Spicers Vineyard Estate – The Hunter Valley’s Best Accommodation
Being someone whose wine knowledge ended at an aluminium sack of Fruity Lexia, the Hunter Valley was never really at the top of my holiday list. Yet after a full-day wine tour, mouth-watering cheese tasting session and two nights accommodation at Spicers Vineyard Estate, I can proudly say I’m a changed man. I know my chardonnay from my sauvignon blanc, my shiraz from my merlot, and I can swirl a wine glass in my hand and actually know why I’m doing it.
If you’re like the old me and never really considered the Hunter Valley as a vacation spot, I’m here to tell you that wine isn’t just all goon bags and hangovers, it’s actually pretty darn good when done right. To sweeten the deal (pun definitely intended), Australia is arguably one of the best producers of the grape drank in the world, and the Hunter Valley is home to some of our best vineyards.
To do the holiday right you’ll want to snap up a room at Spicers Vineyard Estate. The picturesque retreat sits atop the end of a windy driveway and resembles your classic to-good-to-be-true Truman Show residence. A symmetrical finish with a carpet like lawn goes hand in hand with the Alice In Wonderland-esque life-size chessboard and inviting pool out the back.
The fantasy continued upon checking into our Luxury Spa Suite for two. A couple’s haven, the room is large enough for 10, with the bathroom alone being bigger than most bedrooms. A spacious living room with a TV, lounge, desk, fireplace and complimentary champagne connects to the master bedroom where your king size bed awaits. As good as all that sounds, you’ll want to book the Luxury Spa Suite based on the bathroom alone. Heated tiles, a spa bath, divided washbasins and a walk in shower with a showerhead as large as an A3 piece of paper all make for a lush lifestyle (or couple of days anyway).Gourmet breakfast is included in your stay, and if you’d rather eat from your bed than make your way to the restaurant, room service is happy to deliver the goods upon request. Rolled bacon, poached eggs, fresh juice and your choice of coffee and more all make for a pretty great start to the day. Once you’re ready to leave your room (it’s really that hard to do) Spicers offer free bikes to all their guests. Ditch the car and go vineyard hopping where wine, cheese and chocolate tasting awaits.If you’d rather let an expert take you around the best-of-the-best vineyards, then booking a wine tour is a must. We booked a full-day wine tour through the Vineyard Shuttle Service that featured a 10:30am pick up and 5pm drop off. It included four wine-tasting vineyards, a cheese-tasting stop, chocolate-tasting stop, and to mix it up a bit, a visit to a vodka distillery, again tasting was involved… On top of all that, the $60 price is a whole lot cheaper than anything you’ll find.Dinner wise, Restaurant Botanica shares the same address as Spicers and is the most sought after food spot in the whole Hunter. Fine dining for me is much like fine wine, and I’m now kicking myself I haven’t been willing to splurge earlier in life. The award-winning restaurant offers to pair your entrée, main and dessert all with matching wines. If you’ve never before experienced such a dining practise, I, on behalf of your tastebuds ask that you save it for Restaurant Botanica. Presentation on top of taste is unrivalled, I strongly suggest the duck breast as a main, but I’m confident in saying it’s impossible to make a bad decision.Not only will a Hunter Valley retreat and stay at Spicers Vineyard Estate impress the missus (confirmed first hand), you’ll open your eyes to a range of alcoholic beverages you may have never before considered, and that alone should be enough motivation…