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.

Above, Middle, Right: 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.

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