2011 The Hunter Valley Wine Tour
On the weekend of the 14th and 15th of May, The Hawkesbury River Sailing Club conducted, what has now become an annual event on the social calendar, the “Hunter Valley Wine Tour”. This was the forth time we’ve conducted this social event and it seems to be coming more popular every time. This year we decided to try a slightly different format in that we included the Lovedale Long Lunch on the Sunday.
Those attending were Allen and Gill Brock, Ross and Sue Catterall, Alan and Irene Dickerson, Lyn Boulton, Peter and Sue Brock, Malcolm Sinclair & Faye Willing, Brian & Gayle Lacey, Lyn McMurray, Gill Armitt, Janine Dawson Jocelyn Gonsalves, Rod and Christine Raward, Jayne and Peter Mayers, Collette and Daniel Gooch, Eddie and Chris Hawes, Bob Batchelor and Julia Poole, Les and Veronica Kemp, and Monica Kemp
On the Saturday, we left Brooklyn around 8:15 am and arrived at our first stop, the Small Winemakers Centre at around 10am, for morning tea. Some of the group were able to taste and buy some ‘local fare’ such as olive oil, pickles and jams on sale at the shop, while the more serious wine buffs sampled the wines. Then, at 11 am, it was off to Tamburlaine Wines for a tasting session. Jan, our host gave us about 10 different wines to taste, however the Mark Davidson Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and ‘Mail Run’ Riesling proved to be real hits with most of us, and as a result we came away with several cases of both. At about 1 pm we arrived at Kevin Sorbels for a sausage sizzle lunch.
Later that afternoon, we went to the boutique winery of Catherine Vale, which is in the upper part of the Hunter Valley. The photo on the left was taken from the cellar door of Catherine Vale looking south. As you can see from the photo it is a very pretty part of the Hunter Valley and boasts of some very different ‘styles’ of wines than those normally grown in the Hunter. The wines we tasted were certainly different to the 'norm' and certainly appealed to some of the group. To get to Catherine Vale we had to detour, due to a weight restriction on a bridge, but our coach driver was able to get us there safely via a different route. After the purchase of few more bottles of wine, we headed back to the motel for a BBQ steak dinner and the consumption of some of the newly purchased wine. It was a little cold to eat outside, so we crammed into the ‘camp kitchen’ at the motel and after a few ‘reds’ the cold simply disappeared.
On Sunday we did the Lovedale long Lunch as mentioned earlier. For those of you who haven’t heard about the Lovedale Long Lunch, it’s a tour of at least three wineries in the Lovedale district of the Hunter. Each of the participating wineries is set up in a festival atmosphere with gourmet meals and live entertainment. Your ticket includes a complimentary wine tasting glass, a main meal and desert or cheese platter at any one of the venues you visit. The whole idea makes for a very pleasant way to taste some wine, have a good meal and enjoy the entertainment while doing so. A few more cases of wine were purchased along the way and about 4 pm we headed for home, arriving back at Brooklyn around 5:30 pm. The coach trip home was a ‘very quite’ one, due in part to a very pleasant but tiring weekend. Ken and Jan Elton were original starters but had to pull out due to Jan illness, however they were able to joined us on the Lovedale Long Lunch.
From all reports, everyone had an excellent weekend and all seem keen to do again next year. I have included some photos taken by Jocelyn to set the scene for this article however there are a few more photos on the gallery page and they are well worth a look.
Les Kemp Commodore and Part Time Tour Director.