Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Hunter Valley Resort
Right: Tasting 101 at Rothvale. Middle: Audrey Wilkinson tasting room. Left: Hunter Resort wine theater.
The day before Easter, my bestie and I paid $60 to ride around the Hunter sucking our tongues and whiffing the finest Ausi smelly cheeses. Our tour included six stops of 4-8 tastings each in a region known for its Semillon, Verdelho, and Shiraz grapes. The wine industry in the Hunter suffered a horrendous year, losing 85% of its crops to excessive rain and cold. To make matters worse, a fall warm spell has caused many vines to begin sprouting grapes before winter arrives. We were told this is a very very bad thing for growers in 2012/13, but no worries mate. The only explanation for this sort of behavior is if you are 1. On drugs. 2. Subsidized by the government. 3. A true worries-free Ausi. I'm going with 2.
Right: Tamburlaine funky wall art. Middle: Audrey Wilkinson winery view. Left: Tempus Two vines.
I have been to wineries in Southern Indiana, New York State Finger Lakes, California Napa, German Rhine, and Italian Tuscany regions. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of white wines but never have I met friendlier owners willing to teach us heaps about the entire process. The owner of Rothvale taught us how to sight, smell, and properly taste a wine at our first stop which was probably the only thing that prevented me from passing out cold before the days end.
Huntery Valley Resort winery tour and tasting
The Hunter Valley Resort was modest and extremely hospitable, including a library, theater, and sunrise with the cows. The winery was sold to new owners only a week before and they tried hard to accommodate everyone in spite of circumstance. Everything was extremely laid back for what is stereo typically a 'pretentious' pastime. It also helped that our wine bus was full of Kiwis and the main attraction of the day was a veteran Contiki tour guide with a boatload of entertaining stories. He earned my business! All in all the visit could not have contrasted more from the trip I made six months earlier with Paul. There was plenty to see and do both time, and are still over a dozen wineries left unexplored. I was glad to have done my part in helping maintain profits.