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AUTUMN | WINTER 2014

Cessnock...Gateway to the Vineyards There’s Alot to Love about Lovedale

A HUNTER BLACKBOARD

Special

The Couples Guide to Wine Country The Grand Old Dame of the Hunter Image courtesy of Berenbell Vineyard Retreat


Gateway to the Vineyards Named aer Cessnock Castle in Ayrshire Scotland, and recently named on travel website TripAdvisor as the sixth best Australian desnaon due to its proximity to its world-class vineyards, the town of Cessnock was originally developed as a private village on the road that is now known as the ‘’Convict Trail’’ – the original Sydney to Hunter Valley road built by 3,000 convicts. Cessnock then became a major mining centre at the turn of the century, but wine and tourism soon became the major industries for the area. With the vineyards being so close to the town, Cessnock very quickly became recognised as the ‘’gateway’’ to the wine region and now also includes a number of ne hotels, motels and guesthouses as well as a number of restaurants, pubs and galleries. Visitors are also encouraged to visit the nearby local Hunter Beer Co. micro-brewery – renowned for its award winning selecon of cra beers. Places to visit in or around Cessnock:

• Wollombi: Cessnock provides easy access to the historic town of Wollombi – which was seled in 1838 as a service centre for the local farming community as well as travellers. Today Wollombi displays a ne architectural heritage, a selecon of cafes and eateries, comfortable guesthouses and naonal parks with great bush walking trails, lookouts and ancient Aboriginal rock carvings.

• Cessnock Regional Art Gallery (CRAG): A must see for tourists to the Hunter Valley, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery showcases Hunter Valley arsts and touring exhibions – adding a new dimension to the cultural life in the local area.

• Hunter Valley Zoo: Hunter Valley Zoo has a wide variety of animals including; monkeys, American Alligators, Tasmanian Devils, kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, reples and birds. Feed the animals... hand feed kangaroos, wallabies, farmyard animals and some bird species as oen as you like! Daily shows allow you to pat a wombat, cuddle up to a koala, touch a reple and watch the monkeys being fed. Great for kids!

• Hunter Valley Beer Co: Located at Poers Hotel Brewery Resort in Nulkaba, the Hunter Beer Co is the Hunter's rst micro-brewery and possibly one of the smallest in the country. Taste award winning beers, take a tour of the brewery, talk to the Brewers or simply relax and enjoy a tasty snack and one of their signature brews.

The Brokenback Ranges Much of the Hunter Valleys stories and of course its history have been played out in the lower Hunter Valley - an area that is now generally referred to as Hunter Valley Wine Country. It is also here that the majority of the Hunter Valley's most successful vineyards are located on the southern valley and foothills of the Brokenback Range which makes up a part of the Great Dividing Range - Australia's most substanal mountain range and the third longest land-based range in the world. The Brokenback Range has provided a signicant role in the history of the Hunter Valley. First as the ancient home to the Australian Aboriginal tribes many thousands of years ago, prior to white selement and later as cover for bushrangers and convicts avoiding capture and a grim return to Sydney Cove and also as a barrier to exploraon.


Aer most of the early vineyards of the Hunter were rst planted in the northeast secon of the valley - along the ferle alluvial plains along the Hunter River, planngs began to move further south and west towards the foothills of the Brokenback Range near what is today known as the areas of Pokolbin and Rothbury. Here the mountains created a unique micro-climate for the vineyards which also thrived on the deep red volcanic soils. Today the mountain range remains a permanent and ageless backdrop to wine country and the vineyards connue to produce world-class wines from its rich soils. But today the mountain range also serves as a tourist aracon for those wanng to explore its trails and capture its magnicent imagery in painngs and countless photographs. No longer a home to ancient tribes or a barrier to exploraon but instead words borrowed to name guesthouses and resorts and to describe the wines in which soils they grew. For the Hunter Valley wine country, the Brokenback range is a welcome and ever present sennel to progress and prosperity.

