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The No.1 magazine for visitors to Hunter Valley Wine Country | FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020 | ISSUE #175

Little Patch of Dirt Becomes

Family’s Paiо





Quality Without Compromise

Rated by James Halliday as a 5-star winery for the 12th year NOW G! TASTIN g arklin 2019 Sp Rosé

MISTLETOE is a small family owned and run winery that was established by the current owners in 1989. Now in its 30th year, Mistletoe’s “no-compromise” approach to producing small quan��es of “true to origin” premium quality wine has seen it rewarded with many, many hundreds of awards and accolades. With over 20 different wines, including Sparkling, Whites, Reds, Rosés, For�fied and Dessert styles on tas�ng, Mistletoe has one of the most comprehensive ranges of wines to be seen in the Hunter. • All wines are made in our onsite winery • Winery tas�ngs available for larger groups – bookings essen�al! • Mistletoe Wines are only available for purchase from the Winery Cellar Door • Knowledgeable and friendly staff to make you welcome • On most occasions you will be looked a�er by one of the Mistletoe Family

QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE With three genera�ons now ac�vely engaged in the day to day opera�on of Mistletoe, it is truly a unique family winery. When visi�ng Mistletoe be sure to take �me to visit POKOLBIN GALLERY and MISTLETOE SCULPTURE GARDEN also in the grounds of the Cellar Door.

Open 10am until 6pm daily | 771 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin PH 1800 055 080 FAX 02 4998 7792 | E office@mistletoewines.com.au | www.mistletoewines.com.au




PUBLISHED BY: WCP Media ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: PH +61 2 4943 2888 www.yourhuntervalley.com.au enquiries@wcpmedia.com.au WCP MEDIA Level 1, 216 Pacific Hwy, Charlestown, NSW 2290

A changing climate is nothing new to agriculture, but the severity of change has become a prominent concern for vignerons around the country. Never has this been more apparent than in the last few months, when our wine regions have been battered by bushfires, drought and more recently flooding deluges. What also has been apparent is the commitment and dedication to the craft of winemaking in the beautiful Hunter Valley, which we are happy to say is very much open for business. Vintage is well underway in wine country, and our winemakers are busy creating some of the country’s best wines. Stop by and taste for yourself! Establishing a wine label from scratch is not exactly a straightforward enterprise, especially when you’re squeezing it in between working your day job and raising a family, but that’s precisely what Darren and Tracy Scott of RidgeView have accomplished over the past 20 years. With the support of a group of close friends, the Scott's embarked on the daunting task of transforming



What’s in this

FEB-MAR 2020 Copyright © 2020 WCP Media Published monthly by WCP Media All rights reserved. Permission to reprint or quote excerpt granted by written request only. While every attempt has been made, WCP Media cannot guarantee the legality, completeness or accuracy of the information presented and accepts no warranty or responsibility for such. SPECIAL OFFERS AVAILABLE From 16th February 2020 until the 15th March 2020 inclusive, or while stocks last.

their 40-hectare timber property into a vineyard with 22 acres of selected vines, four self-contained cottages as well as a cellar door and restaurant. Read more on page 20. There probably aren’t many people who know more about the development of the Hunter Valley wine industry than the University of Newcastle’s senior lecturer in history, Julie McIntyre. This month we spoke to the wine historian and co-author of the fascinating book, Hunter Wine: A History about some of the significant milestones for the industry and region. There’s loads of live music and entertainment to enjoy throughout wine country over the coming weeks – from painting with fire in Morpeth to ah-ha and Rick Astley in the vineyards, crush parties to long lunches and pretty much everything in between.




What's on in February & March


Hot in the Hunter


The Hunter's Hidden Gem – Running Horse Wines 16 From Member to Owner at Saddler's Creek Wines 18 Little Patch of Dirt Becomes Family's Passion 20 Stay {in} at Hermitage Lodge! 24 From Good to Great at Mistletoe Wines 26 At the Cutting Edge in the Hunter 30

GET MOBILE! View this month’s issue of Your Hunter Valley Magazine on your iPhone, iPad, android tablet or android phone. Visit www.yourhuntervalley.com.au/read-online


Proudly Aussie Owned and World Famous 32 On the Wine History Trail


Summer Dining Guide


Your Hunter Valley Map


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ON Events not to miss in the Hunter Valley Region




Broke Village Market At McNamara Park FEBRUARY 2

Twilight Food Fiesta At Singleton Rugby Club FEBRUARY 7 (5pm–9pm)

Kurri Kurri Community Markets At Rotary Park, Kurri Kurri FEBRUARY 8

Handmade in The Hunter Markets At Kevin Sobels Wines FEBRUARY 15 + 29

yhv 4 | FEB-MAR 2020

Locals Night Hunters Quarter


EVERY MONDAY NIGHT Monday nights are locals night at HQ. From 6pm enjoy an exclusive menu crafted by owner and Executive Chef, Brian Duncan. You don't need to be local or work within the industry to enjoy this fabulous offering! Enjoy 2 courses for $65, or 3 courses for $80 (BYO welcome). Full wine list also available. To book phone 4998 7776 or visit www.huntersquarter.com.au

The Ultimate Winery Tour! McGuigan Wines

EVERYDAY Immerse yourself in the history of one of Australia’s most iconic wineries. Take an in-depth guided tour of the working winery, hosted by a member of the talented cellar door team. To complete your McGuigan experience, taste a selection of award-winning wines from their exclusive cellar door collection. These tours leave daily at midday. Fully enclosed shoes must be worn, no children under 16. For more information visit www.mcguiganwines.com.au and click on experiences.

Yum Cha in The Vines Amanda's on the Edge, Pokolbin

THURS 20 FEB Due to the popularity of their last sell-out event, Dumplings in the Vines is back with a brand new Asian-inspired set menu featuring one of their all time favourite meals: Yum Cha! Head to Amanda's On The Edge for Yum Cha in the Vines on Thursday February 20 with Head Chef Sara cooking up a dim sum storm. Their last event booked out fast, so get in quick! Grab your chopsticks and join in this ancient Cantonese tradition, held right here in the Hunter Valley. For more information visit www.amandas.com.au/whats-on

EXP.erimental Night EXP Restaurant, Pokolbin

Hope Estate, Pokolbin SAT 22 FEB For one night only Hope Estate will be hosting a mouth-watering degustation dinner by acclaimed chef Nichol Papandreou, paired perfectly

Shakespeare in the Vines

Calais Estate, Rothbury SAT 22 FEB In what has become an annual treat, Essential Theatre are returning to Calais Estate in February for Shakespeare in the Vines. Let a cast of 8 professional actors take you on the thrilling and dark journey that is Macbeth – tempted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches, and encouraged by his power hungry

Oishii Japanese Thai Restaurant

There is nothing quite like a fes�ve sushi pla�er to impress your guests. It tastes healthy, light and delicious. A favourite dining experience for locals and visitors alike. Always fresh... Always vibrant


Open 7 days for lunch and dinner. Takeaway available every day. Roche Estate, Hunter Valley

THURS 20 + 27 FEB Looking for something to do on a Thursday evening? Experience a set 5 course tasting menu at EXP. Restaurant created from local and fresh produce delivered on the day. Featuring a unique, one off menu that is only created for these evenings – what are you waiting for, book now! For more information and the rest of available dates visit www.exprestaurant.com.au

Hope Brewery Beergustation Dinner

Home Delivery Fri–Sun

Your always welcome at...

Corner of Broke Rd & Mcdonald Rd’s Pokolbin, NSW 2320 PH 02 4998 7051 www.oishii.com.au


Much more than a Vineyard.

with Hope’s own beers. Gain exclusive insight into their brewing process and see behind the scenes of one of the Hunter’s favourite breweries. Give your tastebuds something to remember! Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. For more information visit www.hopeestate.com.au wife, he will do anything to be King. Grab your tickets quick for this one – from $39 at www.calaiswines.com.au

Our Matilda range is made up of easy drinking styles that are produced for your enjoyment.

Come Waltzing with Matilda... 205 Gillards Road, Pokolbin • PH 4998 7887 www.constableestate.com.au

DON’T WASTE TIME GETTING LOST! The MAP is the most comprehensive map of Wine Country and the ONLY Map listing ALL Cellar Doors, Restaurants and Providores divided into handy to use Wine Trails. It’s your expert tour guide!

