Home to dozens of award-winning vineyards, people have been flocking to the area for decades to sample its internationally acclaimed vintages. But if you’re considering making the journey and taking a wine tour yourself, why not mix things up with something a little different?
Murchessons Horseback Wine & Dine Tours has teamed up with two boutique wineries to become the region’s first tour operator to combine horseback riding with the traditional cellar door experience. The tour is the brainchild of Kim Murdock and Steve Hutchesson, and it started as a way to help fund their passion project – the recovery and rehabilitation of rescue horses.
“There is no better way to experience everything the Hunter has to offer than on horseback,” Murdock says. “Our horses are extra special because they’re being given a second chance at life. We use natural horsemanship to rehabilitate and train our animals, and we pair you with the horse that’s just right for you.”
Murdock and Hutchesson are Hunter Valley locals, and together they have more than 30 years of wine industry knowledge and experience.
“We’ve lived and worked among the vines of the Hunter for a big part of our lives,” says Murdock, “so we have a lot of local and wine industry knowledge to share along the way.”
This insider knowledge helped them as they researched and developed the ride and wine tour, spending 12 months training and practising to perfect the experience. Now, their Equine Wine & Dine Tour sees guests enjoy VIP tastings at Wynwood Cellar Door and Hanging Tree Vineyard, a visit to the Wynwood Cellar Wine Museum, and a gourmet lunch at Voco Kirkton Park. There are also a range of half-day tours available, and all are suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.
“For a twist on the standard cellar door, I can say, without hesitation, it will be one of the best things you will ever experience,” says Murdock.