Backdrop to Wine Country


Lovedale

THERE’S ALOT TO LOVE ABOUT Beauful and just perfect for that special weekend With a vast selecon of bouque accommodaon away, Lovedale is one of those places that once you to choose from and a wine and food trail consisng of 12 cellar doors, 10 restaurants and cafes, a visit, you will soon be planning your return. chocolate factory, dessert bar, a smokehouse and Oen referred to as the ''Heart of the Hunter'', Lovedale is renown not just for its family owned and gourmet pantry as well as an olive mill and sales centre, Lovedale oers the perfect couples operated cellar doors and award winning wines but also for an enre lifestyle that has sprung up around weekend away and the ideal opportunity to experience some of the best wine and food the it, which includes a wide selecon of quality Hunter has to oer. bouque accommodaon, restaurants, galleries, gourmet foods, golf courses, adventure acvies, horse-riding and day spas. Of course Lovedale is also well known for the annual Lovedale Long Lunch. Now in its 21st year, this popular wine, food and music fesval aracts up to 20,000 people over the two day event,

When you have had your ll of the local wine, you can visit a few local galleries with Emmas Coage Vineyard Gallery and Ogishi Cra Centre being within close proximity of each other.

Alternavely pamper yourself with a spa treatment at Reecons Day Spa at Adina Vineyard or the Tea Tree Spa at Crowne Plaza. Tempt yourself with a As one of the oldest wine producing regions of the Hunter Valley, the history of Lovedale dates back to visit to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Factory or Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar for a pure the 1800s when local wheat, dairy and general produce farmers turned their hand to grape growing. chocolate indulgence. If you are feeling a lile more At this me there were signicant land grants along adventurous go for an early morning balloon ight, horse-riding at Hunter Valley Horse-riding & Black Creek. This area was parcularly suitable for vineyards and was also favoured for its proximity to Adventures on Talga Rd or a play a round of golf at Hunter Valley Golf & Country Club. For more the 'Old North Road' to Windsor. informaon visit www.lovedalehuntervalley.com.au.

he heart of the Hunter ….the heart of the Hunter …


Wilderness Road, Lovedale

Sweet Treats If your idea of an indulgent weekend involves delicious chocolates, desserts and other such treats then a visit to Lovedale's two most popular sweet spots. Is a must!

Sabor in the Hunter is a dessert bar located in Lovedale, oering an extensive range of classical and seasonal desserts paired with wines, dessert wines, Ports and liqueurs from the Hunter region. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Sabor is famous for its Portuguese Chocolate Mousse made from a 60 year old family recipe. Sabor also oer a gluten free range, light meals, Barista made coee and a selecon of teas to enjoy on their informal alfresco pao or to take away and savour in your hotel or home. Open Friday to Sunday (and Monday on public holidays) - 319 Wilderness Rd, Lovedale.

The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company has 4 shops in the Hunter Valley with their factory shop and retail outlet located in Lovedale. Here visitors can watch Peter the chocolaer preparing their range of mouth-watering chocolates for the company’s stores using the nest Belgian couverture chocolate, together with Australian dried fruit and nuts. A dislled pure fruit oil is used for infusion and results in a subtle but true avour of the fruit. Also available is freshly made fudge. Open 7 days - 820 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale (Wilderness Rd end).

Just one bite .... and you will want to keep coming back for more!

‌.the heart of the Hunter ‌.the heart of the Hunter


Lovedale Road, Lovedale

Dining Out With a range of restaurants and cafes oering a variety of dierent styles and types of dining, Lovedale is fast becoming a favourite desnaon amongst food lovers. Some of the most popular and highly recommended restaurants and cafes include:

Emersons Cafe & Restaurant - located at Adina Vineyard The mul-award winning Emersons Cafe & Restaurant provides Spanish style tapas for lunch and inmate contemporary modern Australian cuisine during the evenings. Diners also have the opon of an eight course degustaon menu on Friday and Saturday nights. Breakfast is also served on weekends from 8am to 11am. Lunch is served Wed to Sat from 11am to 3pm and Dinner Thur to Sun from 6pm to 10pm. Contact: 4930 7029 or for more informaon and menus go to www.emersonsrestaurant.com.au