5 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv


Hunter Valley Wedding & Wine Festival Oaks Cypress Lakes, Pokolbin

SUN 23 FEB Wedding season is still in full swing throughout Wine Country, so why not enjoy another wedding festival – or even better, a Wedding and Wine Festival! Oaks Cypress Lakes are doing just that. Be spoilt for choice in every avenue of wedding planning – indulge in picturesque locations, local wines, fine jewellery and delicious food vendors, oh and of course there’s plenty of kids activities to keep the little ones busy! To keep up with the latest information visit www.hunterevents.net.au

2020 Crush Party Oakvale Wines, Pokolbin

A naturally beautiful experience in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country The Gardens are a place for the appreciation of nature and peaceful reflection…but they are also a place for families and fun. The ten individually themed gardens showcase the artistry of gardens around the world and use both native and exotic varieties of plants. Enjoy a beautiful nature based experience for local, national and international visitors.

SAT 22 FEB Hunter Valley harvest will be in full swing come February, and what better way to celebrate than with Oakvale Wines’ annual Crush Party. Spend a day with the Oakvale team as they take you through the life of a winemaker during harvest. You’ll get to do some grape picking, sorting and stomping – followed by a hearty banquet lunch in the vineyard. Enjoy live music, fun in the sun and all your Oakvale favourites by the glass. The event will run all day from 10.30am– 4.30pm. Tickets are $148 pp for members and $185 pp non-

members. This event is limited so you’ll need to be quick – call 4998 7088 to secure your spot. Visit www.oakvalewines.com.au for more information.


DATE: 10 - 13 April th


Join Hunter Valley Gardens Giant Easter Egg Hunt! Every child will receive a gift of Easter chocolate at the completion of the hunt.

MEGA CREATURES DATE: 10 th - 26 th April

Come and see all of your favourite dinosaurs, dragons and creepy crawlies! Plus, new for 2020 we will have a flying Pterosaur and animatronic Brachiosaurus.

For more details visit hvg.com.au 02 4998 4000 - Broke Rd Pokolbin *Guided garden tours are user pay. Gardens open from 9am – 5pm daily. Admission charges apply. Rides are only open during event periods.

yhv 6 | FEB-MAR 2020

Bimbadgen Estate, Pokolbin SAT 29 FEB Returning to the Land Down-Under for the first time in 34 years, A-ha will be taking to the stage at Bimbadgen Estate for a day on the green. The Norwegian trio climbed their way to the top of the charts back in the 1980’s with hits like Hunting High and Low and of course, cult classic Take On Me, both continuing to be very popular to this day. Joining them in Wine Country are Pseudo Echo, I Know Leopard and Rick Astley, all performing their biggest hits! For more information and tickets visit www.adayonthegreen.com.au

Dubs by the Lake

Lake Liddell Recreation Park, Muswellbrook

High Cheese

Two Fat Blokes, Pokolbin EVERY SUNDAY It’s the High Tea of your cheesy dreams! Two Fat Blokes has created the ultimate foodies experience every Sunday at 2pm featuring four courses of cheesy goodness. To top off the experience, bottomless bubbles is included. Your four incredible courses may include some of the following – triple cream brie in filo pastry served with quince paste and grissini; poached pear with duetto and walnuts topped with honeycomb; beetroot and goats cheese terrine; crispy mac n' cheese balls; cranberry and cheddar vol-au-vont with rhubarb compote; mushroom and halloumi sliders with relish on a pumpkin and poppyseed bun; apple strudel parfait; Portuguese tart with creamy ricotta and orange custard; whiskey and marmalade labna cheese cake with a crumbly biscuit base. If those don’t get your tastebuds going, we don’t know what would! Tickets are $75 pp, including bottomless bubbles. Visit the events tab at twofatblokes.rezdy.com to book.

Elvis in the Vines

Ben Ean Winery, Pokolbin SAT 29 FEB The Heaven and Earth Legends Tribute Show is coming to Ben Ean! This multi MO award winning show brings the likes of Dusty Springfield, Connie Francis, Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley back to the stage, complete with great food and wine from Ben Ean. Tickets are $100 pp, which include canapés on arrival, dinner, dessert and show. Visit www.trybooking.com to grab your tickets.

SAT 29 FEB + SUN 1 MAR After the success of last year's event, Dubs by the Lake is back for a second time, and set to be bigger and better. This VW car show held at Lake Liddell is like no other, inviting VW owners and lovers far and wide to join in the fun. There will be a huge range of fun activities for all, including a VW car cruise, grass events, a limbo event, show and shine, live music, fireworks, laser tag, rock wall, disc golf, go-karts plus loads more. Camping is available for the whole weekend, or visit for one day – it's up to you! All money raised from this charity event will be going straight to Westpac Rescue Helicopter. To keep up to date with the event visit the Dubs by the Lake Facebook page.

Hunter Valley

Wine Country’s Native Wildlife Sanctury Lovedale’s Hill Top Farm Stay Spectacular Valley Views • Riding over 300 acres Trail Rides for Adults and Children, for Beginners and Experienced Riders Personalised Rides • Marriage Proposals • Weddings on Horseback Pony Rides • Pony Parties • Family Rides • Sunset Rides • Picnic Rides • BBQ Tractor Hay Rides to Feed the Farm Animals Peddle Go Karts for Ages 5 – 99 Years Ask About our ATV Tours to the Top of the Range

For Bookings Phone Margaret on 4930 7111 or 0417 233 008 Stay & Play at Hilltop 288 Talga Road, Lovedale So close to all of Wine Country’s attractions, yet you feel a million miles away..

Located at Gartelmann Wines. The Deck Café Lovedale provides a diverse and delightful menu complemented by Gartelmann Wines and Piazza Doro Coffee. Open 7 Days for Breakfast and Lunch. Mon to Fri 8.30am till 3pm, Sat and Sun 8am till 3.30pm.

www.deckcafelovedale.com.au 7 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

MARCH Morpeth Gallery Events


Throughout Morpeth


Broke Village Market At McNamara Park MARCH 1

Singleton Sunday Markets

At Townhead Park, Singleton MARCH 8

Kurri Kurri Community Markets At Rotary Park, Kurri Kurri MARCH 14

Handmade in The Hunter Markets At Kevin Sobels Wines MARCH 7, 14, 21 + 28

Vintage Lunch

Hope Estate, Pokolbin SUN 1 MAR Hope Estate are hosting their annual Vintage celebration full of food, wine, music and dancing. Be spoilt for choice with their awardwinning wines paired with a fourcourse lunch prepared by acclaimed chef Nichol Papandreou, and what better place to enjoy it than in the Great Cask Hall. You can also enjoy a wine masterclass where you can sample old favourites and cheers to the 2020 Vintage. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. You can find tickets and more information at www.hopeestate.com.au

SUN 1 MAR Morpeth Motorama is a free event which is held on the grounds of Closebourne House (365 Morpeth Road, Morpeth) between 8pm–2pm. All collectable cars – old, new and everything in-between are welcome ($10 per car entry), with trophies being awarded in over 20 categories. SUN 8 MAR Got some old coins and notes that might be worth something? Why not take them down to Morpeth Anique Centre between 10am–3pm to the Free Coin & Banknote Valuations event and get them appraised by experts. Coins and notes will be on display at the event with dealers buying and selling. SAT 14 + SUN 15 MAR Immerse yourself in local talent as you wander through the Festival of Two Palettes held at Morpeth Galley between 10am–2pm. One artist will be painting with fire and soot – you don't want to miss this! (See page 17). There's always something happening at Morpeth Gallery – for more information on these events and more visit www.morpethgallery.com


Experience a delightful day out at Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village. Sample local wines, treat yourself to sweets galore or a relaxing meal in our beautiful garden surrounds. Enjoy your next day out with great food and bespoke shops, by visiting us in the heart of the Hunter Valley! huntervalleygardensshopping.com.au Broke Rd Pokolbin -

