Look around you – Sydney has loads of claims to fame. Sure, we built the Opera House, but we’ve got some lesser-known secrets too. Australia’s oldest wine-growing region is just an hour drive north of the CBD and home to some impressive drops worth travelling to. Hunter Valley has more than a few top wineries – and plenty of artisan food to pair with all that vino. Check these out.

McGuigan Wines

Let’s start off with a bang: In 2016 McGuigan Wines won International Winemaker of the Year for the fourth time – a world record. On the Hunter Valley Wineries Tour from Sydney, you can swirl like a pro and still have time to explore the shops in the postcard-perfect town of Pokolbin. Just ask your sommelier which artisan cheese pairs best with that shiraz. We bet you’ll be happy with any of them.

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate

There must be something about wineries that start with “Mc”, because this is another one that’s got awards galore. The latest edition of James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion gave McWilliams top honours for Semillon of the Year. Semillon is Hunter Valley’s most famous wine variety, so you know competition is stiff. Try it for yourself on the Hunter Valley Wineries Day Tour.

Hunter Valley Resort

The name gives it away –  this is more than a winery. It has horseback riding, a brewhouse, and an on-site restaurant. But on the Hunter Valley Harvest Wine Experience, you know what the focus is. The resort’s Wine School is legendary and you’ll get a “taste” of it during this tour – and a taste of some wines, of course.

Famous Foodie Stops

Wines are the star in Hunter Valley, but every show needs a supporting cast, and here, it’s the food. Don’t let the name of the Smelly Cheese Shop fool you – it’s actually got all kinds of cheese, not just the stinky ones. And don’t worry, chocoholics, you’ll find plenty of sweet stuff here, too. Let the shopkeepers be your guide on the Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Private Tour, or make your trip a little more DIY on Boutique Tours’ Hunter Valley Wine Tour, where you can browse (and graze) for yourself.

Prefer to let someone else be your wine-and-food matchmaker? Let the Chef-Led Hunter Valley Food and Wine Tour be your Cupid, perfectly pairing your meals and libations.

Detour!

Wine and wombats go together like, well, wine and cheese! In fact, wombats just make everything better, so why not stop off at the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park and hang out with some? The Small-Group Hunter Valley Wine Tour includes a stop at this free-range sanctuary. Kids love it, and you can admit that you love it, too.

If you haven’t been to Hunter Valley yet, we just don’t know what you’re waiting for. There are so many Sydney wine tours, you’ve got to try at least one. We’re sure the semillon and shiraz will stack up, and you’ll come away with a new favourite vineyard to brag about.