Stay the night at these Hunter Valley wineries
There are wineries in the Hunter Valley that you won’t want to leave. It’s a good thing, then, that many come with accommodation allowing you to linger overnight.
The one- to five-bedroom cottages on this vineyard are packed with personality, each individually designed with the furnishings and comforts of home – right down to hand-picked art on the walls. Each comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, so you can whip up creations from supplies sourced from Hunter Valley purveyors. The cottages also have access to a pool, the ideal spot to loll when the weather warms. And when it cools, there’s an open fireplace to cosy up beside if you’re checked in to the largest accommodation. Be sure to visit the cellar door to sip the estate’s range, from sparkling right through to shiraz.
Verdelho, muscat, chambourcin, shiraz and fiano grapes are all grown across Tinonee’s six hectares and neat rows provide a fairytale backdrop for your stay at the estate’s two homes: The Residence and The Cottage. No detail has been spared in the design of either abode, the former with space to sleep 12 and the latter two bedrooms to host four visitors. Stay at The Residence and you can lounge by the open fire with a glass of the estate’s 1813-branded wine, take a dip in the lagoon-style pool or challenge your friends to a game of chess on the oversized alfresco board. Whichever you choose, be sure to stroll the grounds to the cellar door to meet the makers.
As one of the oldest wineries in the Hunter Valley – dating back to 1866 – Audrey Wilkinson is well-known for its must-visit cellar door, which sits on the crest of a hill and enjoys 360-degree vistas of the pretty patchwork of vines and paddocks of the surrounding region. However, even return visitors to the winery are often unaware that after indulging in a wine tasting, there is the option to stay on-site at one of the winery's three charming stone cottages: Mulberry Cottage, The Dairy and Oakdale Cottage. Sumptuous beds, private verandahs, cosy fireplaces, bedrooms with ensuites and outdoor settings with barbecues make for a lush stay. Up to 18 guests can be accommodated across the houses, ideal for families and group getaways.
In the foothills of the Broken Back Range, Leogate Estate is home to one of the Hunter Valley’s most applauded restaurants, The Gates. You’ll want to linger over lunch or dinner and premium wines here, then wander a few metres beside neat rows of vines to the property’s character-filled one- and two-bedroom villas. Be sure to take a bottle of Leogate chardonnay or shiraz back with you, to enjoy on your veranda overlooking the grapes and mountain range, resplendently reflected in a mirror-like lake. There are kitchenettes, so you can prepare goodies in your hand-delivered breakfast hamper, as well as complimentary minibar snacks. You won’t go hungry here.
For a luxury stay, the four private guest homes available to rent at Winmark Wines make an ideal escape. The Residence is perfect for small families, featuring a private pool, tennis courts, garden, outdoor dining area, library and en suites attached to every room. The Rockview is also a spacious home, frequented by kangaroos and next door to a vegetable garden guests are encouraged to pick from. Villa Vino is a cosy couples’ retreat, decked out with a firepit overlooking the mountains. Meanwhile, the grandest property, the Mio Monte, is decked out with seven bedrooms, making it a great choice for large groups wanting space. All sit on 28 acres of chardonnay vines and share incredible grounds complete with a rose garden and sculpture park, simply calling for a sunset stroll with a tipple in hand.
Once you check in to Spicers Vineyard Estate, it would be tempting not to leave the property during your entire stay. Nestled between eight acres of vineyard and native bushland, the 12 guestrooms each come with a cosy fireplace and spa bath. Step outside of your room to indulge in a massage, facial or full-body treatment at the on-site Spa Anise; make use of the free rental bikes to explore the grounds; and enjoy a lunch or dinner of fine dining overlooking the grapes at Restaurant Botanica.
Sitting on 25 picturesque acres of vineyards, the award-winning Hermitage Lodge offers boutique-style accommodation in the heart of the Hunter. Although not home to a cellar door of its own, its location just 10km from Cessnock means the lodge is within walking distance of a number of the area's most popular wineries. Choose from 20 studios and suites, all with verandahs overlooking the lodge's shiraz grapes. After a big day of wine tasting, designated drivers can take it easy by booking into dinner at the on-site restaurant, Pescara, where head chef Kelvin Foster dishes up a seasonal menu of fresh and simple Italian.