EMMA’S COTTAGE VINEYARD · CELLAR DOOR & GALLERY: Wed–Fri 11am–4pm, Sat & Sun 10am–5pm RESTAURANT TREY: Wed–Sun 11.30am to 3pm, Fri & Sat 5pm–10pm. Bookings: 8328 0503 438 Wilderness Road, Lovedale 2320 · Ph (02) 4998 7734 · www.emmascottage.com.au

yhv 8 | FEB-MAR 2020

Stomp! 2020

Stomp! Wines, Lovedale SAT 7 MAR Take a fun, educational look at the life of a Winemaker with Stomp! Wines during vintage. Your day will include squishing, measuring, stomping and feasting, all in true winemaker style. You’ll measure grape ripeness, sample juices and ferments, blend and taste, learn the art of pigeage, and also create your own stomped t-shirt as a keepsake. What’s more, local favourite Chef Matt Dillow from The Deck Café will be cooking up a relaxing alfresco lunch. There will be live tunes by Mark Henderson and you can enjoy a glass of wine (or two). Tickets are $25 pp or $100 pp for members (and up to 4 guests). Visit www.stompwines.com.au

Back to Singleton 2020 Singleton

FRI 13–SUN 15 MAR According to historical documents, 2020 will mark 200 years since the naming of St Patrick’s Plains, now known as Singleton. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a frequent

visitor, this community-focused event is an opportunity to learn more about the area, reflect on the people past and present who create the community and look forward to the opportunities of the future of Singleton. Events include; Singleton Homecoming Street Party on March 13, 6pm– 11pm on John Street; Singleton Day Out on March 14, a family friendly event 11am–4pm on the Civic Centre Green; and the Singleton Soiree Old Time Glamour Cocktail Party also on March 14, 6pm–11pm at the Civic Centre. To find out more about each event visit www.singleton.nsw.gov.au/861

Wine Machine

Roche Estate, Pokolbin SAT 14 MAR Wine Machine is a full-bodied day of wine, food and live music, showcasing both the splendour of our nation’s most picturesque wine regions and the spectacular music artists borne from Australian soil. The Hunter Valley is welcoming back Wine Machine for the fourth year and is sure to include a firey lineup – details yet to be announced, so stay tuned! Tickets are from $79, with return buses running from Newcastle, Gosford and Sydney at an extra cost. For more information visit www.wine-machine.com

Hunter Valley Resort Corner Hermitage Road & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin (02) 49987777 sales@HunterResort.com.au www.HunterResort.com.au

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Robertson Brothers 60’s Variety TV Show

Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock SAT 14 MAR Relive the good old days with Australia’s very own multi-award-winning harmony duo the Robertson Brothers, with special guest Simon Brook McLachlan – from the original cast of the hit musical Jersey Boys. Hits by The Seekers, The Everly Brothers, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Bee Gees and Neil Sedaka will be heard on stages across the country as these leading music talents join forces for a national tour like no other. In an incredible interactive Variety TV style show, be led through the glorious melodies of well-known 60’s icons that have been carefully and meticulously re-created. Together with a live band, much-loved hits will come alive on stage that will take you back to a nostalgic time. For tickets visit www.cessnockperformingartscentre.com.au


Tintilla Estate Long Lunch Tintilla Estate, Pokolbin

SAT 28 MAR Tintilla Estate's Long Lunches are very popular – it's the ultimate gourmet food and wine experience! Due to popular demand, the French Provincial Long Lunch is on again this March, with a 4-course meal and wines to match. Why not get a group together and celebrate the start of Autumn in the beautiful grounds of Tintilla Estate. Bookings are essential as numbers are limited. Email info@tintilla.com.au or phone 6574 7093 to book. www.tintilla.com.au

Re-Discover Mortels

Daily Factory Tours Mon–Fri 11am – No bookings required

SAT 18 – SUN 19 APRIL Steamfest is one of the Hunter’s most loved events, attracting massive crowds annually since 1986. Steamfest is a celebration of the Hunter’s industrial heritage, hosting an impressive collection of antique machinery, cars and of course the main show – steam trains. An exciting array of activities is on the program this year, all family friendly. Maitland Station is the centre of the event with merchandise, kids rides and the main stage – it’s also the best vantage point to see all the vintage steam and diesel trains pull into the station. Nearby Church Street is where you will find all the markets, with a collection of over 100 stalls. For more information visit www.steamfest.com.au



Located 2.5km from the end of the M1 1 Weakleys Drive, Thornton. Open 7 Days Visit www.mortels.com.au for more information

Home of the Big UGG Boots · Factory Tours · Shop · Café · Museum

olives, olives, olives Come visit us for a range of Estate Grown Olives, Tapenade and local olive oils or a Cheese platter on the deck with a glass of wine

725 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin Hunter Valley www.tintilla.com.au #tintillaestate yhv 10 | FEB-MAR 2020

A POP-TASTIC EVENT Not to be Missed! Pop icons a-ha return for their first Australian tour in 34 years this month when they perform alongside special guest, Rick Astley. The Norwegian trio, who dominated pop charts worldwide during the ’80s, are celebrating the 35th anniversary of their hugely influential debut album Hunting High And Low and will be performing the classic album in full as well as other favourites from across their career. Selling more than 11 million copies worldwide, it includes the unforgettable Take On Me, which reached number one on the Australian charts, as well as follow-up hits The Sun Always Shines On TV, Train Of Thought and the title track. a-ha – singer Morten Harket, keyboardist Mags Furuholmen and guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy – have sold more than 55 million albums and remain one of the UK and Europe's most loved pop bands, regularly playing stadiums and festivals. However, they have not ventured to Australian shores since 1986.

“Australia was the country we played our first ever live concerts and was our first brush with worldwide fame. It was a thrilling adventure to be there on the opposite side of the world and it’s a thrill to return in 2020. Finally, we will be back where it all started!” said Mags Furuholmen. Still so unique decades on, the unforgettable music video for Take On Me won six MTV Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, was nominated for Grammy and American Music Awards and is approaching one billion views on YouTube. It’s been covered by artists as diverse as Metallica, Madonna and Tori Amos, and most recently Weezer and performed with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on “The Tonight Show”. Joining a-ha to make this one poptastic event not to be missed is another superstar who dominated the ’80s, Rick Astley and synth-pop stars Pseudo Echo and I Know Leopard. Rick Astley is also enjoying a major career resurgence. The British star has sold more than 40 million albums fuelled by hits like Never Gonna Give You Up, Whenever You Need Somebody and Together Forever to name a few. In 2016 Rick’s album 50 was released to mark his milestone birthday and became his first UK number one since his 1987 debut album. With a career spanning four decades and a treasure trove of pop hits, secure your spot now for a-ha’s first Australian tour in 34 years. Together with very special guest Rick Astley, they have created the pop soundtrack to countless lives, and this promises to be a highlight on the summer concert calendar. For more information visit www.adayonthegreen.com.au


Boutique Hunter Win es

A Trio of Whites Experience Indulgence at Esca Bimbadgen Nick Samaras, Esca Bimbadgen Executive Chef and his team have created a menu showcasing the abundance of local produce at our doorstep. You can also relax in our Tuscan inspired courtyard with Bimbadgen’s wood fired pizza – dine in or takeaway. Pizza Café 12pm–4pm Mon to Thurs; 12pm–8pm Fri to Sun. Esca 7 days from 12pm; Dinner Fri & Sat from 6pm. Bookings are recommended.

NEW RELEASE! This complex late disgorged Blanc de Blancs spent almost 5 years on lees. The result is a fine bead and creamy textured palate with classic toasty characteristics. Taste it today!

790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. Phone 4998 4666 www.bimbadgen.com.au

2 Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin Cellar Door open for tastings Thurs - Mon, 10am - 4pm www.kelmanvineyard.com.au Small groups welcome - call 02 4991 5456

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Mamma Mia


Set in the heart of Wine Country, Pokolbin Estate is the perfect location to say ‘I do’ in 2020. Celebrate your special day amongst the picturesque vines and dance the night away in the 1889 Circa Sandstone Cellar Door while enjoying award-winning wines. The expert team at Pokolbin Estate will meet your every need, so you can create lasting memories in the Hunter Valley!

