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Wine regions - Hunter

Hunter Valley   New South Wales

Broke Fordwich   

The Hunter Region is one of Australia's most well known, and historically important wine regions. Distinctive styles of Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz are the hallmark of this region.

Hunter Valley vineyards

Vineyards, sunsets, cellar doors and wine and music events
There is always something happening in the Hunter

The Hunter Region is the premium wine region of New South Wales.

The region is unofficially divided into the Lower Hunter and Upper Hunter Valley with one official sub-region Broke Fordwich. The greatest concentration of vineyards is in the Lower Hunter between Cessnock and Branxton.

The two main topographical features are the alluvial flats of the valleys and the gently undulating hills. The region is fed by the Goulburn, Hunter, Paterson and Williams rivers.

The region has a hot, humid summer and cool winter.

The capital of the Hunter is Newcastle with many significant towns within the region, including Cessnock, Maitland, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Scone and Murrurundi.

The Hunter Valley's fertile river flats and its close proximity to the first colony at Sydney Cove led to its development as an agricultural region in the early 1800s.

James Busby the man credited with bringing the vine to Australia was associated with the Hunter Valley through his brother-in-law William Kelman. Kelman is thought to be the first to plant vines in the Hunter. George Wyndham planted grapes in 1832. Penfolds bought the property in 1904 naming it Wyndham Estate. Dr Henry Lindeman purchased land around Raymond Terrace in the 1830s. So too did James King whose legacy passed onto Maurice O'Shea who came to the forefront of Hunter Valley winemaking in the 1920s. The area fell into depression for many years, but gradually made a comeback in the early 1960s. Today the region is booming.

The Hunter Valley is famous for its Semillon. Leo Buring a wine merchant in Sydney first sold Hunter Semillon under the popular Rhinegold label in the 1960s. Shiraz is the Hunter's premium red variety. Other varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, which have all produced great Hunter wines.

Hunter Valley chefs

The Hunter Valley is gourmet heaven
with many fine restaurants and cafes

Rothbury Estate opened in 1968 distributed its wine through its club, an unusual marketing practice at the time. The region has many large players as well as many small wineries, many of which are making their mark on the world, among them Brokenwood which took out the coveted "best red" award at the 2001 London International Wine Challenge.

There is a large concentration of wineries in Polkolbin which is also a major tourist destination.

Festivals such as Hunter Valley Harvest Festival, Budfest and Jazz in the Vines have fuelled enormous interest in the region that serves the very large population between Sydney to Newcastle. The recently opened Vintage Hunter, Wine and Visitors' Centre is also serving the industry as well as tourism by profiling the regions facilities and providing accommodation booking services.

Harvest time: late March to late April

Sites with more information:

Hunter vineyards

Tour the Hunter vineyards

Broke Fordwich New South Wales

Broke Fordwich is a subregion of the Hunter. See Broke Fordwich page.