Welcome to Hunter Valley
The Hunter wineries are refreshingly attitude free and welcoming to novices. They nearly all have a cellar door with free or cheap tastings.
While some deride the Disneyland aspect of the Hunter Valley, the region also offers everything from hot-air balloons and horse riding to open-air concerts. Accordingly, it is a hugely popular weekender for Sydney couples, wedding parties and groups of mates wanting to drink hard while someone else drives. Every Friday they descend and prices leap accordingly.
The Hunter Valley is exceedingly hot during summer, so – like its shiraz – it's best enjoyed in the cooler months.