It’s time to treat yourself! Pop into Bimbadgen for their delicious woodfire pizzas! Relax in the Tuscan inspired courtyard with a glass of wine and take in the spectacular views from under the vine-covered pergola. Executive Chef Nick Samaras has created a menu featuring the classics and modern twists we know you will love. Plus, every Friday enjoy some Italian drinks from 3pm till 6pm for only $5 See you there! WHERE 790 McDonald’s Road, Pokolbin PH 4998 4666 www.bimbadgen.com.au

WHERE 298 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin PH 4998 7524 www.pokolbinestate.com.au

The Mill Restaurant Brokenback Bar

$20 DAILY SPECIAL + a glass of Thomas Wines or Murrays Craft Beer $5

Accommodation Events Weddings Conferences Cooking Schools Food Wine Takeaway

Casual Dining OPEN 7 DAYS Mon to Fri 11.30am till Late Weekends 11am till Late

4998 7288 www.estatetuscany.com.au

l l i M The ant Restaur


yhv 12 | FEB-MAR 2020


Luncheon Special Friday, Saturday and Sunday $50.00 2 Course & $60.00 3 Course with a glass of Thomas Wines


The Choice is Yours! Nestled on 70 secluded acres, Hunter Resort is the ultimate place to stay, play, taste and relax in the picturesque Hunter Valley. With so much to experience all at one place, you will never want to leave! From Wine School, Cooking Classes, Segway Tours to cooling off and enjoying a cold one at Matilda Bay Brewhouse, there is something for everyone. With weekend and concert packages available, this is the perfect time to experience everything Wine Country has to offer! WHERE Corner Hermitage Road & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin PH 4998 7222 www.hunterresort.com.au


NEW HOT-SPOT In the Valley

Did you know that there is a new dining destination hidden from view on Wilderness Road in Lovedale at Emma’s Cottage Vineyard? Restaurant Trey run by local chef Bryce Reynolds is now open for lunch, Wednesday through Sunday, and dinner, Friday and Saturday. Pop in and try some of their delicious dishes plus, while you are there taste their amazing boutique wines that are made from 30-year old estate grown vines. WHERE 438 Wilderness Road, Lovedale OPEN Restaurant Trey opening hours: Wed – Sun 11.30am to 3pm, Fri and Sat 5pm – 10pm PH 8328 0503 www.emmascottage.com.au

Open daily 9 am - 5 pm except Christmas Day. 358 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320 Let us know you’re coming! 02 4998 4200 or www.Tamburlaine.com.au 13 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Photo credit: Wendy Seckold

TRADITION & HERITAGE IN BEAUTIFUL The Cellar Restaurant delivers modern contemporary Australian cuisine, utilising local and seasonal quality ingredients. Dine in our indoor garden setting or outside in the courtyard.

Try our NEW Summer menu!

A NIGHT IN THE VILL AGE Every second Wednesday of the month from 8/1/2020

Join us and the Hunter's newest Chefs for a night of food, wine and fun that you’re sure to remember. Choose from an impressive 2 or 3 course tasting menu. BYO encouraged or choose from our extensive wine menu. Located at Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village, Broke Road Pokolbin • Phone 4998 7584 Lunch from 12pm Mon – Sun; Dinner from 6pm Mon – Sat

www.the-cellar-restaurant.com.au yhv 14 | FEB-MAR 2020


King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge showcases the traditional skills of Australian Stockmen and women through an exciting and intense competition over four days. Competitors accumulate points for cattle work, pack-horse work, bareback riding, target whip-cracking, horseshoeing, and cross country jumping. Then finalists further display their skill and courage in catching and leading a wild horse and riding a buckjumper, to determine who will be the next King of the Ranges. Throughout the King of the Ranges event, the Bush Festival program features a host of traditional and entertaining activities including fun competitions, displays of horsemanship, demonstrations of bushcraft, live music, great food and good old fashioned country hospitality. The King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival offers something for all the family. Enjoy this celebration of Australian bush skills, tradition and heritage in beautiful Murrurundi the "Crown of the Hunter" at the foot of the Liverpool Ranges where the New England Highway leaves the Hunter Valley to cross the Great Dividing Range. The KOTR Challenge and Festival will also incorporate the Indigenous Stockmen Program. In 2015 KOTR initiated a program aimed at assisting young Aboriginal stockmen from Northern Australia to develop skills and experiences which may benefit their careers. While small in capacity, this program has been successful enabling recipients to travel to the Upper Hunter and spend time under the guidance of experienced KOTR Committee members, practise specific skills required to compete on a Stockman’s Challenge and participate in a range of experiences to increase confidence and further their allround development. Partnering with the Aboriginal Development Benefits Trust, KOTR has had considerable success from the mentoring program. Previous recipient, Stewart Foster returned to Murrurundi for the 2019 Challenge where he competed with credit. Following the KOTR Event, Stewart took up a position with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association as a Field Officer on the “Real Jobs Program” and has really enjoyed the past 12 months travelling to various Cattle Stations and mentoring young people in the pastoral industry. The Committee looks forward to welcoming some new young recipients of the Program in 2020. The King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge and Bush Festival will be held from 27 February through until 1 March in Murrurundi (Upper Hunter). For more information visit www.kingoftheranges.com.au

Meet the Maker


When Nancy Galea went to a ceramics class with friends in Sydney during 2016, she never dreamed the short wheel throwing course would lead to anything more than a few quirky clay creations. But it turned out to be a case of love at first throw for the now passionate potter, who in less than three years has turned a fun hobby into a burgeoning business. “We had a blast, and I got hooked straight away, I ended up repeating the course for the whole year and then decided I needed my own wheel,” Nancy said. “Before I knew it everyone was getting pottery for Christmas and there was still some left over, so I decided to start selling it. “Once we moved to Newcastle in 2018 I found a second-hand kiln and production really ramped up. Now I am able to create to my heart’s content.” Fancy Nancy Ceramics officially kicked off in December 2017, creating functional pieces with a focus on basic forms and eye-catching glazes. Nancy’s range includes everything from bowls and coffee mugs to wine glasses and chip and dip platters.

“Each clay, glaze and technique has its own texture, and I wanted to make pieces that people wanted to pick up, touch, experience and use every day,” Nancy said. “Anything really can inspire me; usually it’s a mistake that’ll inspire me the most because I can physically see how the piece is going to end up and can continue down that road. “I have a favourite mug that I made when I lived in Sydney; it is made using a technique that I don’t have access to in Newcastle at the moment. The handle isn’t very comfortable and the lip is quite thick, but it’s always the first mug to be picked from the cupboard. It reminds me how far I’ve come in a short time and all the progress I still want to make as an artist.” Nancy has been selling her products at the Handmade in the Hunter markets since the beginning of last year and is looking forward to ramping things up in her business in 2020. “Up until now Fancy Nancy Ceramics has just been a hobby that I did in my spare time,” she said. “This year, I have made the choice to take ceramics a bit more seriously and have gone part-time at my day job to dedicate more time to my small business. I’m very excited to see where I can take this little business of mine now that I can dedicate a bit more time to it.” Check out Fancy Nancy Ceramics at this month’s Handmade in the Hunter Markets, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines from 9am to 3pm on March 7, 14, 21 and 28.

“Largest beer range

Massive Wine Sale at The Garden Cellars $50 cases and $144 cases

in the valley!”

Come in and visit the ‘Tunnel of Beer’. Stocked to the brim with delicious brews from around the world.

alley Hunter V nter u Wine, H odka V y r e Distill beer and craft able ail v a tastings ! y il a d



You will find us at Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village Broke Road, Pokolbin OPEN 7 DAYS 10am - 5.30pm | PH 4998 7466 www.gardencellars.com.au

15 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

THE HUNTER'S Hidden Gem Running Horse Wines WORDS Quentin von Essen What’s a weekend in the Hunter Valley without finding that special place that we then take great pleasure in sharing with the world – flooding Instagram and Facebook accounts as we enthusiastically rave about our new find? While the Hunter Valley is not short of beautiful scenery, wonderful wineries and unique wine – there is now a fascinating and ultra-cool cellar door located in the picturesque hamlet of Broke that is in a word – unique! Ex-jockey turned winemaker, David Fromberg opened his cellar door for his Running Horse Wines label in 2018 – almost two decades after he first planted vines on his family’s 56-acre property at Broke. With such a beautiful landscape around him, David knew his cellar door had to be something special so that visitors could appreciate and

experience the wonderful views while enjoying his wine. Designed by friend and architect David Kaunitz, the cellar door was constructed using six large stacked shipping containers that have been artfully repurposed with extensive use of glass to open them up to the surrounding landscape. On entering the cellar door, the interior is equally as impressive with timber, glass, copper and steel featuring prominently, with a mass display of wine bottles creating an eye-catching feature along the one wall. The true centrepiece of the space, however, is a gleaming glass-topped bar, with a series of light panels that help to showcase the colour and clarity of the wine being tasted. What’s most striking about Running Horse Wines, however, is what’s in the bottles. David is one of the few vignerons in the region specialising in aged wines, with his range including varieties of Semillon, Verdelho, Rosé and Shiraz. “You can go through hundreds of cellar doors and never get to look at a range of wines that are so different,” David said. “At the cellar door, we offer vertical tastings of wines that are 12–14 years old and are still drinking wonderfully but have real bottle-aged characteristics. Semillons that are 14 years old that still look like they’re six years old, or Verdelho's that are the same, they just age fantastically well." The uniqueness of the building and quality of the wines at Running Horse Wines is not lost on travel review sites such as Trip Advisor which has given Running Horse Wines a 100% "excellent" review rating with comments that include "Best Wine in the Hunter Region", "Unique Tasting Room and a Wonderful Host", "Best Cellar Door", "The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had at a Cellar Door" and "We Love Dave!" Discover what everyone is talking about – it truly is a remarkable place to sit and enjoy some fantastic wines. For more information visit www.runninghorsewines.com.au


