Just had a great weekend in the Hunter Valley doing the whole wine tasting thing.
We stayed at the Hunter Valley Cooperage B&B in Kelman Vineyards which was absolutely perfect. I had emailed a few weeks back and had no problem making a reservation and arranging everything. There are 3 or 4 rooms at the B&B plus "the retreat" (which was booked by Honeymooners when we stayed). We had The "Shiraz" room which was spacious, spotlessly clean and well equipped - very clean bathroom with nice toiletries, TV & DVD, big bed, plush bathrobes and slippers etc, even a welcome tray with a welcome bottle of liquor and chocolates.
The Cooperage feels like a modern new building - huge guest living room, brilliant little "theatre" downstairs with big screen, surround sound and DVDs to choose from (I'd probably bring my own if we go again). Would be fantastic to stay if there were a group of you - you could have your own movie night. Gay & Warren Cooper were very welcoming and not "in your face" at all. Breakfasts out on the deck were superb - freshly poached eggs, asparagus and hollandaise sauce on toasted breads on the first morning (with lots of fresh fuits and yogurts and cereals as an option) and ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and maple syrup the next day - great views out over the vines.
Excellent location - tons of vineyards in Polkolbin - all within 15 mins drive. Gay Cooper (Joint owner with Warren Cooper) also kindly recommended and made reservations for a tour with "James" for $50/person - a minibus took us around various vineyards from 10:30am to around 5pm. A great tour if you're new to wine as it was a good introduction with some nice wineries included but if you consider yourself a wine expert might be a bit basic. We'd done our research and were particularly interested in the wineries with better reviews/unusual higher quality wines - Meerea Park, Tyrells, Lake's Folly etc - and these weren't included by James but I'd still give the tour 7/10.
We tried to eat at Leaves and Fishes on Saturday night but unfortunatley tried to book the shuttle too late so had to give it a miss - ended up a cheap but cheerful BLUE Thai restaurant round the corner - very good food.
Made reservations for Esca restaurant at Bimbadgen vineyard for Sunday lunch (they only do lunch) and had amazing meal with great wines.
Hunter Valley is VERY different to Napa Valley (we went to Napa last year) - more relaxed, more affordable (tastings are free), not as glossy and polished as Napa but just as much fun - everyone very friendly and welcoming and some good wines.
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- Also Known As:
- Hunter Valley Cooperage Bed & Breakfast Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin, Australia