Wining and grazing in the Hunter Valley
Nothing says weekend chill like a glass of wine and a delicious cheese and antipasto plate to share with your tribe. And aren’t we just spoilt for choice here in the beautiful Hunter. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. These amazing places have gourmet food platters down to a fine art – the kinds of nibbles that’ll keep you coming back until not a skerrick of quince paste or labna are left…
Briar Ridge Vineyard, Mount View
A gem of a boutique winery in Mount View, Briar Ridge have long been providing their wine tasting guests with delightful platter fare. They have a huge range of classic wines and some interesting alternative varieties which you can enjoy with cheese or antipasto on their beautiful deck or in the wine garden. Gourmet platters here feature fresh produce and condiments from Binnorie Dairy (think creamy labna and goats cheese feta), Spotty Dog and Tar10, as well as goodies from other local providores. If there’s a few in your group, their Mega Platters are a good option. Briar Ridge is certainly one of those places you’ll want to buy a bottle of wine and linger.
Platters are made fresh daily and start from $25. For an extra $5, you can even add some velvety artisan chocolate to your cheese platter! Order yours before 4pm.
Usher Tinker Cellar Door & Salumi, Pokolbin
Salumi you say? Oh yes. The Italian term for cured and smoked meats, much like the French term, Charcuterie, Salumi and wine of course, is where it’s all at for Usher Tinkler. It’s here, at their charming cellar door where you can enjoy a masterpiece of a cheese and salumi platter, designed to heighten your wine tasting experience. Seriously though, their large platters which cater for 6-8 people are next level, overflowing with local cheeses, fresh fruit and a selection of cured meats. I could go on, but as they say, a picture says a thousand words…
Salumi and cheese plates are available from 10:30am to 2:30pm at Usher Tinkler starting from $30 per person for a single portion.
Wine House, Pokolbin
With a great selection of some of the Hunter’s best boutique wineries, Wine House know good wine. They also know how to rock a grazing board. Don’t just take my word for it. Wine House received the 2019 Best Tasting Experience award for the Hunter Valley from the team at Gourmet Traveller WINE. Take your pick from their three signature grazing boards. The Charcuterie and Mezze Boards feature the popular Mossy Mountain Salumi and other little delicacies like dips, chutneys and warm sourdough bread. If cheese is your kryptonite, Wine House’s Cheese Board has an array of local goodies that won’t disappoint.
All grazing boards cost $60 and are suitable for two people.
Two Fat Blokes Gourmet Kitchen & Deli, Pokolbin
If soft and creamy Labna flavoured with mascarpone stuffed figs doesn’t get your attention then we just can’t be friends. Ha! All jokes aside, Two Fat Blokes in Pokolbin is a foodie haven. In the gourmet stakes, you can’t go past their Cheese and Wine Matching Experience. These relaxed and informative tastings feature nine international gourmet cheeses matched perfectly to nine local wines and are a fun way to pick up a few tips on wine and cheese pairing. If a picnic is more your scene, head over to the deli which has a range of delicious take-away picnic packs to choose from. You can also create your own picnic pack, if you prefer, from their rather impressive range of cheeses (there are 90 or so), produce and condiments.
Cheese and wine tastings run at 11am and 3pm daily and cost $30 per person.
voco Kirkton Park, Pokolbin
You might be surprised to learn that lifestyle hotel voco Kirkton Park offer some very tasty cheese and antipasto at their Epoche Lounge Bar. With a passion for sourcing fresh produce and supporting local businesses, voco’s cheese and charcuterie boards are simply scrumptious. Kick back in the lounge areas cosy and cool surroundings and order glass of wine or a sustainable cocktail from their new menu.
The Epoche Lounge Bar is open daily from 12-10pm. A Hunter Belle Cheese Board will set you back $25 (for two people). The Kirkton Park Charcuterie Platter starts at $29 (also for two).
1813, Broke Fordwich
If you’ve visited the usual Hunter haunts then a trip out to Broke Fordwich and the 1813 cellar door in particular might be the go. A former Dairy Farm, this beautifully renovated cellar door makes some outstanding single vineyard wines which you can taste with their delicious cheese boards, sitting in the alfresco glasshouse overlooking the vineyards and mountains. Could life really be this good? Thanks to 1813, yes it can.
The 1813 cellar door is open Fri 12-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm and Sun 10am-4pm and cheese boards start from $10 per person.
Keith Tulloch Wines, Around Hermitage
The stunning Keith Tulloch cellar door on Hermitage Road not only has some quality wines under Keith’s label, but is a really beautiful place to visit. Located upstairs, the cellar door has a gorgeous balcony with views of the vineyards and Brokeback Mountains – the perfect place to sample Keith’s wines with a cheese plate, which feature a delightful selection of Binnorie Dairy’s most popular cheeses. Groups also have the option to pre-book a private group tasting in the WJ Pitsch Room, overlooking the beautiful grounds. There’re a few different group tasting options but our favourite is the Wine & Chocolate tasting. This delightful tasting pairs five handmade praline chocolates, made by artisan chocolatier Cocoa Nib, with Keith’s current release wines. Yum.
Cheese plates start from $25 and can be ordered daily. The Wine & Chocolate tasting must be booked for a minimum of 8 people and costs $30 per person.
Binnorie Dairy, Lovedale
If you’re in the Lovedale vicinity, and in need of something cheesy, then you simply can’t go past local cheesemakers, Binnorie Dairy. The veritable experts of cheese, Binnorie have almost every type of cheese your heart could possibly desire as well as yummy locally sourced antipasto-style produce and condiments. Order a coffee or glass of wine with your platter and watch the world go by.
Binnorie Dairy are open daily from 10am-5pm. Cheese and Antipasto platters serve two people and start at $20.