girl holding wine at the hunter valley vineyard

The Most Famous Hunter Valley Wines

The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region and a true feast for the senses. The Hunter has everything from charming vineyards to peaceful landscapes and gourmet thrills. And with over 150 cellar doors to explore alongside a growing number of innovative restaurants, there are indulgences to suit every taste and budget.

But the Hunter Valley is much more than just a wine lover's paradise – it’s also home to a long and fascinating legacy, a vibrant community of winemakers, and a burgeoning culture of innovation and experimentation. The region is also famed worldwide for producing exquisite varieties of Semillon and Shiraz.

With four generations and over 100 years of winemaking to draw on, the McGuigan family has been a driving force in the Hunter Valley. Every generation has dedicated its life to bringing Australia and the world our collection of fine wines.

Whether you’re a seasoned wine aficionado or just looking for a relaxing escape or weekend getaway, the Hunter Valley is the perfect destination to sip your way through the vineyards and soak up the natural beauty of this truly special place.


History of the Hunter Valley wine region

The Hunter Valley has a rich and impressive history dating back to 1797 when Lieutenant John Shortland just happened to stumble upon it while searching for escaped convicts. In the early 1820s, the region saw the introduction of wine grapes, thanks to the pioneering efforts of people like George Wyndham, William Kelman, and James King.

James Busby, widely known as Australia’s father of wine, also played a key role in shaping the region's reputation for groundbreaking wines by importing 500 vine cuttings from Europe and South Africa. Along the way, families like the Drayton, Tyrrell, and Wilkinson families established their own vineyards in the area.

Today, with over 150 wineries, the Hunter Valley is not only Australia's oldest wine region but also known worldwide for its distinctive wines that reflect the land they come from.

Why is the Hunter Valley good for wine?

Hunter Valley wines are exceptional because of the region’s terroir. The climate is perfect for growing grapes, with warm days and cold nights during autumn and winter, which help give the grapes a rich, complex flavour. Summer rains are also crucial for keeping the vines hydrated and healthy.

The Hunter Valley also sits on an ancient seabed, which has created an array of diverse soils ideal for growing different grape varieties. For example, the more loamy soils are perfect for producing Hunter Valley Shiraz, while Semillons thrive in the sandy substrates.


The Most Famous Hunter Valley White Wines


Australia is now the second largest producer of Semillon globally (behind France), and the Hunter Valley is particularly famous for its exceptional Semillon wines.

Semillon is known for its delicate, fresh, citrusy taste when young and its ability to age for decades.

Young Semillon wines are crisper with lemon and grassy notes and pair well with seafood dishes, such as grilled fish, oysters with Asian dressing, steamed clams, and salt and pepper squid.

Mature Semillon has a richer, smoother flavour with notes of honey, toast and biscuit and is an excellent match for more decadent recipes featuring chicken or pork or pasta dishes with a cream-based sauce.

At McGuigan, we take pride in growing and cultivating our Semillon wine right here in the lush Hunter Valley. Our most awarded wine is the McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon  which starts off as a fresh and light wine when young but develops rich honey and toast characters with extended cellaring.

We suggest you try:

  • 2015 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon – Delicate and fresh citrus with a lifted floral rose aroma flows from the nose to the palate to deliver great line and length. Drink now or enjoy over 20 years.
  • 2020 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon – Medium-bodied with full flavours of lime and pink lady apple. It will age gracefully to become rich and succulent, the honey and toast emerging to delight the palate with the rewards of patience.
  • 2022 McGuigan Cellar Select Autumn Harvest Semillon – enjoy vibrant flavours of floral orange blossom and citrus harvested from some of the oldest Semillon vines in Australia.


Click here for our complete guide on Semillon wines.



In the Hunter Valley, Chardonnay accounts for about 70% of the planted area. The wine’s tasting notes include ripe fruit flavours ranging from mango to pineapple and crisp apples. And when aged in oak, Chardonnay develops a full-bodied texture with secondary flavours of toast, cream, vanilla, and butter.

Unoaked Chardonnay pairs wonderfully with shellfish, sushi, chicken salad or a charcuterie board, while oaked chardonnay is an excellent partner for rich dishes such as lobster mornay, grilled salmon, roast chicken and mushroom risotto.

McGuigan’s range of Hunter Valley Chardonnay delivers a bright medium-to-full-bodied crisp and clean finish on the palate, making them a popular choice among wine lovers.

We suggest you try:

  • 2019 McGuigan Personal Reserve Hunter Ridge Chardonnay – Grown in the unprecedented dry conditions of 2019 and ripening early during the hottest summer on record, this is a bright, medium-bodied Chardonnay with fresh acidity, good length and persistence. White peach and citrus flavours dominate the palate. Chablis in style.

Click here for our complete guide on Chardonnay wines.


The Most Famous Hunter Valley Red Wines


The Hunter Valley is well-known for producing exceptional Shiraz. The wine made here is medium to full-bodied, with intense flavours, and a rich purple hue. As it ages, the wine develops earthy undertones, complementing the initial savoury and berry flavours.

Shiraz pairs beautifully with rich and meaty dishes, such as succulent home-cooked roasts, slow-cooked pasta ragus, and juicy steaks with charred, smoky flavours.

We suggest you try:

  • 2019 McGuigan Personal Reserve Bainton Vineyard Shiraz – This wine truly encapsulates the essence of the Hunter Valley’s unique terroir. The Shiraz grapes, planted in soil layered over an ancient stream bed, were sourced from Bainton Vineyard's vines, originally planted in 1940. The small berries and light yields have resulted in a wine that has a rich, syrupy texture, complemented by strong tannins and extract, while good acidity ensures a persistent finish.
  • 2019 McGuigan Cellar Select Hunter Valley Shiraz – From the first sip, this Shiraz greets you with fruit-forward berry flavours, lifted floral notes, and a delightful blend of chocolate and vanilla that glides smoothly through the palate. Balance is achieved through the light use of oak, adding creaminess contributing to its depth, weight, and complexity.


Click here for our complete guide on Shiraz wines.


Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular and celebrated red wine known for its robust, juicy, and savoury flavours with a lingering finish. Legend has it that this grape varietal resulted from unintentional cross-breeding of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes in France during the 17th century. How's that for a happy accident?!

Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is widely planted across the world. In Australia, the grapes thrive exceptionally well in warm climate regions like the Hunter Valley and Barossa Valley.

Cabernet Sauvignon’s intense flavours and rich tannins make it an excellent match for meat dishes. But its ultimate partner is lamb. Think grilled lamb chops, a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, stew or shanks, or a traditional lamb roast with all the trimmings.

We suggest you try:


Click here for our complete guide to Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

To truly experience the magic of Hunter Valley wines, visit McGuigan's cellar door open year-round daily from 10am to 5pm.

Or shop our range below.