A casual conversation about Australian wine might start with mention of well-known regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Yarra Valley, and Margaret River. And for the well informed, the conversation will also include the Hunter Valley. Located within easy proximity to Sydney, the Hunter is most notably ‘ground zero’ for Australian wine. In 1825 James Busby, considered the ‘father of Australian wine,’ set about planting vineyards near Singleton. From there, the readily accessible market in Sydney fueled the growth of the region’s vineyards and wineries. Today, there are over 120 wineries in the region, with some of the most esteemed vineyards found near Pokolbin, NSW. It is here that you will find Peppers Convent.
Set amongst lush vineyards, this former nun’s convent was originally built in 1906 – 600km from its present location. It was moved in pieces to the current location and painstakingly reassembled into an exclusive getaway. Exuding the ambience of an indulgent French Baroque hotel, coupled with the unique charm of an Australian country guesthouse, the carefully
reconstructed inn includes 17 intimate deluxe guest rooms, each
reflecting the retreat’s simple outback heritage and featuring deep
verandahs. Replete with French doors, the rooms are perfectly imbued to provide fairy-tale views over the beautiful gardens and majestic vineyards while sipping on local vintages and absorbing the essence of luxury. This ethereal ruggedness will need to be digested, and luckily for guests the renowned and highly awarded Roberts Restaurant is only a short walk away. Ensconced in the 1878 National Trust listed Pepper Tree Cottage, Roberts has been described as the Hunter Valley’s most beautiful dining room where American expat Chef George Francisco tends meticulously to the cuisine. Roberts features a menu highlighting local Australian produce, with a premium selection of readily available local vintages.
Situated in the heart of the Hunter Valley at Pokolbin, Peppers Convent is 90 minutes drive north of Sydney and accessible by train via the NSW Trainlink.info “Xplorer.” With daily departures from Sydney Central Station to Singleton, hunterprivatetours.com.au can take you on a private winery tour before dropping you at Peppers. Features include: car rental & limousine service, pool, tennis court, bicycles, in-room Wi-Fi, Concierge, and spa treatments. www.peppers.com.au/convent/