

Tyrrell’s Wines

One of the oldest wineries in Hunter Valley and producing the best of Hunter Semillons. Tyrrell’s marked their name on the world wine map in 1963 producing the Vat 1 Hunter Semillon. To date recognized as the most awarded white wine of Australia.

This Hunter Valley winery’s cabinet is full of trophies. In 2016, they won the Dan Murphy’s White Wine of Provenance award for their Belford Semillon. The following year, Mark Richardson won the 2017 winemaker awards. Belford Semillon continues the winning streams and honored at the Royal Melbourne wine awards in 2018. Stevens Semillon awarded the Class 7 2018 Gold medal. Hunter Valley Shiraz from Tyrrell’s secured the Gold in Class 35 at the Sydney Royal Wine Show 2019. Finally, the only Hunter Valley winery recognized for its quality wine at the show winning the “Consistency of Excellence” Medal for VAT 1 SEMILLON in 2005, 2009, and 2013.

Vineyards of Tyrrell’s winery

Tyrrell’s winery owns the region’s oldest and most valuable vineyards. These include Acres, Belford, Black Ridge, Heathcote, HVD, Johnnos, Mothers, NVC, Old Hillside, Old Hut, Old Patch, Pokolbin, Short Flat, Stevens Glen Oak, and Weinkeller. From all of these Hunter vineyards, Belford is one of the most famous vineyards that produce Belford Semillon and Chardonnay.

  • Address – 1838 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Opening Hours – Open daily from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm & Sundays and public holidays from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
  • Contact info – 1800 045 501
  • Tasting fee – $5 PP for general tasting at the cellar door. If you need the best experience and exclusivity, our recommendation is to pre-book a premium private tasting which cost $15 pp.
Hunter Valley Wine Tours
Photo credits – VisitNSW

Brokenwood Wines

For a wine tasting fit for premium, stop by the Brokenwood cellar door located at McDonald’s road.

A weekend venture in the 1970s is now a highly reputable winery in Hunter Valley accolades with a number of local and international awards. The founding partners of Brokenwood winery are Tony Albert, John Beeston, and James Halliday. James Halliday is notably the name associated with the Australian wine industry after James Busby. Halliday, a solicitor by profession, however, famous as a senior wine competition judge, writer, and wine critic. Hence, you won’t doubt the quality of wine-producing by Brokenwood. The Sydney Royal Wine Show is the most recent example to show the quality of wine-producing by this premium Hunter Valley winery. Hunter Valley Semillon secured the Class 7 2018 Gold medal while Indigo Vineyard Shiraz secured the Gold for Class 35.

Vineyards of Brokenwood winery

The number of vineyards owned by Brokenwood winery, the iconic Graveyard vineyard stands out from all. This 15 hectares vineyard planted in late 1970 producing the fruits for flagship Graveyard Shiraz. The philosophy of single-vineyard style winemaking is the secret of their success. And Graveyard vineyard Shiraz is the perfect example of it by winning a considerable number of international awards.

  • Address – 401- 427 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Opening Hours – Open daily from 9.30 am – 5.00 pm & Sundays and public holidays from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
  • Contact info – (+61) 02 4998 7559
  • Tasting fee – Varies. $10 PP for varietal tasting that includes 6 whites, 6 reds, and 2 dessert wines.  However, we highly recommend doing the single-vineyard guided wine tasting for $25 PP that gives you the best experiences you can get from any Hunter Valley winery.

If you plan a visit to this cellar door, we highly recommended considering lunch at The Wood restaurant. A modern Australian themed restaurant first opens its doors back in 2018. Andy Wright led The Wood Restaurant currently considered for Chef Hat recognition awards.

Sydney Winery Tours
Photo credits – Brokenwood wines

Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Winery

Enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding vineyards at Bimbadge. Yes, the name Bimbadgen derived from the local indigenous language meaning ‘place of good view’. Established in 1968, this 50 plus years old Hunter Valley winery owned by one of Australias largest hospitality companies, Mulpha group. If you are on a hunter valley wine tour from Sydney, the view is not only the reason that you should visit here. This top Hunter Valley winery is known for its award-wining Semillions. Taste the 2019 Signature Semillon here. It was the gold medal winner for class 6 at the Sydney Royal Wine Show. The 2019 Palmers Lane Single Vineyard Semillon also won gold for the same class while the same wine secured class 8 and older trophies too.

Vineyards of Bimbaden

McDonald’s Road and Palmers Lane vineyards are the best-kept secrets of Bimbaden. Both of these vineyards account for 15 and 12 hectares with volcanic soil which is producing perfumed and elegant wines.

  • Address – 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Opening Hours – Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 5 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am to 7 pm
  • Telephone – (+61) 02 4998 4600
  • Tasting fee – $5 per person for our standard wine tasting for groups under 10. For large groups over 10 the fee is $10 per person. If you would like to try any of our premium single vineyards and signature wines the fee is $10 per person.
Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Winery
Photo credits – Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Winery

Tulloch Wines

The Tulloch family has been growing grapes and making wine in the Hunter Valley region for more than 122 years, beginning with original founder John Younie. Tulloch winery is one of the places where you can taste the Hunter Valley’s notable Semmilions. Tulloch Hunter River White Semillon 2019 awarded the gold medal for class 6.

Tasting experiences include wine and chocolate pairing for $30 pp, or you can book a museum experience for $100 per head. The museum wine tasting experience at this top Hunter Valley winery includes 6 wines of your choice from our Museum tasting list paired with a local artisan charcuterie or cheese platter. If you are looking to take your kids on a day trip, Tulloch is one of the best kid-friendly wineries in the Hunter Valley too.

  • Address – 638 De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
  • Opening Hours – Open 10 am to 5 pm daily
  • Contact – (+61) 02 4998 7580
Hunter Valley Private Tours
Photo credits – Tulloch Wines

Our (Sydney Top Tours) article of top Hunter Valley wineries is over for now, but there’s still so much of the Hunter Valley to explore. Head to https://www.sydneytoptours.com/blog/hunter-valley/ to discover more of the places we love to visit and contact Sydney Top Tours if you like to book a private guided winery tour from Sydney with memorable experiences.