The Deck Cafe Lovedale - located at Gartelmann Wines Providing a diverse and deligh ul menu complimented by Gartelmann wines and Paizza Doro coee, this local favourite is situated alongside the Gartelmann Wines cellar door where diners get to sit inside the cafe or dine alfresco on the spacious deck overlooking the picturesque dam. Open 7 days for breakfast and lunch - Mon to Fri from 8.30am to 3.30pm and Sat and Sun 8am to 3.30pm. Contact 4930 9007 or for more informaon and menus go to www.deckcafelovedale.com.au

Hot Air Ballooning Few would argue that an early morning view from the basket of a hot-air balloon is a wonderful way to experience Hunter Valley wine country's breathtaking views and explore the landscape from the air. Seen from the ground, the scenery in wine country is among the most beauful in the world. From the sky, the countryside is even more unforgeable … one can only imagine what dierent splendour each of the four seasons would present in the form of a new and varied landscape that could only be more deeply appreciated from above. Lovedale’s Balloon Alo conduct ights daily, starng early in the morning and taking around three to four hours including me to inate and deate the balloon. Don't worry, though, you won't just be sing around during those parts of the adventure with passengers encouraged to help with the inang and deang process The ascent is oen so gentle that passengers oen do not realise they have le the ground unl they nd themselves soaring eortlessly over elds and trees. Since hot air balloons don't have a steering mechanism, you literally go where the wind takes you and you don't feel like you're up that high, because the panoramic view alters your perspecve. The landing is oen as gentle as the launch and once back on rm ground you get to relax and over a champagne breakfast. Balloon Alo oers sunrise balloon adventures with gourmet champagne breakfasts, proposal packages and exclusive VIP ights for two which would be just perfect for that special occasion. For the simplest and easiest way for you, your family, and friends to create a lifeme memory - go ballooning! For more informaon visit www.balloonalo.com or phone 1300 723 279 or drop in at their o ces just o Lovedale Rd at Lovedale.

he heart of the Hunter ….the heart of the Hunter …


Talga Road, Lovedale

Horseriding It may have started as a novelty, but the idea of taking a leisurely ramble in wine country on horseback has a romanc appeal that's catching on. Perhaps it has something to do with being at one with nature, or the exuberance and excitement that we feel when riding - the wind blowing against your face waking up forgoen feelings of life and living. Hunter Valley Horse Riding and Adventures on Talga Rd in Lovedale oer many dierent ways to take in the area on their 300 acre property. Ride the unique and beauful Molly Morgan Range and experience the spectacular views of the Hunter Valley and as far north as Barrington Tops.

Horse rides are available every day for both experienced or beginner riders and riders can choose whether they want to go on a trail ride with a dedicated and qualied guide, arrange a personalised ride for that special occasion, or take a sunset ride which is perfect for seeing the local wildlife in their environment. An aernoon spent riding the ranges, followed by a relaxed dinner at a local restaurant could well be marvelous memory in the making. To ride with Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures Phone: 4930 7111

