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Upper Hunter Country
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 11:54

Drink up! Wineries of the Upper Hunter

Small Forest Winery, Denman Small Forest Winery, Denman Atsuko Radcliffe

The rich farmland and rolling hills of the Upper Hunter provide the ideal breeding ground for world-class premium viticulture, with the region producing wines of international acclaim.

World renowned chardonnays, classic Hunter semillons and fresh vibrant verdelhos are among the white varieties the Upper Hunter has become famous for, while long-time favourites shiraz and cabernet sauvignon dominate the red plantings in the area.

The history of the Upper Hunter as a wine region goes back to the 1850s when William Ogilvie planted vines at Merton property near Denman.

These were pioneering times and the vines he planted at Merton were among the first to be planted in the Hunter Valley.

By 1860, a young German settler named Carl Brecht planted vines at the junction of Wybong Creek and the Goulburn River.

Brecht went on to make wines that won gold medals at international wine shows during the 1870s, and this early success was an indicator of the area's potential as a wine region.

Nearly 100 years on, the area saw a surge of development in the late 1960s which began with Penfolds moving their entire Hunter operation from Dalwood in the Lower Hunter up to Wybong near Denman.

This period also saw the now internationally famous names of Richmond Grove and Rosemount start their operations in the Upper Hunter, setting the scene for many others to follow.

The area today plays an important role in the broader Hunter Valley and makes a significant contribution to the quality reputation the region has earned over many years.

In recent times, there has been renewed activity among the cellar-door outlets of the Upper Hunter and the area now boast a range of highly acclaimed vineyards, wines and cellar doors to suit every taste.

An event not to be missed each year is the Upper Hunter Wine and Food Affair, which is held on the first Saturday of May.

Ogilvie Street, the main street in Denman, is transformed for the day with over 40 stalls featuring gourmet food from some of the best restaurants in the Hunter, delicious gourmet produce and, of course, award-winning wines from all the wineries of the Upper Hunter.

We extend to you a warm welcome when you visit the beautiful Upper Hunter.

Brett Keeping (Two Rivers Wines)

President, Upper Hunter Winemakers Association.

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