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by Elisa Parry
The sun is setting over the vineyard. It’s the perfect time to take a stroll, soak up the sights, or, stalk a mob of kangaroos for the perfect social media shot (look, everyone enjoys downtime differently). The point is, settings don’t come much more Insta-worthy than dusk on Bimbadgen Estate in the Hunter Valley. I was lucky enough to spend some time at Bimbadgen enjoying a wine tasting, learning some tricks of the trade from head winemaker Richard Done and exploring the stunning grounds of the estate. Here are a few things I learnt during my cheeky mid-week escape.
The name Bimbadgen means ‘place of good view’ in the local indigenous language and as you drive through the vines towards the winery and Bimbadgen’s iconic bell tower you’ll find the scenery of the estate more than lives up to its name. The views from the cellar door aren’t too bad either, in fact, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid jaw-dropping vistas from every angle of the estate.
But I’ve got work to do, and the first order of business is meeting head winemaker Richard Done for a wine tasting (I know, it’s a tough gig). Richard runs me through a range of his favourite Bimbadgen drops. We start off with a sparkling before moving onto the Palmer’s Lane Semillon, the Palmer’s Lane and McDonald’s Road Shiraz before finishing on the sweet (and delicious) 2015 Botrytis Semillon. Being a self-confessed novice, in between tastings I picked Richard’s brains on how to match food and wine (to avoid future fine dining wine list panic) you can read up on his handy suggestions here.
There are plenty of ways to spend an afternoon at Bimbadgen. You can take in the scenery and enjoy a woodfire pizza or two from the cellar door kitchen. Or if you’re partial to a picnic, RedBalloon offer a premium wine tasting experience at Bimbadgen that includes a picnic hamper and painting kit. You can choose your favourite view of the estate (trust me, this will be tough), set up your picnic and relax and unwind while channelling your inner Picasso.
View this post on Instagram This weekend was so lovely and very much needed! It started out in the best way, with a wine and painting picnic at @bimbadgen, thanks to @redballoon. I couldn't have asked for a better location than this vineyard to eat great food and drink amazing wine! #myredballoon A post shared by Jessica Ward (@jesswardphoto) on Oct 22, 2018 at 2:04am PDT
This weekend was so lovely and very much needed! It started out in the best way, with a wine and painting picnic at @bimbadgen, thanks to @redballoon. I couldn't have asked for a better location than this vineyard to eat great food and drink amazing wine! #myredballoon
A post shared by Jessica Ward (@jesswardphoto) on Oct 22, 2018 at 2:04am PDT
I decided to spend my time exploring the beautiful grounds before retiring to the onsite accommodation at Bimbadgen, a delightful two-bedroom cottage overlooking the vines. When it comes to dinner options, you can either cook up a storm in the cottage’s well-equipped kitchen or treat yourself to a meal at the award-winning restaurant Esca Bimbadgen.
View this post on Instagram Winemaker Richard Done takes us through a tasting at Bimbadgen Estate A post shared by Experiences/Gifts/AU/NZ (@redballoon) on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:38pm PDT
Winemaker Richard Done takes us through a tasting at Bimbadgen Estate
A post shared by Experiences/Gifts/AU/NZ (@redballoon) on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:38pm PDT
While the sunset views of Bimbadgen were impressive, it’s definitely worth getting up early in the morning for a sunrise stroll through the vines. Then you can make the most of a full day exploring the region. For those who love a good adventure, there’s plenty to get your heart racing in the Hunter Valley from helicopter flights to rally car driving. If you’re celebrating something special, hot air ballooning is the perfect way to start the day. The Hunter Valley is beautiful all year round, so what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today.