The Jakarta Post
First planted in 1866, the Audrey Wilkinson vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in Australia. (JP/Agnes Anya)
In addition to checking out the wildlife and strolling the streets, Sydney, Australia, also boasts quality vineyards within reach that make a pleasant destination for a wine tasting tour.
After just a two-hour drive from the city along a meandering road, passing through lines of vintage houses and trees, as well as chirping cockatoos, you will eventually reach the Hunter Valley: Australia's oldest wine region.
First set as vineyards in the 1860s, Hunter Valley is the first wine region in the country and holds a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine. It now hosts numerous wineries, as well as wine artisans, that offer good wine deals. Of this wide selection, here are two of the best.
As Usher Tinkler told The Jakarta Post, “Wine is made better with food and friends”. So do bring along your friends to share Tinkler’s black salami, wagyu carpaccio, or goat's cheese (with some bread and honeycomb) to make your winery trip one to remember.(JP/Agnes Anya)
Usher Tinkler Wines
Though its operations were only kicked off in December 2014, Usher Tinkler Wines is noteworthy for its avant-garde wines and mouth-watering food–not to mention its exquisite environment, which used to be a church. Usher and Ebony Tinkler, the man and woman behind the cellar door, create their wines from the grapes of their family estate in Pokolbin, which lies in the heart of Hunter Valley. Visitors can expect to be offered samples of their three fine wine ranges: Nose-to-Tail, Usher Tinkler Reserve Wines and Mr. T’s.
The Nose-to-Tail wines, namely The Chicken, The Pig and The Cow, are Tinkler’s innovative and contemporary products, which they create with special blends in the hope that more and more people will enjoy a wine variety–Semillon, for instance–that is unusual for them. The bottles of Nose-to-Tail are no less attractive than the taste with their labels depicting the wines’ namesakes, which represent Tinkler’s interpretation of their wines.
While the Usher Tinkler Reserve might tempt you with exclusive and premium Chardonnay and Shiraz, Don’t go past Mr T’s: Tinkler’s fortified Verdelho with a whiskey twist that is made in very small batches over 20 years.
Wine prices: AU$25 (US$19) to AU$65
Address: 97 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320
Operating hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. everyday
Though its operations were only kicked off in December 2014, Usher Tinkler Wines is noteworthy for its avant-garde wines and mouth-watering food.(JP/Agnes Anya)
(Read also: Olive oil touring in southern Spain)
Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard
First planted in 1866, Audrey Wilkinson vineyard is one of the most historic and oldest vineyards in Australia. Named after a pioneering Australian vigneron, the winery was one of the country’s first wine exporters to London, beginning in the early 1900s. It now is among the most attractive wine houses that offer wine tasting to visitors.
After booking a tour, you will have the privilege to wander around its 270-acre vineyard located in the foothills of the beautiful Brokenback ranges, accompanied by a wine expert that will fill you in on the history of the winery. At the vineyard, panoramic views of a wine-growing valley with mountains at its background stretch as far as the eye can see. The pleasure, however, does not stop there because your tour leader will then take you to Audrey Wilkinson’s cellar door to taste premium wines.
The wine house offers a wide variety of wines: Semillon, Verdelho, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot and Muscat. Its peach-colored Moscato, for instance, will likely tickle your tongue with its sweet, fruity and grapy taste.
It is suggested to spare some time to wander through the house to take a look at Wilkinson’s curated collection of original vats and wine and barrel making equipment. The best time to visit is between Spring and Autumn as you may be lucky enough to catch the harvest.
Wine prices: AU$15 to AU$100 for single; AU$120 to AU$1,200 for dozen
Address: De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Operating hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. everyday except Christmas Day and Boxing Day
To ensure your trip is comfortable and enjoyable, you are advised to book your tour prior to your visit. To plan your flight ahead of time and get the best prices, look up a promotion offer from Singapore Airlines for Nov. 23, which coincides with the launch of the airline's new direct Jakarta-Sydney route. (kes)
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