We all love our children, but isn’t it sometimes
refreshing to have an adults-only break?
The Hunter Valley is a perfect easy getaway for Sydney mums and dads.
I was a bit of a vineyard virgin before my recent trip to the Broke area of the Hunter Valley.
It had certainly been a few years…. of motherhood… since I’d been in a tasting room.
The Broke area is all about the smaller scale winery, with a more personal touch. You will often meet the vineyard owners themselves at the cellar door. The owners are the real experts in their own wines and listening to them was a really informative and interesting treat.
There are no big bus groups touring the tasting rooms, there’s no rushing. It’s like the Pokolbin area was 25 years ago, I was told.
I learned all sorts of things from these passionate owners, it was fascinating: when to pick the grapes by hand, when to machine pick, and when to pick at night.
I heard of the difference that the weather can make on the grapes: ‘It’s either a shiraz year or a chardonnay year.’
The vineyards I visited make single estate wines, meaning all the grapes they use in their wines come from their own vineyards.
* Ascella is the largest certified organic vineyard in the Hunter Valley
* Ascella is one of the stars in the constellation of Sagittarius which shines over the vineyard, said to bring happiness and good fortune
* Wine tastings must be made by appointment, and is in fact a tasting of the wine with the excellent organic cheeses produced by Paris Creek
* Grapes grown are shiraz, merlot, chardonnay, verdelho, semillon and chambourcin
* Owner Barbara Brown explained: ‘We wanted to create something that we can believe in and that we can manage together.’
* These are some of the most competitively priced organic wines in Australia, especially if you buy online as a Friend of Ascella
* Biggest sellers are their Pure Red and Pure White
Catherine Vale Wines
* Has some of the best views over this beautiful wine growing area around Broke
* Grows six types of grapes including verdelho, arneis, dolcetto and barbera
* The only grower of arneis in the Hunter Valley, this is a variety of vine from the north of Italy around Piedmonte
* Make madeira from their verdelho grapes
* Visitors can play bocce on the lovely bocce courts
* Try the Barbera, a big bold red. ‘It should make you want to eat pizza.’
Mount Broke Wines
* This 100 acre farm grows grapes and beef cattle
* It has been farmed by the McNamara family since 1905, now in its fourth generation of working this land
* The lovely tasting room used to be a milking shed, you can see where the floor slopes down as is common in old milking sheds
* This small and charming boutique winery makes only a few hundred cases of wine a year, available only at the cellar door.
* Cellar door open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment.
* A beautiful olive grove greets you as you drive in
* Lots of delicious gourmet produce is on sale as well as the wines
* Broke’s Promise also has a fine art gallery, the only one in the Broke area
* A four bedroom cottage is available for rent at Broke’s Promise
* A cafe will be running at this winery shortly
I’m not a wine expert, you can tell. Such a treat to sit and sip with the experts, I’d never had barbera before and tried two different varieties. I’d say my favourite wine of the day was the Pure Red by Ascella.
Now then, the next time I visit the Hunter Valley I will take the family, or some of them anyway. We certainly won’t be visiting four cellar doors in one day!
Can you give me some advice on other family-friendly things to do in the Hunter Valley? We’ve been to the Hunter Valley Gardens, and the British Lolly Shop but would love to do some more outdoorsy things.
All top Hunter Valley tips for kids welcome.
But here’s to the adults too.
Which is your favourite vineyard and cellar door in the Hunter Valley?
We’ve also reviewed the Big 4 Valley Vineyard Tourist park, click here.