The History of Hunter Valley Wine
The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best-known wine regions. Located in the state of New South Wales, the region has played a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine as one of the first wine regions planted in the early 19th century. Hunter Valley Semillon is widely considered the iconic wine of the region but the Hunter produces wine from a variety of grapes including Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelho.
Over 30,000 years ago the Wonnarua tribe of aboriginal Australians inhabited the land that is now known as the Hunter Valley wine region. Along with the Worimi tribe to the north and the Awabakal to the south, the Wonnarua developed a trading route connecting the Coquun (Hunter) Valley to the harbour now known as Sydney harbor.
The wine-making history of Hunter Valley begins with the European settlement of the Sydney and the New South Wales region of Australia in the late 18th century as a penal colony of the British Empire. The Hunter River itself was discovered, by accident, in 1797 by British Lieutenant John Shortland as he searched for escaped convicts. The region soon became a valuable source for timber and coal that fuelled the steamship trade coming out of Sydney.
Put simply, the Hunter Valley is the birthplace of Australian wine.