When going on the essentials run has become the highlight of your week, the growing urge (and complete inability) to travel might leave you feeling a little stir-crazy.
Perusing travel blogs and social media makes an ample substitute, but even that can only satiate you for so long. Fortunately, a host of Hunter Valley businesses have put together lockdown packages, so you can get a taste of Wine Country without leaving the house. Here are a selection of our favourites to stave off the stay-at-home blues.
Explore new territory (safely)
Lockdown is the perfect time to try new things, and wine is certainly included on that list. Hungerford Hill’s mystery box of six hand-picked premium bottles might be a good place to start. Though the exact contents are a surprise, one thing is guaranteed. All the wines pair beautifully with food, making them the perfect accompaniment to all those new dishes you’ve been learning. It’s about as adventurous as you can get at the moment, and you might just discover a few new favourites!
Wine and dine online
Bring the vineyard to your front door with a virtual wine tasting. Scarborough Wine Co. are offering three sample sets of their award-winning wines especially for lockdown. Take your pick from the Offshoot, Classic and Obsessive ranges:
Offshoot – Verdelho, Vermentino, Chardonnay, Off-Dry Semillon, Tempranillo Rosé, Red Blend
Classic – Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz
Obsessive – Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz
Each pack comes with a tasting mat, 100ml samples, tasting notes and Zoom tutelage courtesy of the Cellar Door team. With so many options and the team’s impressive knowledge, you’re sure to find something to brighten your time indoors.
Switch up your shelves
If you’re getting tired of the same old basics in your kitchen, experiment with something new from Hunter Belle Dairy. Their lockdown hampers contain some of the family-owned business’ finest essentials. Soft and cheddar cheeses, handmade butter, fruit paste, free range eggs, juice and yoghurt are just some of the items included. The range of flavours rotates, so you could make the delivery a weekly thing for a bit of welcome variety.
If you like what you taste, you can order more of the same from their website. Plus, a free cooler bag is provided, ready for you to fill with more Hunter Valley goodies as soon as you can visit in person.
Get a little merry
Keeping up with friends and family is a great way to stay smiling whilst the days all merge together. Why not share some festive cheer a little earlier than usual? These are unprecedented times, after all. You may not be able to gather round the fireplace with a steaming cup of mulled wine in hand, but you can still enjoy the seasonal favourite together.
This Milbrodale Farm pack comes with two Gremida Grove wines and a spice blend. Grab a kit for yourself and one for your friends here. Heat up your mix, add sugar to taste (and a splash of rum for a real winter warmer). Then, hop on a group video call and catch up on all your banana bread-based accomplishments. Carols are optional.
Help out from home
It’s easy to feel stuck when everything’s at a bit of a standstill. But the knowledge you’re helping your local wildlife could aid the inertia. Cedar Creek Wombat Rescue is a non-profit that cares for unlucky creatures in need of some TLC thanks to injury, mange and loss of habitat. Every 12-bottle case bought from Wombat Crossing Vineyard means a $10 donation to the little guys, as well as free freight.
Great Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Rose vintages are available from $25 a bottle. You’re already keeping your community safe by staying in. If you’re stocking up on wine to see you through, you may as well add another good deed to the list.
Keep it sweet
Chocolate lovers might consider indulging their sweet tooth alongside a glass. Glandore Estate’s chocolate and wine tasting set features six wines coupled with six Adora truffles. Handmade lime and white chocolate, caramel cone, raspberry, ginger spice, blueberry and honey treats make up this enticing collection. Alongside the pairing notes you’ll also find the team members’ thoughts vis-a-vis their favourite combos. They may not be on hand, but the experts can still lend a helping one.
Stocked up on wine already? Purchase the truffles separately and create some DIY pairings of your own. At times like these, it really is the little things, and what smaller delight is there than chocolate?
Sydneysiders, fear not – we’ve got heaps of other ideas to keep you going at home. Take one of these 10 Sydney walks to get in your daily exercise, or find some more at-home foodie ideas here. And, if you just can’t wait, plan a few up-and-coming wineries to visit when lockdown ends.