7 Days, 10am - 5pm 1686 Broke Road, Pokolbin Hunter Valley PH (02) 4998 6737 • info@hunterdistillery.com.au www.hunterdistillery.com.au yhv 16 | FEB-MAR 2020

RUNNING HORSE WINES The most unique cellar door in Broke... A must visit! Specialising in Aged Wines


Emerge from Ashes Here’s something you probably haven’t seen before! When you visit Morpeth Gallery over the weekend of 14 and 15 March you can experience ‘Fire-Painting,’ when artist Maegan Oberhardt from Victoria will demonstrate this unique method of art known as fumage, which was created by cavemen and has since been used by Salvador Dali. The artist uses candles, wood and a blow torch, dancing the flames across a drawing to put carbon soot onto the image. Then, the artist uses various instruments, brushes, stones, knives and steel objects to remove parts of the carbon. Eventually, a portrait emerges from the carbon footprint left behind from the flame. The originals are always mounted under glass with matting as a safety margin. The delicate and lengthy process of painting with fire results in unique artworks that feature birds, animals and insects such as butterflies. The dark images are created from swirls of black and grey soot. It’s truly fascinating to watch as Maegan holds a flame close to the image that she has drawn on her thick artist paper – and lets the fire blacken patterns onto the surface. She then adds in extra details using a paintbrush to create the intricate portraits. “The soot lays on the surface of the thick paper. It is very fragile at that point in the process - so fragile that an insect could walk on the surface and it would leave their trace. I can then scratch the surface by just touching it with various types of tools. I like using real feathers to draw feathers when I am working on a bird,” said Maegan. Maegan says that the process is only as dangerous as having a candle-lit dinner: “For me, spontaneity and chance are what make my creative process effective," she added. There is something almost otherworldly about Maegan’s Fire Art – check out her YouTube video to get an idea of the process and watch her at work with fire and soot. Then visit the gallery to see her artworks displayed on the Morpeth Gallery Walls (her works will also be for sale). Maegan will be in residence at Morpeth Gallery, 10am until 5pm on March 14 and 15. Entry is Free. You can find Morpeth Gallery at 175 Swan St, Morpeth. The gallery is open from 10am until 5pm, Thursdays through to Sundays and has free entry.

Running Horse Wines cellar door provides a new look and experience to the Hunter wine region. We at Running Horse Wines have been ageing our entire range of wines and have amassed an impressive, unique and true age worthy wine list that will take you on an adventurous ride to an unprecedented tasting experience. The opportunity to taste and buy wines from 2005 to 2012, and also now just releasing the 2014 vintage, is very rare. Our classic aged range is comprising of the Hunter’s finest Shiraz, Semillon, Verdelho, Rosé and a Sparkling Rosé also being aged on lees for 6 years! Running Horse Wines is open every day from 10am to 6pm. From Monday to Thursday, please do not hesitate to call and confirm arrival as these hours can fluctuate.

1133 Milbrodale Road, Broke Fordwich PH David on 0474 156 786 www.runninghorsewines.com.au 17 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

From Member to Owner At Saddler’s Creek Wines Every year at least one business marks a milestone in the Hunter Valley and this year is no exception with one of our favourite wineries, Saddler’s Creek hailing its 30th year as one of wine countries preeminent producers. This month we caught up with Brett Woodward, Winemaker to find out a little about the history of Saddler’s Creek Wines. What is the history of Saddler’s Creek Wines – how did the winery come about? Our story began in 1990, when two friends with a passion for fine wine and a serious love of horses, established Saddler's Creek Wines, naming their wine label after a little creek located in the Upper Hunter Valley. Then, five years ago, Saddler's Creek was purchased by a long-time Saddler’s Creek Club Equus member Frank Laureti, wife Wendy and brother Serge Laureti. What inspired Frank to convert his membership to ownership? Building upon the wineries Hunter heritage of premium Semillon releases, Saddler’s Creek developed what would later become our flagship Bluegrass Collection. Frank was introduced to Bluegrass Cabernet Sauvignon through a friend and subsequently took up a Saddler's Club Equus membership which he enjoyed for over ten years.

He loved the stuff so much that, in a Victor Kiam' moment (he of Remington Shaver fame), Frank purchased the winery lock, stock and barrel – literally! That’s a big commitment to make; it was apparently a brand he had a lot of faith in! Frank concedes that buying into the wine business was a romantic notion, but says you do some things for work and some things for love and good friends, good food and of course great wine are among life’s great pleasures. This year also marks five of years the Laureti’s family ownership of Saddler’s Creek Wines. Did Frank and his brother have any previous experience in making (rather than tasting) wine? Producing wine is in the Laureti brother’s blood. Frank and Serge’s father, Alessandro Laureti produced wine in Italy before migrating with his wife Maria to Australia in the 1950's. Frank says that wine has long been part of his family’s culture and that while growing up there was never a meal without a glass of wine.

Visit Saddler's Creek Wines and receive a complimentary souvenir wine glass and wine tasting valued at $20.


WINE GLASS & TASTING! 15 Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin | Open 7 days 10am-5pm | 02 4991 1770 Present this ad at Cellar Door to receive offer, valid until 31/03/20. One per person.

yhv 18 | FEB-MAR 2020

What celebrations will take place at the winery this year to celebrate two special anniversaries? To mark Saddler's Creek's 30th anniversary, and the fifth anniversary for the Lauretti family, we've released a Diamond Edition Alessandro and Maria Reserve Collection. These premium single vineyard wines will be released exclusively in our Hunter Valley Cellar Door and to our Club Equus members. This collection recognises a man for his principles in keeping life simple. He believed in working hard, with passion and delighted in time spent with family and friends, all the while enjoying the pleasures of good food and great wine. The collection is produced from hand-selected parcels of the finest quality fruit. Select parcels were set aside and made in small batches to highlight the unique characteristics of the varietal and the individual terroir of the region. Pristine fruit, a gentle hand and the finest oak gives finesse, flavour and longevity. These wines are crafted for sharing and celebrating the Laureti way!

You can find Saddler’s Creek Wines and taste their premium quality wines at 15 Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin (open 7 days 10am to 5pm and until 7pm on Fridays throughout daylight savings). For more information visit www.saddlerscreekwines.com.au

Hunter Valley

Chocolate Company EST. 1999



CHEESEMAKING CLASSES New The Craft and the Art of Making Cheese at Home

2020 Dates

Discover Specialty Cheesemaking under the guidance and expertise of Artisan Cheesemaker David Bower and Affinuer and Fromagier Rosalia Lambert in an educational 2.5 hour workshop. You will learn the process from start to finish, plus cheese origins, ingredients, ripening principles, milk quality, ageing and more in a Cheese Tasting Appreciation and Wine Matching session. Your cheese will be yours to take home, along with recipes to enjoy with family and friends.

2020 WORKSHOPS 29th March | 28th June 27th September | 6th December Bookings are required. Private Classes for 10+ by arrangement. Contact us for more information or to book!

Located in the heart of Pokolbin, Hunter Valley Chocolate Company has been a family owned and operated Hunter Valley gem for the last twenty years. Indulge in the ultimate chocolate experience, with a tantalising range of premium hand-made chocolate and chocolate products plus more than 30 flavours of freshly made fudge!