‌.the heart of the Hunter ‌.the heart of the Hunter


PEPPERS CONVENT

The Grand Old Dame of the Hunter Valley

Set amidst the beauful gardens and vineyards of Australia's world famous Hunter Valley Wine Country, Peppers Convent is a true romanc retreat oering inmate accommodaon ideal for a getaway and those wishing to truly indulge. Built in 1909 in the town of Coonamble - on the central-western plains of New South Wales, Peppers Convent was once home to the Brigidine Order of nuns. In 1990, it was carefully divided into four secons and transported 600km east to the Hunter Valley where it was rebuilt as faithfully as possible to the point of having new mber made in the same mill in Coonamble where the original mber was cut. All the pressed metal interiors are original and many of the walls have since been removed to enlarge the rooms, yielding more elegant and luxurious suites. Peppers Convent's Chapel was in Room 1, now a suite. Rooms 6 and 7 also suites, were inially the music rooms and kindergarten. The parlours are the o ce and the dining room. The library is now Room 4. The boarder's secon included rooms 14 to 16 each with their own verandah. The nuns' secon was the remainder of the top oor. Many of the nuns have since visited the newly restored Peppers Convent and have blissfully commented on how their old home has been returned to its original form. The Nuns demonstrated their appreciaon by returning the original foundaon stone, stained glass windows and etched wooden doors, which they reserved when they moved into their new home at Coonamble. The dĂŠcor of the rooms has been described as having a French Baroque avour, illuminated through the constant symbol of cherubs, angels, gilt and toils du jour window furnishings. The white cane furniture alludes to sultry aernoons spent relaxing in the high ceiling airy rooms while the mosquito nets add a touch of romance and are reminiscent of hot Coonamble nights without screened windows. The Pepper Tree Estate includes the Peppers Convent and only a short stroll away is the renowned Robert's Circa 1876 Restaurant, which houses the original 1876 Pepper Tree Coage, and Pepper Tree Winery and Tasng Barn. With over 100 regional wineries and endless recreaon opons Peppers Convent is ideally situated to make the most of your stay in the region.

Historic Roberts Circa 1876 Restaurant


The The diversity of the Hunter Valley ensures that there is something for everyone whether you are a lover of wine, food, art, adventure, nature, shopping, history or simply wish to be pampered and indulged. Either way, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life and with it some lasting memories. In Autumn, the region is a rich tapestry of warm orange and golden brown colours with the vineyards now completely harvested for this years vintage and the vines losing their lush foliage in preparation for the Winter dormancy. Truly a photographer’s delight. Walk, drive or cycle through sweeping natural landscapes in the countryside and quiet country lanes - whilst enjoying some of the local produce along the way. From premium wine tastings, to local hand made cheeses, hand made cookies, olives, oils, apple ciders and chocolates and even boutique hand crafted beers, vodka and schnapps.

There are few settings more beautiful and more romantic than the Hunter Valley. Vineyards, mountains and picturesque valleys combine to form the perfect backdrop for any romantic weekend away or special occasion whether it be a wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or just time spent together. Think boutique accommodation, vineyards, bird filled waterways and dams, quaint historic villages and towns, rugged mountains, lush gardens and parks with picnic areas, candle-lit dinners and delicious world class wine - that's the romance of the Hunter Valley. But true romance is all about doing something special or unexpected with or for that someone special, even though it is not expected.

For those who like a gentle view of nature there are numerous walking tracks and bush trails through national parks or for something more stimulating meander through 25 acres of Hunter Valley Gardens and enjoy the sensational sights, colours, and fragrances of the ten stunning feature gardens. If you are feeling more adventurous take an early morning or afternoon horse-ride through over 300 acres of natural bush-land with glorious views of the Watagans, Brokenback Range and even Barrington Tops. Ballooning is definitely one for the romantics at heart, so if you are thinking of proposing or declaring your love, then this is the way to do it. A breathtaking early morning view whilst cuddling up in a hot-air balloon is a wondrous way to view the Hunter Valley vineyards and mountain ranges. Ascending in a hot air balloon and cruising over the picturesque landscape of the lower Hunter Valley vineyards is for many a rarely presented thrill of a lifetime and the most amazing way to create a lifetime memory.


