best free wine tours Sydney
Wine Tasting in Hunter Valley
Wine harvest season is on the way. Harvest time in Sydney is from January to March, and although it is fun to tour the wineries year round if you can make it during harvest time you will be in for a real treat. Choose smaller boutique wineries for a more intimate feel when going on a wine tour. Be a witness to artisan’s harvesting grapes by hand and placing them in baskets soon to be crushed. Hunter Valley has been growing vines for wine for 190 years, more than twice the amount of time Napa Valley has been growing. The climate in Hunter Valley is ideal for Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.
Since we are focusing on the smaller winery there are no major tours and you really can not take a large tour bus to these types of wineries. There is no parking and it is quite rude to expect them to give 50 free samples to a coach loaded with tourists.
The best way to experience a boutique winery tour is with a smaller group, say 2-10 people and you all go together in a private mini coach with driver. We have put together a list of several wineries that do not charge for tastings that work perfectly for our minibus winery tours from Sydney. For a day tour most clients like to visit between three and five locations. Some snack at each winery while others choose one for a sit down meal or two during the day. It all depends on your preferences.
Pepper Tree Winery & Contango Espresso Roaster
Owned and operated by a geologist Pepper Tree Winery not only produces fine wine but as an added treat also produces espresso. What do grapes and coffee beans have in common? The flavors are heavily influenced by region and soil. The list of accolades awarded to this delightful single winery is long and impressive for the last five years.
When doing a full day tour from Sydney to the Hunter Valley this is a favourite first stop. Having a glass of wine at 11 o’clock in the morning, followed by Espresso grown from the same rich soil is a treat you can experience in very few places in the world. There is a scientist in charge of this winery, it is free to taste, and we have a feeling you will be loading at least one bag of Espresso beans, and a bottle or two of wine directly into the minibus for the trip back to Sydney when the sun is retiring.
Audrey Wilkinson Winery
At the top of a hill with 360 degree views of glorious landscape the Audrey Wilkinson Winery is a gorgeous place to visit and enjoy a glass of your favorite vintage. Sit down under a white tent outside enjoying the perfect weather and you will feel like you are in wine country at a proper boutique winery. This winery has a reputation for very robust flavors and each of the wines backs this up. The history is quite fun at this winery, learn all about how a 15 year old boy named Audrey grew up to run a winery.
We like this winery after the espresso winery because your palette is nice and clear from the acid you get from tasting the espresso. You are perfectly set up to enjoy the robust flavours that you just do not find at every winery in the Hunter Valley like Audrey Wilkinson is known for.
Vinden Estate Wines
Vinden Estate Wines produces small quantities of wine in the Hunter Valley, and they are the only winery in the valley where you can try Alicante Bouschet (a light dry rose). Vinden Estate is a traditional winery, picking all grapes by hand, hand plunging, basket pressing, and traditional open fermentation. The only place you may buy Vinden Estate wine is at their cellar door.
There is no ordering online, or visiting a restaurant with this wine in it. If you want to have their signature vintage Alicante Bouschet after you leave you had better buy several bottles to complete the minibus tour with. The other option is to take a bottle of this vintage home as a gift. What wine lover wouldn’t appreciate a bottle so rare and made with such care?
A relatively new winery established in 1994 Tallavera Wines Produces Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay, and Shiraz. Tallavera is part of a three winery family and is the only cellar door where you can purchase wines from the three vineyards.
We love to visit this winery on our minibus tours from Sydney because it is like hitting three wineries in one and all the tasting is free! You can choose from a much wider range because their cellar door provides wine from all three vineyard locations.
Introducing Hunter Valley’s first preservative free wine! Harkham Winery has brought Aziza Shiraz to the valley a 2009 vintage. In addition to the preservative free wine Harkham has an unfiltered Shiraz too. For white wine, you can try the preservative free Chardonnay from 2011.
For chocolate lovers they produce bespoke chocolate liqueur and their Meade which is made with 24 karat gold flake. No other winery could be in the Grand Finale slot. Begin your wine tour with Espresso, and end it with chocolate liqueur all the while tasting your way through the Hunter Valley and back to Sydney.
The Hunter Valley only two short hours from Sydney is beautiful wine country with hundreds of vineyards. We have suggested five great vineyards to get you started on your exploration of Australia’s oldest wine country.