Open 7 Days 9am – 5pm. Ph 4998 6999 Three Great Locations in Pokolbin: Twenty-3-Twenty – 2320 Broke Road Peterson House – Broke Road Hunter Valley Gardens – Shop 5, HVG, Broke Road

www.hvchocolate.com.au | admin@hvchocolate.com.au

ARTISAN AUSTRALIAN CHEESEMAKERS Located at Mcguigan Wine Complex, 447 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. PH 4998 7744 E contact@huntervalleycheese.com.au


19 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Little Patch of Dirt Becomes Family's


WORDS Michelle Meehan

It’s been three decades since Darren, and Tracey Scott started coming to the Hunter Valley to indulge in their passion for wine tasting, and 20 years since they decided to create their own.

But after buying a picturesque 40-acre Pokolbin property in 2000, they have worked tirelessly to create one of the Hunter’s premium boutique wine, food and accommodation destinations – RidgeView. Establishing a wine label from scratch is not exactly an easy enterprise, especially when you’re squeezing it in between working your day job as a dentist (Darren) and raising a family of four young children. Not surprisingly, it’s been a long road for the Scotts, both in the daunting number of kilometres they have travelled over the years from their family home in Sydney to their burgeoning enterprise in the Hunter, and the massive transformations that have been wrought on their “little patch of dirt”. “We haven’t moved to the Hunter, but rather made the Hunter our second home (for now),” Darren said. “My wife and I have always had a passion for wine and frequently travelled to the Valley during the late 80's and 90's.

yhv 20 | FEB-MAR 2020

“When we established our brood of four, we decided in 2000 to buy a patch of dirt. “The biggest challenge in the early years was time... everything takes much longer than you expect, especially when it is a part-time gig trying to build and establish a vineyard.” The “building” process began soon after the Scotts took ownership of ‘Ironbark Estate’ as it was known at the time, renaming it ‘RidgeView’ in honour of the property’s spectacular views and its location on one of the highest points in Sweetwater Ridge Estate. With the support of a group of close friends, the Scotts embarked on the daunting task of transforming the 40-hectare timber property into a vineyard with 22 acres of selected vines, four self-contained cottages as well as a cellar door and restaurant. The process of preparing the soil, planting, training and pruning vines during that first year showed the Scotts just how much hard work was going to be required to turn their dream into a reality. But the toughness of the task failed to dampen their enthusiasm for the end goal, and by 2001 they had established a 22-acre (nine-hectare) vineyard and built the first two of what would eventually be four tranquil self-contained cottages. In the years that followed, they continued to develop and expand their operations on the site, with further infrastructure established before the sparkling in-ground swimming pool was put in for use by guests in 2004. The destinations’ recreational credentials continued to expand the following year, with guests gaining the option to relax with a spot of

tennis on-site before further vineyards were established in 2006 and the remaining two cottages were added between 2007 and 2008. Production of the first few vintages of RidgeView wines was well underway by this time, although the start to the whole winemaking process was less than ideal. The first Shiraz and Chambourcin grapes were harvested from the vines in 2004, with the wet vintage forcing them to hand-pick and transport all the fruit from the vineyard as the ground was too soggy to use tractors. When harvest rolled around in 2005 following a hot, dry summer that ripened the fruit to perfection, Ridgeview’s vineyard was nearly at full production, with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Verdelho and Chardonnay joining their original Shiraz and Chambourcin grapes. New varieties continued to be added to the mix in the following years with the aim of producing premium, 100 per cent Hunter Valley wines that are approachable while young, yet develop character with careful cellaring. That aim was soon earning RidgeView plenty of positive feedback on the wine show circuit, with their 2006 “Generations” Reserve Shiraz being awarded Best Young Shiraz at the 2009 NSW Wine Awards. RidgeView’s wines have continued to earn industry distinction over the years, making an impression on everyone from industry show judges to esteemed wine critics such as James Halliday. Darren said two main elements set RidgeView wines apart – their strong terroir, as well as the commitment to chemical-free production processes.

“We make wines from seven varieties including Pinot Gris and our wines are very much ‘Hunter Valley’,” Darren said. “As James Halliday says, our 2017 Impressions Shiraz ‘screams Hunter’. “Great wines ultimately come from great vineyards. We believe that the wines we make are reflective of the preparation made to the soils and the viticultural practices carried out in the vineyard, with attention given to Integrated Pest Management (IPM). “This means no unnecessary spraying against pests and diseases. “There is a natural biodiversity within the vineyard, and this is reflected in the quality of the fruit and the resultant wines.

We have won over 700 medals and more than 20 trophies for our wines.

“For example, the 2019 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show results were five trophies for four wines, including ‘Best Classic Hunter Valley Red’ for 2017 Impressions Shiraz. “We also won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals.” In 2010 RidgeView achieved another milestone when the property’s stunning new cellar door and 110-seat restaurant were opened. Ideally positioned to make the most of the views over Little Gully Vineyard running up the ridge, the cellar door and restaurant were (Continued next page) ►

21 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

The Scott Family (early years)

(Continued) faultlessly designed, with the building making clever use of space, light and materials to maximise the enjoyment offered by its marvellous location. The perfect addition to any wine tasting tour, Ridgeview has become a popular dining destination and wedding venue, with the family-orientated restaurant considered one of the best in the Hunter Valley. Favoured by locals and visitors with its emphasis on fresh seasonal local produce, a strong Mediterranean influence and carefully-selected food and wine pairing, the restaurant is run by a passionate and driven team. The restaurant’s seasonal menu is designed to make use of their onsite herb and vegetable garden and to entice the senses and enhance the flavour of their wines. For those who want to savour the RidgeView experience beyond their meal at the restaurant or tasting experience at the cellar door, the estate’s four gorgeous guest cottages provide a secluded oasis to escape and unwind. Nestled amongst majestic spotted gums and ironbark trees, and overlooking waterways surrounded by natural bushland and vineyard views, the cottages offer a luxurious range of self-contained accommodation, beautifully completed by RidgeView’s private guest facilities including the award-winning “infinity edge” swimming pool and tennis court. Perfectly spaced to give the guests of each cottage plenty of privacy, they include two king-sized one-bedroom cottages and two queen-sized two-bedroom cottages, which also feature a second bathroom each. Tastefully appointed with great attention to detail, the selfcontained accommodation features complete kitchens and undercover outdoor dining areas with barbecues, allowing you to make the most of the spectacular surrounds at every opportunity.

Perfect for a romantic weekend away, all four cottages have indoor spa baths and large two-person showers, while the luxurious king bedroom cottages also have an outdoor, undercover jacuzzi and sauna on the wraparound verandah. As a family-owned venue, it’s little wonder that RidgeView is an ideal destination for both young and old, with special events planned throughout the year that will keep the little ones happy while their parents indulge in some of the winery’s over-18 offerings. Upcoming


Specialising in artistic restoration and new works, Danish born René Rasmussen has the blacksmith’s skill to restore and recreate the style of yesteryear in many creative and varied forms.

~ Former blacksmith and farrier for the Queen of Denmark ~ Former blacksmith and farrier for Carlsberg breweries ~ Traditional Danish Family Blacksmiths since 1784

619A Medowie Road, Medowie Ph 4981 7174 | M 0402 190 835 E cosyiron@optusnet.com.au www.cosyiron.com.au yhv 22 | FEB-MAR 2020

The key to our success over the years has been the support of my wife, children and extended family, as well as hard work and determinationplus to make a mark and promote the region.”

events include a Kids’ Egg Hunt from 3pm on Easter Saturday (April 18), as well as a Kids’ Fun Day from 11am to 3pm on the Sunday of the June long weekend (June 7), featuring a petting zoo; kids eat free offer and more. Darren said family has always been at the heart of the venture, and he and Tracey are proud to have watched their four children, who were aged between five and 11 years when they bought the property, grow alongside and take a hands-on role in the development of RidgeView.

