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Lower Hunter Valley
 The Hunter Valley region is Australiaís oldest and premium wine region and stretches from the Goulburn River and Wollemi National Park to the South right up to Barrington Tops National Park to the North, making it a perfect destination to kick back and relax, surrounded by nature and the beautiful vineyards. The Hunter Region is the finest wine region of New South Wales. The Hunter Valley's fertile river flats and its close proximity to the first colony at Sydney Cove led to its development as an agricultural region in the early 1800ís. Vines were first planted here in the 1820ís, and by the 1860ís there were 20 sq km under cultivation. There are now over 140 wineries in the total area, so there are many choices of vineyards to visit and taste the locally produced wines. The majority of the vineyards can be found in the Lower Hunter region, between Cessnock and Branxton, there are around 50 wineries in the area with the majority open for wine tasting and sales, although The Upper Hunter valley region also has several vineyards. The majority of the wineries are open daily between the hours of 9am/10am to 5pm. Some of the wineries also conduct a winery tour. The Hunter region is best known for its Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz varieties, although other varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc wines. Harvest is the most important period in any Wine making region and Hunter Valley Harvest Festival, held March/April, is a time to celebrate. Wineries, Guest Houses, and Restaurants all combine to celebrate with an emphasis on Food, Wine, Music, Theatre and Adventure. The many winemakers in the region have their own show in October, Budfest, Jazz concerts and opera recitals are all held in the vineyards when the vines erupt into bud for the new growing season.
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