I like to drink wine. I'm not one that does it every night, but I enjoy it. I know nothing about it - the grapes, fermentation, aging, how to properly "taste" test - all of that just starts sounding like blah blah blah blah blah to me. Just being honest.
BUT...like I said, I like drinking it, and I live in a country that likes to produce it. So, when my friend Shelby came to visit me from Texas, and one of the items on her "to do" wish-list was to visit a winery, it gave me a perfect reason to knock off one of my "50 Before 50" items too.
PLUS, as a bonus, my friend Stefan (who is South African but he's lived in Australia for 17 years) went to Texas a few months back. I connected him with Shelby to show him around Austin. He offered to return the favor and take us around the Hunter Valley, a wine region about an hour or so from Sydney. He's a member of a few wine clubs, so we happily agreed to put ourselves in his capable hands.
First stop was at Peterson House - makers of all wonderfully bubbly things. Our complimentary tasting consisted of whites, roses, reds, and sweet wine too...all sparkling. Some of these, Shelby and I didn't even know you could get in a sparkling wine, and we were a little skeptical, but oh lawdy, were they phenomenal. She and I both left with multiple bottles. My purchases included a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, a Tempranillo, and a dessert wine that I still can't pronounce: Botrytis Semillon.
This greeted us at the entrance of Peterson House. Fortunately it was 100*F+ temps (40*C), so I was making the assumption that the snakes would be hiding somewhere to keep cool.
Shelby and I prefer reds, and since we had about 12 wine tastings already and had more stops ahead, we chose to just stick with reds at this stop. We were not disappointed.
C'mon. The wine's name is "Heavy Metal" (and y'all know I'm a rocker girl for life), the label is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it was a delicious red. Of course, I bought this one.
Stefan joined their wine club, and Shelby & I bought some bottles. They were happy to see us visit.
One of Stefan's wine buddies praises their Shiraz, so, you know, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
Yes, this is a wine region, but other tasty beverages are concocted as well. I'm a fan of the cider, so this was a pleasant surprise. I bought a four pack - one of each.
Is that enough wine for you? Well, we went to the Hunter Distillery too. Didn't want any alcoholic beverages to feel left out.
This baby right here is a test tube of Caramel Vodka, and it is one of the most amazing libations to ever pass these lips. Take all my money.
Supposedly, the founder of the distillery looks a lot like Santa. So, every Christmas they create a raspberry and honeydew melon liqueur packaged these bottles using his likeness. It was only a few days after Christmas. Raspberry Santa needed to come home with me. I like mixing it with Coca Cola and create my own version of a cherry-ish (raspberry) Coke. This bottle will most likely last me all year.
Many of the wineries has lovely restaurants with exquisite food, but Stefan had learned that Shelby and I are big fans of the cheese platter, so he took us to The Smelly Cheese Shop for some much needed food.
I had an Ale Dorado...I know, I know, it's fashioned like an American beer, but I just loved the name, and in the heat, I didn't want anything too heavy.
Stefan tells me that we just scratched the surface of all the places to visit and sample. He's already got a list for us to visit in the future. Plus, it is a gorgeous, scenic spot that could make for a great weekend getaway someday.
If you visited Australia, would you be interested in visiting the Hunter Valley?