“There have been lots of proud moments over the years, but too many to mention,” he said. “I feel that all four of Tracey and my children being married and having their reception at RidgeView over the past nine years is very special. “The early days when all the extended family would come from interstate and intrastate for the June long weekend Billy Cart competition was also very special. “I still practice dentistry in Sydney and my son joined me in the practice more than three years ago. He is a keen farmer and is up every weekend working in the restaurant kitchen garden. “The key to our success over the years has been the support of my wife, children and extended family, as well as hard work and determination-plus to make a mark and promote the region.”■

Wines, Restaurant, Cottages, Weddings, Functions Family owned, Exclusively boutique vineyard, Trophy winning wines, Renowned food & hospitailty, Luxurious accommodation

23 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Ditch the Car-Keys! Stay {in} at


Lodge! WORDS Di von Essen

Hermitage Lodge is a multi-award-winning boutique hotel nestled on 10 hectares in the very heart of Hunter Valley wine country. Owned and operated by Noreen and Mark Gottaas, the hotel also boasts Il Cacciatore – a restaurant serving up Northern Italian inspired cuisine that is a firm favourite of locals and visitors alike. Mark and Noreen arrived back in Australia in 2002 after living abroad in Canada for 20 years and had the enviable task of deciding where to live, work and play and luckily for us the Hunter Valley was on the very top of their list. “Mark had worked for a couple in Canada managing their boutique hotel for four years when our family decided to return to Australia,” said Noreen. “They asked us to look for a property like theirs, and so we became partners. The Hunter Valley was always on top of our list, and the property we bought had everything we wanted as well as the opportunity to expand the business. That was almost 19 years ago!” Mark had hotel and restaurant experience, Noreen had many years of restaurant and kitchen administration experience; this combined experience was a perfect fit for Hermitage Lodge. “Every day is a new day and no two days are the same,” said Mark. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the accommodation and restaurant. We have very loyal hardworking staff, many of whom have been here for more than ten years. We have a lot of face to face time with our guests either during check-in, check out or when they

yhv 24 | FEB-MAR 2020

come into the restaurant. It's this personal interaction which our guests love… and the feedback we get is that they love the feel of the place. It makes the guest experience so much more memorable. “In fact, over the years, many guests have become firm friends after having stayed several times and becoming familiar with our family. They have watched our boys grow up and move on, and always inquire about their welfare.” The accommodation comprises twenty studios and suites (most with king beds), located on 10 hectares, and all rooms have decks overlooking the picturesque 1.6-hectare vineyard. Some rooms have spa baths, some have fireplaces, most are single storey, and one has a loft bedroom. The two-storey self-contained ‘Premier Suites’ even boast a jetted bathtub outside on the private upstairs deck looking down over the vineyard, while the beautiful ‘accessible’ suite has all requirements as well as an oval spa bathtub and fireplace in the separate living room. Either a cooked breakfast or a continental breakfast is available each day for guests when ordered the night before. This is delivered to the room where the guests can enjoy their meal on the deck overlooking the vineyard or watching the kangaroos grazing on the lawn or passing by. Perhaps the fact that guests can ditch the car keys and enjoy a true Hunter Valley experience, without having to go anywhere else is what has made Hermitage Lodge visitors come back time and time again. “Il Cacciatore has a great reputation, and almost all our guests dine with us while staying,” says Noreen. “Relaxing here is easy because you don’t really need to drive anywhere. The saltwater pool is a welcome relief on those hot days, and the complimentary on-site guest laundry is a hit with international travellers. We have the perfect location; cellar doors, concert venues, golf courses are all close by.” Il Cacciatore is one of those unique dining venues that you look forward to returning to time and again, and is by far one of the most central and most convenient spots in wine country to go for a meal. The restaurant has a welcoming and "homely" feel to it and is cleverly divided into three dining areas, which includes a spacious deck overlooking the reed-filled lake – just perfect for dining al-fresco on a warm evening. Adjacent to the restaurant is the guest lounge, complete

with plush sofas and an open fire for those colder evenings, and where diners can enjoy a pre-dinner drink or an after-dinner coffee and port. Noreen says that Il Cacciatore diners are not looking for cutting edge, fine-dining style food, they’re looking for a good honest flavoursome plate full of food. And that is delivered in droves. “For 27 years, Il Cacciatore has focused on bringing fresh Northern Italian cuisine to diners. It's still a firm favourite,” says Noreen. “When we took over the restaurant we increased the restaurant from 50 seats to 90 seats and added the deck. We have made many changes over the years but our food has remained consistently delicious. We have won silver at the National Restaurant and Catering Awards for Best Informal Italian for the past two years running.

This year we added to the Italian dining experience by introducing our Bottomless Brunch and Bubbles on weekends – an Italian style buffet brunch and our take-out pizzas are now available from noon daily. The restaurant continues to be open seven nights a week from 6pm for dinner, so we’re kept pretty busy.”

Noreen has held the role of Executive Chef for the last four years, co-ordinating the kitchen and creating seasonal menus. She has a great team of chefs; mostly from Argentina that are all passionate about preparing and cooking delicious food. “Many of our ingredients are sourced locally, our cheeses from both the Hunter Valley Cheese Company and Binnorie Dairy, Gelato from the Smelly Cheese Shop, Pukara Estate Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, Hunter Olives from Adina. The menu changes seasonally, featuring slow-cooked and hearty meals in the winter and lighter meals in the summer,” says Noreen.

When asked which dish is her favourite, Noreen can’t really decide! “The one dish that has been on the menu for the last 27 years is the Fettuccine Chicken Boscaiola, a creamy mushroom sauce with chicken and pancetta – it’s absolutely delicious, but the Chocolate Ravioli with Nutella filling, hazelnut gelato and white chocolate sauce has made a comeback in recent years,” she said. “Although our gnocchi dishes change seasonally, the housemade gnocchi remains very popular as both a restaurant dish and a take out dish. When you start with the best and freshest ingredients and you don’t complicate the preparation and cooking, you end up with something special – that’s the Italian way of cooking!” You will find Hermitage Lodge and Il Cacciatore at 609 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. Bookings are strongly recommended for the restaurant – call 4998 7639 or visit www.hermitagelodge.com.au for more information. ■

h c n u r B ubbles ‘ITALIAN’ BOTTOMLESS





Il Cacciatore Restaurant – 609 Mcdonalds Rd, Pokolbin | FOR RESERVATIONS PHONE 4998 7639 25 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Ken and Gwen Sloan

From Good to Great at Mistletoe Wines WORDS Quentin von Essen Ken and Gwen Sloan – owners of Mistletoe Winery, are renowned for creating some of the region’s most awarded and talked about wines from their 5.5-hectare vineyard on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin. Today this James Halliday 5-star rated winery is a true small family-owned winery with three generations of the Sloan family involved in the business, which now includes their son Rob, daughter Cassandra and granddaughters Natane and Jessica, who also has an interest in winemaking. While the main focus is on Hunter Valley Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz, Mistletoe also makes wines from Merlot, Cabernet, White Muscat, Verdelho, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Fiano – produced from grapes grown in an environment where the focus is always on quality over yield. Ken is an intriguing character with a seemingly endless knowledge of wine, local history and is not short of a few hilarious stories... and as you get to know him, you realise just why his wines are so good. He is a man of unquestionable principle and a great believer in "quality without compromise" in just about everything he does – and especially when it comes to making wine. For as long as he can remember, Ken has had an interest and love of wine which was further encouraged by the writings of the late Len Evans and Max Lake as well as the celebrated Sydney wine merchant and restaurateur J.K. "Johnnie" Walker who had the Angus Steak Cave restaurants and was also the author of a weekly newspaper wine column. Before long, Ken and Gwen found themselves in the Hunter Valley regularly looking around for a suitable property. They eventually bought the Hermitage Road property in 1989 which was once part of the ill-fated Hermitage Estate Winery operation. The site had become extremely run down and neglected so they quickly set about ripping up the old derelict vineyard and replanting the home plot to Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Muscat. Within six years, Mistletoe Wines were starting to gain recognition not to mention trophies at local and interstate wine shows.

yhv 26 | FEB-MAR 2020

The Sloan family eventually moved to the Hunter Valley in 1997, and it has been home ever since. At first, the wines were contract made in the Upper Hunter, but in 2003 they decided to build a winery on the property now named Mistletoe Winery because of the vast amount of mistletoe growing on the ironbark tree which had once covered the property. Working with great winemakers such as Scott Stephens, Mistletoe has, in a relatively few years, become one of the most respected and awarded boutique wineries in Australia. When it comes to making good wine, Ken believes that good wine starts in the vineyard and for him, it is critically important to keep investing in the vineyard. “We put back into the vineyard, and it shows. In the vineyard and winemaking side of the business, the grapes are grown in an environment that is as natural as possible and where the focus is always on quality over yield,” explains Ken “We have the firm mandate of ’Quality without Compromise’, and we not only believe in it, but we also act on it. We will walk away from bad years rather than make average wine by cutting corners or fudging it.” With this absolute attention to detail and uncompromising focus on quality, it comes as no surprise that Mistletoe has been rated a 5-star winery by James Halliday every year from 2007 to 2019 – putting Mistletoe in the top 8% of wineries in Australia on a quality basis and confirming Mistletoe’s reputation as one of the best and most consistent small wine producers in the Hunter Valley. But it’s not all about the wines. Mistletoe Wines is also one of few wineries that combine the unique flavours of the Hunter Valley wine region with the artistic talents of the locals. The Pokolbin Art Gallery located within the cellar door features paintings, ceramics and specialist woodturning from the region, all of which can be purchased. Outside, the Mistletoe Sculpture Garden sits alongside the picturesque vineyard and includes a selection of quirky and modern sculptures. Mistletoe also offers twilight tasting sessions on the patio throughout Summer, while in Winter, the tastings are hosted in front of a roaring fire. For many, Mistletoe Winery is a very unique and special place. For more information visit www.mistletoewines.com.au


