This oldest winegrowing area (GI) of Australia is located 150 kilometres north of Sydney in the state of New South Wales. It is divided into two areas, the Lower Hunter Valley and the Upper Hunter Valley, which are collectively known as Hunter. There are the subareas Allandale, Belford, Broke Fordwich, Mount View, Pokolbin and Rothbury. The larger Lower Hunter Valley is considered a "real" Hunter Valley. It was here that William Kelman (1800-1863) and George Wyndham (1801-1870) first planted vines around 1820. The "father of Australian viticulture" James Busby (1802-1871) founded the Kirkton farm here in 1825. Only 130 years later the Upper Hunter Valley was opened up for viticulture. The vineyards cover about 4,000 hectares of vine area. They are planted with the white wine varieties Chardonnay, Sémillon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho as well as the red wine varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz(Syrah).
The hot climate with high humidity and rainfall often at the wrong time (which is particularly disturbing during the grape harvest) is not really ideal for viticulture, also because of the soil. Despite these adverse conditions, the area has become famous for its ageing white wines from Sémillon, formerly known as "Hunter Riesling". It also produces excellent white wines from Chardonnay and red wines from Shiraz. Well known producers are Allandale, Arrowfield Wines, Brokenwood, Château Pato, Evans Family, Hungerford Hill Vineyards, Lake's Folly, Lindeman's, McWilliams (Mount Pleasant), Margan Family, Petersons, Reynolds Yarraman Estate, Rosemount Estate, Rothbury Estate, Tulloch, Tyrrell's Wines and Wyndham Estate.