Each year at the Wine Media Conference we cooperate with the local industry to organize five-hour wine country excursions into the local wine region. Below are the six planned excursions for Friday, October 11 in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia.
These excursions have traditionally been “mystery” excursions in which conference attendees have no idea where they are heading when they board a bus. This year we are making a change by publishing the host venues and other details in advance. Attendees will be able to choose their destination on a first come, first served basis upon checking in to the conference on October 10.
These five-hour excursions are mini media tours complete with tastings of unique and award winning wines, education, dinner, beautiful scenery, and opportunities to meet local industry players. They are included in the price of the conference, thanks to the generosity of participating wineries and restaurants and the organization of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association. We think you will love them.
WMC19 Friday Wine Country Excursions
Degen Wines & Estate: The Degen Wines & Estate is the smallest commercial wine producer in the Hunter Valley, featuring single vineyard Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz wines. Your hosts Tom, Jean and Sasha Degen will welcome you to their estate and share their passion for single vineyard wines. Then, in what will be a first for the Wine Media Conference, digital media expert Guy Degen will guide attendees through exploring audience development, wine experiences, and storytelling through the Lego Serious Play method.
Participants will experience a delicious three-course dinner inspired and created by talented local Hunter Concierge chef. The chef will prepare a scrumptious meal with Degen Single Vineyard wines and 100% Hunter produce with a menu designed to allow the tasters to travel through each of the Degen’s single vineyard varieties. We will learn why each varietal is grown in the Hunter and its response to Degen terroir.
Around Hermitage: The Around Hermitage Food & Wine Trail encompasses over 20 wineries along with breweries, distilleries, restaurants, and accommodations in the area of Hermitage Road near Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley. We’ll first shuttle to Mistletoe Lane for an introduction to the topography of the area, enjoying the view towards the Brokenback Mountains. You’ll then have the option to use an electric bike or hop in a horse-drawn carriage (weather permitting) to travel to the private residence of owners Bob and Mary Lusby of Tintilla Estate.
We will do a tasting of member wineries, with the opportunity to chat with locals who live and breathe the Hunter Valley. Dinner will then be served, with the theme Hunter and Gatherers of the Around Hermitage Wine & Food Trail, with dishes such as rabbit terrine, kangaroo Thai salad, and spit roast suckling pig created and served by some of the seven restaurant partners of the Around Hermitage Food & Wine Trail.
Mt Pleasant/Brokenwood/Thomas/De Iuliis/Margan: This excursion is a cooperation of four nearby wineries: Mt. Pleasant, Brokenwood, De Iuliis, and Margan. We’ll start with a visit to the Mt. Pleasant Old Hill Vineyard for an introduction to the area by Chief Winemaker Adrian Sparks. We’ll then transfer to Brokenwood Wines for a Semillon Masterclass with Managing Director & Chief Winemaker Iain Riggs and Owner and Winemaker of Thomas Wines, Andrew Thomas. Our next stop is the top of the De Iuliis Wines’ Steven Vineyard for refreshments, canapés, and a vineyard tour with Owner and Winemaker, Mike De Iuliis.
We will then transfer to Margan Restaurant & Winery for dinner. Margan Restaurant is now in it’s tenth year and as the pioneers of agri-dining in the Hunter Valley are committed more than ever to their ‘estate grown, estate made’ ethos. The visit will include a discussion from the Head Chef at Margan Restaurant with Lisa Margan (@lisamargan) about the history of the restaurant and its commitment to both sustainable and ethically sourced foods. The focus of this dinner will be Shiraz and “other red varietals”, with an emphasis on the exceptional 2017 and 2018 vintage as well as a bracket of rare and aged Hunter Valley red wine.
The Magic of Mount View: The Magic of Mount View excursion is presented by Briar Ridge Vineyard, Carillion, and Bistro Molines, all of the Mount View region of the Hunter Valley. We’ll first travel to Briar Ridge Vineyard to meet our hosts Jaclyn Davis, Owner & Alex Beckett, Winemaker. Participants will be split into groups of five and challenged to craft a premium Hunter red wine by blending select barrel samples of Briar Ridge wines. Each team will then have the opportunity to test their creativity by designing a Briar Ridge label for their new Hunter Red blend, with the blends and labels being judged by Alex and Jaclyn with prizes awarded.
We will then journey through the picturesque vineyard valley connecting the Briar Ridge and Carillion cellar doors and hear from Carillon Vigneron Tim Davis about the Mount View terroir, plantings and vineyard practices that shape the distinct wine styles of Briar Ridge and Carillion. Hunter Valley living legends Robert and Sally Molines will then provide a culinary experience you will long remember at their restaurant, Bistro Molines, in one of the most beautiful parts of the Hunter Valley, accompanied by a selection of premium Briar Ridge and Carillion wines.
Tyrrell’s Wines: Tyrrell’s Wines is one of the most iconic family-owned vineyards in Australia, with a history dating back to 1858. We’ll travel to the winery and start our experience with a tour of some of the oldest and most historic ungrafted vines in the Hunter Valley, dating over 100 years old. We’ll then enjoy a four-part “Verontal” tasting: a vertical of Vat 1 Semillon from 2019, 2009, 2005 & 2003; a horizontal of 2014 Stevens Semillon, Belford Semillon & HVD Semillon; a vertical of Vat 9 Shiraz from 2017, 2014, 2011 & 2009; and a horizontal of 2017 Stevens Shiraz, Old Hut Shiraz & Mother’s Shiraz.
Dinner will be catered by Muse restaurant, one of the most awarded restaurants in the Hunter Valley. Experience an exquisite menu curated by chef/proprietor Troy Rhoades-Brown matched perfectly with some of our finest Museum wines.
Wine House Hunter Valley: The Wine House is a unique facility that showcases the talents of five leading Hunter Valley wineries: The Little Wine Company, Silkman Wines, Thomas Wines, David Hook Wines, and Hart & Hunter. These five are all well-established, family owned, boutique winemakers with an incredible track record of awards and accolades. The evening will be a series of mini-masterclasses hosted by the winemakers from each brand. At the conclusion of each masterclass you will be invited to taste a blind bracket of wines in the enomatic machine followed by a game of “options”.
We will then be seated on the terrace seated amongst the winemakers at a long table (or inside if inclement weather) with a beautiful selection of share plates paired with museum wines from each winemaker. Chef Ros Baldwin has created a menu at the restaurant full of share plates, mezze, and charcuterie boards