After 4 months of flushing our palates with boxed wine (or goon as Aussies unaffectionately call it), we couldn’t miss touring the vineyards of Hunter Valley and getting a taste of the good stuff. The Hunter has a reputation of shear decadence. As Lonely Planet describes it; ‘It’s basically one big gorge-fest of fine boutique wines, micro-brews, chocolate, cheese, olives, and you name it what else’. After putting on our Sunday best and working to appear as un-houseless as possible, we jumped right in.
To our delight, the wineries were refreshingly attitude free and unpretentious. They welcomed our backpacker selves in with generous tastings and great conversation. This was not without effort, I will add. Matt and I struggled to find intelligent wine-o things to say about each glass, above simply ‘mmmm, loved it.’ We tried to develop our palate and practice our wine sipping techniques, which improved with each glass (or we liked to think so).
We were far better versed among the breweries; A great relief from the Aussie piss-beer (pardon my language, Grandma), that they sell for 3 times the price here. We slowly sipped our first good beer since crossing the country’s boarders – And I say this with no shame. The Potter’s Brewery has surpassed the watered down preferences of Aussie palates and proven that micro-brews can sell here. We were excited for their courage and hope the trend catches on. Someone needs to lead the pack!
If not for the wine, beer and food alone, the beautiful valley and country drive make The Hunter a worthwhile trip in itself. Both connoisseurs and novices alike will find this place an amazing experience and I would say it’s a do-not-miss for anyone traveling to Australia.