Looking out from Blueberry Hill. See how their vines are neatly trailed and wound around the wire. They were in the middle of pruning when we were there. It's fascinating to see how they treat each vine with so much care... Well I can see why... the end product is worth all that attention...lol.
I found my thrill.................haha.
Blueberry Hill vinyard. The most eligant of them all. This was a cute little place on top of the hill with panaromic views everywhere! They didn't have many wines but what they had were supurb!!....Yum Yum.
And the song is very appropriate......... :o)
Here are a selection of Constable Hershon wines. They are only sold to select restaurants and at cellar door or by mail order. We bought two reds - Shiraz and Cab Merlot and two whites - Semillon and Chardonnay and I loved all of them :o)
There's not a lot of Empire Hotels in Oz. While your Royal and your Railway are common, Empires are on the wane.
This old Federation style gem in Kurri Kurri with the wrought iron verandah is situated down where the railway used to run and has recently been tarted up a little though it's patronized mainly by locals in this working class town. The Cessnock area has many like this, built during the mining boom from the turn of the century over 100 years ago up to World War II.
These days they've had a renaissance with the revival of mining and the even bigger tourist boom of the nearby vineyards. Every mining town or village in the area has at least one and Kurri Kurri has three of which I'm aware.
Actually, they're new cobbles, laid by Rosemarie's son-in-law. So, driving on these has a special meaning for us when we go to dine at Anne-Marie's wonderful restaurant.
It is upmarket but then it tries to be with the lovely views over the Greg Norman designed golf course and constantly manicured gardens and surrounds.
McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Estate – nestled in the slopes of the Brokenback Range in NSW’s lower Hunter Valley – was established in 1921 from earlier plantings by legendary winemaker, Maurice O’Shea.
Today, the Hunter Valley is widely regarded as the home of semillon, and McWilliam’s as the producer of Australia’s best wines from the variety.
“Australian semillon is usually quite recognisable,” said Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker, Phillip Ryan. “When young it is austere and fresh. It has a high natural acidity even in the warm Hunter Valley region where it can age wonderfully. After some years of bottle age, it tends to develop rich buttery toasty flavours.” There's the nitty gritty for you!
O’Shea (1897-1956) recognised the special characteristics and longevity of Hunter Valley table wines – particularly semillon and shiraz – and is today widely regarded as one of the most important and influential figures in the modern Australian wine industry.
In 1921, O’Shea’s family purchased the Old Hill Vineyard (planted by Charles King in the 1880s) and established the Mount Pleasant Winery. O’Shea then progressively extended the estate to include the Old Paddock Vineyard in the 1920s, and the Lovedale and Rosehill vineyards in 1945.
When the McWilliam family acquired ownership of Mount Pleasant in 1941, O’Shea was retained as Chief Winemaker and went on to make some of Australia’s most highly regarded wines.
O’Shea’s ground breaking work has been kept alive by revered winemakers Brian Walsh (1956-1978) and Phillip Ryan (1978-current). The fact that there have been just three Chief Winemakers at Mount Pleasant since 1921 has ensured consistency of wine style and quality.
As was O’Shea’s tradition, Mount Pleasant winemakers continue to bottle-age commercial quantities of wines until they are considered at their peak.
This decision is vindicated by the success of Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon – the most consistently awarded white wine in Australia – which is between three and five years old at the time of release.
This was our only place to vist after lunch on the drive north as I've already explained in my intro'.
Our stop here saw my wife & I tasting a number of wines, both whites & reds before eventually buying a dozen, which entitled us to select 2 extra, free bottles to accompany our already 12.
Our favourites from here were the Semillon @ $12
This might be a bit dry (no pun intended there for the Wine Country, well not too much anyway. lol!), but if you are doing a self-driving tour rather than an organised tour, then I think you should definitely start here to get a free information booklet (see it's cover in my attached pic), making sure you get the free map that goes with it.
