I’m not the only person who has long believed that the red soil in many of the best vineyards of the Hunter Valley was volcanic in origin. It’s enshrined in all of the reference books and taught in schools. Now, I know better. It is in fact terra rossa, derived from underlying limestone – similar to the famous soils of Coonawarra. A marine soil, not volcanic. “Close your eyes and open them again and you’d swear you were in Coonawarra,” says John Davis, owner of Pepper Tree winery. In fact there is plenty of limestone in the Hunter Valley, says Davis, and he can prove it by taking you for a quick tour of his Tallavera Grove vineyard, in the Hunter’s picturesque Mount View sub-region.