Is wine tasting free in the Hunter Valley?
Almost all cellar doors charge a $5pp tasting fee for group presentations in the Hunter Valley. Some cellars charge $10pp and a very small number of high profile cellars charge $20pp. Thankfully most are only $5pp and they use this cover charge simply to cover the cost of the wine poured and cover the staff member’s time. When you compare it to the cost of a glass of wine at a pub, restaurant or other public venue it is far better value. 6-8 wine tasting portions (each pour is around 75mL in volume) and 45 minutes of a staff member’s time is quite a good deal! Of course treating the cellar door staff in the right way and sending the message that you are interested in buying wine rather than “being out to party” will go a long way to getting a better deal for your group. You can find lots of tips for how to do this in our post for getting more from the cellar door.
What does “redeemable upon purchase” mean?
Around half of the Hunter Valley cellar doors will refund your tasting fee in the form of subtracting the fee from the bottle price (eg. You pay the $5 tasting fee at the start of the tasting and if you purchase a bottle at the end, $5 is subtracted from the bottle price so you have essentially received your tasting for free). The rules for this are slightly different depending on the venue so you need to ask the cellar door how their policy works (eg. Some are redeemable upon “individual purchase” which means if you have a group of 3 people and 2 people purchase wine, then the 3rd person only is required to pay a tasting fee). Some cellar doors say their tasting fee is redeemable across 2 people (eg. A $10pp tasting fee that is waived if 1 out of 2 people purchase, so a group of 12 people could get their tasting for free if 6 bottles are purchased). And some cellar doors set a particular dollar amount for the group (eg. A $5pp tasting fee will apply unless the group purchases $150 worth of wine or more).