However, even more importantly the friendly, helpful staff there will be able to answer any of your specific questions & provide appropriate recommendations. On the way north, our main question was, "Which are the child friendly place at which we can have lunch?" As the parents of twin 6 year old girls who even though they are pretty experienced little travellers are still just normal, average kids, this was a very important question. As you've already gathered from my intro' I believe that I can generalise & say most wine areas are not overly geared towards catering to families with younger children & the Hunter seems to be no exception to that. We were given a choice of 3 & the one we chose was quite o.k.
Your questions may well be quite different to ours, but I can assure you that the help from the staff at the Hunter Valley Wine Country Visitor's Information Centre & the map you get from them will go a long way to ensuring your visit is a very enjoyable one. Even if you want to explore yourself the free, comprehensive booklet with accompanying map will help you know the options & navigate around successfully.
Grandma's Garden is the sculpture set inside the rose garden that features more than 8,000 roses in a corkscrew design. In the background is the Sunken Garden with the Waterfall behind, overseen by the Waterfall Lookout.
So much to see, so much to do.
I had this picture for about three months and couldn't work out where I had taken until, one day, I just happened to drive past the same spot around the same time and bingo!, my memory returned.
This is actually on a golf course. One of five you can play on in the area. Some dearer than others. Though that's stating the bleeding obvious I guess what I should say is up to three times dearer.
Dearest of all is the Greg Norman designed course called The Vintage. It also happen to be the only one I haven't played on.
This particular one is at the start of Lovedale Road and is currently undergoing refurbushing.
This is Sarah, my fellow VT-er from Canada. Why is Sarah smiling? Sarah is smiling because she's on holidays. She's also smiling because wine tasting is free, unlike other countries where they charge. But mainly she's smiling because I asked her too!
She is pictured here at Pepper Tree Wines which is not far from the Convent pictured elsewhere. This is one of about a hundred places you can sample wines in the Hunter Valley. Don't you wish you were here?
At the western end of the Hunter Valley Gardens is the fairy tale section with all the characters from your childhood, or, if you're only five and reading this well, you're still there!
It really is a delight and something to amuse all ages will be found there. Alice's Tea Party was one that I particularly loved but you may prefer others. Jack and Jill or the old lady who lived in a shoe perhaps. There's also an appropriate background of nursery rhymes for the different themes.
All the world's great gardens started with someone's vision. That someone on this occasion is Bill Roche.
To be able to afford to shift 800,000 metres of soil, add 100,000 cubic metres of topsoil, put in 100 kilometres of irrigation pipes and 8 kms of paths you need a lot of money. Over $20,000,000 Australian to be exact.
For that you can plant over 6,000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and 1,000,000 ground covers on your 25 hectares.
Along with his wife Imelda, Bill and his family own a company called the Roche Group. Fortunately for you and I, they decided to spend some of their hard-earned cash to create these world-class gardens, drawing on countries such as India, China, Italy, Japan and good old Oz.
One of the highlights is the wonderful Storybook Garden where all your favourite nursery rhymes and tales are recreated in an enchanting world of sculptures and models guaranteed to delight even the most jaded tourist and put a sparkle in every child's eye.
It took five years to set up and will probably be seen at its best around 2006 onwards when some of the trees mature some more but that is not to say you shouldn't visit now. You will not be disappointed.
The building shown here used to be a convent. Built in 1909 at Coonamble for the Irish Brigidine Order of Nuns it was cut into four sections late last century and shipped 600kms on the back of 7 trucks to its present location.
Aided by Electricity Commission workers who continually had to remove low power lines for safety it reached Pokolbin and was reassembled to the satisfaction of some of the nuns who have since visited it.
They were so impressed they handed over the original foundation stone, stained glass windows and etched wooden doors which they had stored when they moved to new premises.
It's now an accommodation house with a "if you have to ask you can't afford it' tag but it would be nice if you had the money.
Peterson Champagne House
The only winery in the Hunter Valley specialising in the production of premium sparkling wines
made by traditional methodè champenoise.
What more do you want?