Pick up is early, about 7:20am, followed by a 2-3 hour journey by mini-bus to the wine region (during which you can catch up on some much needed shut eye). The day includes tastings at least 3 wineries, lunch (for an extra $15 (café) or $55 (gourmet)) and you'll be dropped back in the city at around 6pm.
The tour guides at Boutique Tours are knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic and will do their best to tailor the day to the preferences of the small (14 person) groups.
You reach your first winery at about 11am. With over 120 vineyards in the region, the itinerary varies day to day, but a favourite seems to be the Iron Gate Estate. This small winery has a beautiful Tuscan style outside tasting area, with stunning views out to the vineyard and some really unique wines to taste. They also give you a behind-the-scenes tour, where you learn more about the wine making process – a great start to the day.
The rest of the day includes at least 2 more boutique wineries, lunch in the Hunter Valley Gardens (with the opportunity to sneak in a couple more tastings) and perhaps a quick cheese tasting at The Smelly Cheese shop.
As the name suggests, the tour focuses on small, boutique wineries, which makes for an authentic, individualised experience. Each winery offers something unique, with interesting explanations from the informed winemakers and even the vineyard owners themselves. You are guaranteed to leave having learnt (and tasted) something new.
Note: Most of the wineries visited sell only at the cellar door, so if you love something you taste, buy it! There won't be an opportunity to return to wineries later in the day.
A fun, informative and affordable day trip from Sydney. Or if one day isn't enough, Boutique Tours also offer a Wine Country Accommodation Package that includes two days touring and one night's accommodation at the luxurious Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza.