Check out these Hunter Valley wine labels we think you should know

The Hunter Valley is home to a staggering number of wineries and vineyards. But when it comes to tasting the region’s wine, two things are true: 1) we can’t always get to a cellar door for a tasting and 2) finding a lesser-known gem from the region is always rewarding. Enter: an abundance of Hunter Valley wine labels that can be bought online or in bottle shops, that you probably haven't heard of.

From boutique family-run vineyards to innovative newcomers, here’s our guide to lesser-known Hunter Valley wine labels that we think you should know about. Happy drinking!

Aeon Wines

Aeon Wines is the creation of fifth-generation Hunter Valley vigneron Alisdair Tulloch and Kenisha Tulloch, and its wines are made only from syrah (AKA shiraz) or syrah blends. The focus on syrah is driven by the duo's obsession with the grape (Alisdair spent years working with syrah in the Rhone Valley), the variety of ways it expresses itself, and the site in which it is grown. Aeon Wines is fresh off the back of launching on May 6 – you can buy their wines by contacting [email protected] or heading to the website, and you can taste them by appointment.

Beckels Vineyard

Beckels Vineyard is owned and operated by Rebecca and Ian Bower, but this boutique Broke vineyard is very much a family affair, with the couple’s parents and three daughters often helping out. The fruits of their labour? A very drinkable shiraz, chardonnay, and sparkling chardonnay. This year will be the first vintage of the vineyard’s fiano and barbera, so stay tuned for Beckels’ take on these Italian varietals. You can find Beckels’ wines at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club and Marks Point Sports Club, or purchase them via their website. 

Chateau Pato

Chateau Pato is led by winemaker and viticulturist Nick Paterson, who continues the legacy of his winemaking father David at the family vineyard and winery that’s been in operation since 1979. Nick makes a small range of wines starring classic Hunter varieties like shiraz and Semillon, plus a vintage port, chardonnay, and a marsanne roussanne. Purchase Chateau Pato wines via their website or request a tasting with Nick.

Dirt Candy

Dirt Candy makes small-batch, artisan wine from grapes sourced from the Hunter Valley as well as other Australian wine-growing regions. Run by husband-and-wife team Daniel and Jenni, Dirt Candy’s wines are all about getting creative with the winemaking process – you’ll find a skin contact pinot gris, a traminer pet nat, and a red blend dubbed ‘The Little Circus,’ which won the 2019 Young Gun of Wines ‘Danger Zone’ award. Purchase Dirt Candy wines via their website.

Eagles Rest 

Eagles Rest makes its wines from the Maluna vineyard, a spot high in the foothills of the Brokenback Range where, you guessed it, wedge tailed eagles nest. Run by the Hill family since 2006, keeping things small and intimate has been the goal from the get-go, and it’s resulted in a small yet quality range of wine including Semillon, syrah, and chardonnay. The family even has a mobile cellar door at the vineyard – pop in from 1pm-4pm Friday to Sunday or purchase Eagles Rest wine via their website.

Glover Wines

If you’re a Hunter Valley wine devotee, you might have heard the name Emily Glover. Emily is the winemaker at De Iuliis, but she also has her very own brand, Glover Wines, which brought out its first release in 2022 – a traditional Semillon with a modern twist, made from grapes from the Oakey Creek Vineyard. Emily is certainly one to watch in the Hunter Valley wine world – there’s even a new wine coming to the Glover Wines label very soon, so keep your eyes peeled. Purchase Emily’s wine via the Glover Wines website.

Gunpowder Wines

We love a wine that begins with a good story, and Gunpowder Wines certainly fits that bill. The name of this Hunter Valley winery pays homage to the failed 1605 plot to assassinate King James I of England by blowing up wine barrels filled with gunpowder beneath the Houses of Parliament. Gunpowder Wines winemaker Harrison Medley hails from Yorkshire, like Guy Fawkes, but aims to use his wine barrels for good, making shiraz, chardonnay, and shiraz nouveau from Hunter Valley and Mudgee grapes. Taste them at Ben Ean or purchase via the Gunpowder Wines website.

James Edward Wines

James Edward Wines is the brainchild of James and Jessica Turpie, who make predominantly cool climate styles of wine – the current range offers a Hunter Valley rosé, a Hunter Valley pet nat (with a very funky label), and a Tumbarumba chardonnay. There’s nothing stuffy about these wines, so make sure you crack them open and enjoy them as soon as possible. With a focus on organically-grown grapes and minimal intervention, James Edward Wines are a great option for wine lovers looking to tread a little lighter with their consumption. Find them at Vera Wine in Hamilton.

Majama Wines

Run by partners Millie Shorter (on graphic design duty) and Rojer Rathod (on winemaking duty), Majama Wines doesn’t take wine too seriously. The word majama means happy, enjoyment, or fun in Gujarati, the language of Gujarat, India, where Rojer is from – hence the refreshing, joyful approach to winemaking. Its wines are minimal intervention, meaning they’re unfiltered and unfined with minimal sulphites. Its syrah nouveau and pinot noir are currently sold out, but keep an eye out for its latest release of wines, coming soon.

Sabi Wabi

Sabi Wabi winemaker Peta Koltz makes small-batch, lo-fi wine from grapes grown in the Hunter Valley. Peta received the Winemaker’s Choice award in the 2022 Young Gun of Wine awards and she’s a finalist in the Top 50 Winemakers for this year’s awards, so we reckon she’s doing something right. Sabi Wabi currently offers a pet nat, two Semillons, chardonnay, and syrah, each providing a refreshing take on popular Hunter Valley varietals. Purchase Sabi Wabi wines via their website or at Vera Wine on Beaumont Street. 

Vales Wines

Having grown up in France and Portugal, Edgar Vales was surrounded by wine, eventually leading him to discover his passion for winemaking. Edgar now makes wine under the label Vales Wines with his wife Eva and daughters Claudia and Alexandra, focusing on accessibility and drinkability. Think varieties like pinot grigio, rosé, and shiraz. Edgar keeps things simple and doesn’t tinker with the grapes too much, letting the terroir shine in each bottle. Buy Vales Wines from their website, or from Vera Wine in Hamilton and Artisanal Cellars in Newcastle.

Have we missed somewhere? Let us know!