Eat & Drink

5 Places To Visit in Pokolbin

You don't need to spend hours in the car to make a break from daily life, 45 minutes is all it takes to have you cruising the Hunter Valley's vineyards. Pokolbin is its heart and where you'll find a collective of classic and contemporary food & wine experiences. We hit the road in the all-new Mercedes CLA Coupé‎, on loan from Mercedes-Benz Newcastle, to spend the day discovering what lies right on our doorstep.

8AM - m15

No road trip should be considered without a pre-trip coffee hit, which doubled nicely as a chance to sit and get to know our Coupé a little better‎. We couldn't help but be impressed with the multimedia dash and that smart voice control system which lets you introduce yourself to the Coupé‎ with a simple 'hey Mercedes'. 

Before we know it we're in Wine Country....

9:30AM - fawk foods

They say it's the most important meal of the day, we tend to agree, which is why we take our brekky destinations seriously. Fawk Food sets the breakfast bar pretty high and starts our day off with a flavoursome bang. The relaxed cafe/bakery/pantry space offers up all-day breakfast favs such as the Bacon & Egg Roll and warm Porridge to the slightly more elaborate and completely moorish Pumpkin Hummus and Cassoulet.

We wanted to keep it light so opted for the Breakfast Bowl with its Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Sauteed Broccoli, Kale, Miso & Tahini, Poached Egg, Sauerkraut and seed flavours, and another coffee, of course. 

11am - brokenwood wines

Next stop. Brokenwood. We were keen to check out their new digs and taste some of their finest Hunter drops. Pulling up, it’s easy to see why Brokenwood was announced 2019 cellar door of the year. Their new, architecturally designed cellar door is not just visually striking, but a well-laid out and inviting space to taste wine in.

With the sun overhead, we opted for a pod on the outdoor terrace for our guided wine tasting. 12 table wines, two dessert wines and a delicious cheese platter later, and we’re ready to head off to our next destination. Not before grabbing a couple of fav wines to be enjoyed later.

Purchases are pretty much mandatory on every stop!   

12:00pm - pukara estate

We’re booked in for lunch at 1pm, but with everything so close by in Pokolbin we decide to sneak in a cheeky olive oil tasting at Pukara Estate to wet our appetite. Located in the lovely Peppers Creek Village, Pukara has their whole range of olive oil products on taste. It’s hard to know exactly where to start!

The tasting bench is very literally the entire length of the room, filled to the brim with oils, vinegars, dukkahs and other condiments that are begging to be dipped with a little slice of bread. We willingly oblige and grab a gift-boxed olive oil pack for our troubles on the way out.

1:00pm - winehouse

Loving the selections of wines from some of the Hunter Valley's best boutique producers at Winehouse. The Sangiovese from their own label, Little Wine Co. is very nice indeed.

Food with love...The Wine House Kitchen menu is all about generous, nourishing and delicious dishes that evolve with the seasons. Chef Ros Baldwin doesn’t do anything by halves, designing a menu to be enjoyed with great wine and fabulous friends.

It’s not long before our lunch arrives. Braised Osso Bucco with sage croquettes and herbed gnocchi with hot smoked trout and ricotta. Both are wholesomely delicious and devoured with our glass of wine. 

We set off again, promising to be back to try their popular slow-cooked lamb.

2:30pm - usher tinkler

There was certainly no way we were going to visit the Hunter Valley without stopping by the charming Usher Tinkler Cellar & Salumi.

You could be mistaken for assuming the building is a church and you’d be right. The space, originally home to the Pokolbin Church was built in 1905 and was purchased by the Tinkler’s before being thoughtfully renovated to showcase Usher’s wines.

We’re still feeling full from lunch, but after spying a platter ordered by another taster, we decide to sip and graze. Why not? There’s no rush and this is such a beautiful space, inside and out. And, as the team here believe, wine is made better with food and friends.

A platter to rival all platters, we just had to throw in a gratuitous platter close-up. Yum!

With our tasting complete, we stock up the boot and hit the road. It’s been a day well spent!

As expected the Mercedes CLA Coupe was a pleasure to drive, a whole lot fancier than our usual ride, from its every things connected super-smart digital system, to the ultra-luxe interior finishes and crisp sound system, can you tell we enjoyed our day out a little too much! 

This guide was produced by HUNTERhunter in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Newcastle.