Saturday, 16 April 2016

# 21 - Wine Tasting Tour (Kangariffic Hunter Valley Wine Tour)

I have to be honest, and say that I don't do a lot of wine tasting.  I'm more of a beer man, and on the occasions when I do drink wine, it rarely hits the sides on the way down.  I have always found vineyards quite appealing though.  They just look nice and peaceful.  And, you know, it's that I dislike wine, it's just not my drink of choice.

I like where this is heading...

Us hoping to get some alcoholic fumes just by walking through the grapes
Anyway, we did our wine tasting tour in the Hunter Valley, which is a wine region about 150km North of Sydney.  We did it as a day tour with Kangariffic Tours.  It was actually much more than just a wine tasting tour, as it also included a visit to Walkabout Wildlife Park, a chocolate factory and a cheese tasting.  It even had a beer tasting included, which was much more my cup of tea, to confuse things by bringing in a drink related metaphor.

Lisa trying to steal a koala
The tour started with an early pick up (7.40am) from the city centre.  We were picked up in a minibus with about 12 other people.  We headed straight to Walkabout Wildlife Park, which meant we got there before it had opened to the general public.  This meant we had the place to ourselves to see kangaroos, wallabies and emus.  The highlight for most will be the fact that you can touch (but not hold) koalas.  You can also hold some less cute creatures...

Lisa leading the way...

Me following suit, once I knew it was safe...
We went on to go to 3 different wine tastings throughout the day.  A couple were quite small, boutique tastings, while one was quite a big vineyard.  In each one, you got to taste 4 or 5 different wines, along with receiving details on each of the wines from the owners or some expert staff.  We tasted white wines, red wines, sparkling wines and I think there was at least one dessert wine.  In each case, after the tastings, you had the option to buy some of the wines you preferred.

I don't even particularly like wine, but hey, it's alcohol
Each of the tastings was quite different, but each was very good.  The wines were nice, the hosts were knowledgeable and entertaining, and the scenery around the vineyards was lovely.  I'm no wine expert, so I can't say too much about the quality of the wines, but they seemed pretty good to us, and we didn't hear anyone else complaining.  They had some unusual offers, such as a sparkling red wine, and some of the tastings included complementary cheese.

Yah, cheese and wine
The other elements of the tour included chocolate and fudge tasting at the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company's factory.  It was all delicious, and we also grabbed some nice hot chocolate and pastries at the attached cafe.  There was a cheese tasting which was interesting, and included about 5 different cheeses.  It was also accompanied by a barrage of cheese jokes.  I never realised this at the time, but there is actually a huge global subculture of cheese jokes.  They grated on me after a while.

The final extra activity was a beer tasting at Potter's Brewery.  We were given a description of all the local beers that were available on tap, and then had the option to buy some at your own expense.  We bought a 'paddle' with 5 different beers, and enjoyed them all.

We then had the drive back home to the city.  It was a long day, but we really enjoyed the whole trip.  Wine, beer, chocolate and cheese - what's not to like?  Kangariffic Tours were great, and the guide was excellent.  He was very enthusiastic, and kept a reasonably large group engaged and entertained throughout the day.  If you are passionate about wine, then a wine tasting tour seems like a no brainer.  However, even if you're not crazy about wine, there is enough about this tour to entertain most people.

Have you done a wine tasting tour in the Hunter Valley region?  Got any good cheese jokes you want to share?  Or bad ones - I'm not sure how you tell the difference...  Please leave a comment below.

No comments:

Post a Comment