Guide to the Hunter Valley Today, the Hunter Valley is as much about food as it about wine and the region has a strong food and wine culture that is reflected in its world class restaurants, abundant fresh regional produce and gourmet food products and full range of wine styles and varietals - one to match every meal. The tastes of the Hunter Valley are as diverse as they are delicious and there's something about eating outdoors that makes the conversation flow more naturally and the food taste extra delicious. With Autumn Summer temperatures generally sitting in the low 20's, we should be in for some warm days and very mild evenings, just perfect for the romance of fireside dining. There is no shortage of fabulous restaurants and cafes offering dining options in the Hunter Valley, so why not head out for a long lunch or early dinner under the stars and be romanced by the local countryside, vineyard and mountain views as you dine Hunter style. Wine and romance go hand in hand and the Hunter Valley is not only the oldest wine growing region in Australia, but is also renown for having some of the best With traditional procedures and the finest quality ingredients, local Hunter Valley winemakers producing some of the finest wines in the world. breweries and distilleries take the art of creating a fine drop to a completely new level. The Hunter Beer Co. in Nulkaba almost always have a unique seasonal So put your taste buds to the test with wine tastings at any of the 140 or so cellar beer on tap to tempt just about every palate and the Hunter Distillery on Broke doors in the Hunter Valley and taste the difference. Try the distinctive and superb wine styles of Hunter Valley Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz that simply cannot be road has just released their light and dark Honey Vodkas using centuries old recipes - just in time for the colder weather. replicated in any other wine region as well as the many other varietals grown in the Hunter. If you have an interest in learning more about wine and wine appreciation At the end and of your busy and adventure filled day - take the time out for then an organised tour to some of the most renown wineries in the Hunter Valley is yourself or with your loved one and indulge in some personal ''you time'' with a just what you need and without the concerns of drinking and driving. well deserved visit to the day spa, or getting a treatment at a beauty salon, or smelling some gorgeous essential oils. A trip to the day spa can be a truly holistic If you still have room after sampling all the cheese, chocolate, olives and other gourmet goodies the local producers have to offer, why not visit some of the boutique experience and the benefits of a relaxation massage can last for several days . producers of craft beers, ciders, vodkas, gin and schnapps? No matter how you plan your romantic Hunter Valley, just don't forget to pack your camera, so you can capture the magic!


Best of the Hunter in a

Country Taste some of the regions finest wines... Savour fine or casual dining… Match wine and food…Take a wine and cheese tasting course… Taste superb ciders and taste some of the best schnapps, vodka’s and gins in the country! Walk, cycle or drive – the choice is yours. Either way you end your country mile having tasted the Hunters finest! Oakvale One of the oldest working wineries in the Hunter Valley with a history going over 120 years. Taste unique and distinctive premium handcrafted wines in the modern cellar door and view the state of the art winery in action. Open 7 days. Phone: 4998 7088 www.oakvalewines.com.au

Glandore Estate Renowned for producing wines of great character, regionality and style from the traditional varieties known in the Hunter Valley, selected from only the very best parcels of fruit as well as new and exciting varieties to the Hunter Valley such as the superb Tempranillo. Open 7 days Phone: 4998 7140 www.glandorewines.com De Iuliis Wines One the Hunter Valley’s leading producers and most recognised names in the Australian wine industry! Regionality and a modern approach to winemaking ensures De Iuliis Wines produce a unique yet highly identifiable wine with a sense of time and place. Open 7 days. Phone: 4993 8000 www.dewine.com.au

Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Kitchen Casual dining at its best! Wine, beer and food tasting platters - wine and cheese tastings and tutorials. Euro Deli Open 7 days from 9am – 5pm with lunch served from 12pm - 3pm. Breakfast Saturdays and Sundays from 8am. Phone: 4998 6699 www.twofatblokes.com.au/kitchen/ Leogate Estate Elegant, stylish and welcoming. Taste award winning wines produced from their onsite vineyards. Complete the experience at Villa du Pays Restaurant offering modern French inspired cuisine - lunch and dinner. Cellar Door Open 7 days 10am – 5pm. Lunch: Fri – Mon 12pm until 2:30pm. Dinner: Thurs – Mon 6pm until 9:00pm. Phone: 49987499 www.leogate.com.au Hunter Distillery An amazing and unique experience and the first 100% organic distillery in Australia. Taste a range of premium Organic Vodkas, Schnapps, Gin and Liqueurs and take a guided tour of the distillery production area. Open 7 days. Phone: 4998 6737 www.hunterdistillery.com.au

Thomas Allen Wines Wines without compromise! The regions newest cellar door with stunning views and limited quantities of exceptional, flavour intense, high quality wines. Open 7 days. Phone: 4998 7250 www.thomasallenwines.com.au

It’s all so close.


Stay & Play Hunter Valley Accommodation Guide