Hospitality at Ivanhoe Wines With the striking stainless steel chain sculpture of two giant entwined hands outside its cellar door, Ivanhoe Wines is one of the Parish’s most distinctive destinations. But the sculpture isn’t what the winery is best known for – that would be its gutsy reds, delicious whites and signature hospitality. The estate’s award-winning cellar door is a replica of the 1800's Ivanhoe Homestead, and has been owned and operated by Stephen and Tracy Drayton since 1996. It’s also one of the most picturesque and most photographed properties in the Hunter Valley.

Son of the late Reg and Pam Drayton, Stephen is the third branch of the family to be involved in winemaking in the Hunter Valley, and he has spent almost 25 years bringing his own particular style and passion into the making of his award-winning wines. Stretching across the foothills of the Brokenback Mountains, the property has been called Ivanhoe for over 150 years. It was first planted with vines in 1855 and today is made up of 80 acres of which approximately 50 acres are under vine with varieties that include Shiraz and Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Chambourcin and Gewurtztraminer. The vineyard, planted on the side of Brokenback Range is also one of the steepest vineyards in Pokolbin with rich, red volcanic soil and a limestone base – just perfect for producing great red wines. Further down the slope, the soil is made up of a sandy loam which is ideal for producing excellent whites. For both Stephen and Tracy, one of the more important roles of owning a winery and cellar door is the customer service role – and that is why you will always see one or the other at the cellar door talking to the customers as they sample from the range of Ivanhoe Estate wines, sharing their passion for the winemaking process and wines they produce. The genuine, warm Ivanhoe hospitality is evident from the moment you enter the cellar door; this is what keeps people coming back to this enchanted vineyard. When you visit the Ivanhoe, you will not only get a wine tasting; you get a complete wine experience. Featuring a shady verandah overlooking the Brokenback Ranges, Ivanhoe Wines is also the perfect spot to sample the winery’s wares while admiring that stunning wine country view. If you are in the area for a wine tour, make sure to include Ivanhoe as part of your Hunter Valley cellar door experience. You’ll find Ivanhoe Estate at 525 Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin.

27 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Flipping Out FOR FROSÉ!

If you're a fan of Rosé, we have the recipe to make all your cocktail dreams come true... Frosé (frozen Rosé) is like a grown up icee – fruity, sweet and dangerously delicious!

Make your own Frosé Just follow these simple steps and you will be sipping on your Frosé in no time!

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4) • 1 Bottle of Rosé – 750ml (why not choose one of our Hunter Valley favourites) • 1 Cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen) • 15ml cocktail sugar syrup • 2 Cups of ice

METHOD 1. Cut up strawberries into quarters, hulling each one. 2. Add bottle of Rosé, strawberries, sugar syrup to an electric blender with two cups of ice. 3. Blend on high until the rose appears smooth – add extra ice if you prefer it thicker. 4. To serve, place the blended mixture into a three large stemless wine glasses. 5. Add additional fruit of choice for garnish.

BONUS TIPS • Add a shot of Hunter Distillery’s Strawberry Liqueur for more of a kick! • If you don’t have cocktail sugar syrup at home replace it with 1 tablespoon of sugar to add to the blend. • Add fresh lemon or orange juice for a citrus zest. • Experiment with a different combination of different fruits – watermelon (highly recommended), peach, raspberry or mango. • To satisfy all the sweet tooths out there – add another tablespoon of sugar to the blend and around the brim of the glass for an extra sweet Frosé! Pictured L–R: McGuigan Cellar Select Rosé $25; Tamburlaine Winelover's 2019 Petite Fleur Rosé $22; Pokolbin Estate 2016 Nebbiolo Rosé $25; Hunter Distillery Strawberry Liqueur $29/250ml.

yhv 28 | FEB-MAR 2020


Jim Kerr. Photo by Casey Steinmiller


Iconic Scottish band Simple Minds will be returning to Bimbadgen on 5 December for their 40 Years of Hits Tour 2020. They will be joined by special guests, UK electronic pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for their first Australian tour since 1987, and will also feature Aussie chart-toppers Eurogliders. “It’s been said that Simple Minds has a love affair with Australia and I think that’s true,” said Simple Minds frontman, Jim Kerr. Simple Minds have sold more than 60 million albums, have been musical pioneers for 40 glittering years and have become one of the great bands of their generation, deploying rousing choruses and booming atmospherics to provide a sound that has endured the test of time. It's no wonder the band loves Australia. Australia gave Simple Minds their first hit single, Love Song, and first gold album, New


Gold Dream. A string of unforgettable hits followed, including Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize, Don’t You (Forget About Me), Alive and Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, Belfast Child and Let There Be Love. “I cannot tell you how much fun we had during those six weeks,” Jim says of the bands first Australian tour (with Icehouse) in 1981. “Going from nobodies to overnight success due to our appearance on Countdown. People were screaming for us to play encores. We’ve always had a wonderful bond with Australian audiences.” Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are acclaimed around the world for bringing avant-garde music into the mainstream. Led by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, the group is best-known for If You Leave, the smash hit from the classic teen movie Pretty In Pink. Eurogliders was formed in Perth in 1980 by Grace Knight and Bernie Lynch and went on to conquer the Australian charts, with a string of pop gems, including Heaven (Must Be There), We Will Together and the aptly titled Can’t Wait To See You. This will be the first time Eurogliders have played with Simple Minds since the opening night of the Narara Music Festival in 1984. Simple Minds with OMD and Eurogliders - this is a tour you won't want to miss! Tickets are on sale now – visit www.adayonthegreen.com.au

Morpeth Antique Centre Discover 25 dealers

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Peppers Creek on Broke Road, Pokolbin Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village, Pokolbin PH 4998 6669 • www.australianalpaca.com

175 Swan Street, Morpeth, Hunter Valley PH 02 4933 1407 E info@morpethgallery.com      www.morpethantiquecentre.com 

29 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

At the

CUTTING EDGE in the Hunter Valley

WORDS Claire Bradshaw

Dr Beldholm and his team.

As with any surgical procedure, patients undergoing cosmetic surgery want to feel assured that they’re in the best hands. Surgical expertise, compassion and respect are high priorities for patients – and they’re also high priorities for Dr Bernard Beldholm, a specialist cosmetic surgeon operating from a private clinic in the heritage suburb of Lorn. Dr Beldholm’s business was first established back in 2009. “Dr Beldholm lived in Sydney at this time, but was a frequent visitor to the vineyards and local Hunter area,” explains Belinda McFarlane, Dr Beldholm’s Practice Manager. “The more familiar he became with the area, the more he felt that his expertise could be a benefit to the local community.” The clinic’s original location was Mount Pleasant Street, Maitland. It had a different name (Specialist Cosmetic Surgery), and only one part-time secretary. But the business soon grew; another secretary, a registered nurse and a dermal therapist joined the team, and a nonsurgical division was added. By 2011, Dr Beldholm and the team had begun the search for a new clinic location – somewhere bigger and more permanent. And by the end of that year, they’d found the perfect spot. “A new location that was more fitting with Dr Beldholm’s personality was found in the beautiful leafy suburb of Lorn,” Belinda explains.

For an altogether sweet experience, a visit to Sabor Dessert Bar is a MUST! The Sabor Dessert Menu features over 50 different desserts, each one created individually. Nothing is served by the slice and this brings a new level of culinary delight to desserts in the Hunter Valley. Pair something scrumptious with a delicious Hunter Valley wine... It’s a unique Hunter Valley experience that you can only enjoy at Sabor Dessert Bar. Indulge in multi-award winning Portuguese chocolate mousse, decadent cakes, pastries, hand-made chocolates, Portuguese tarts and gourmet ice-cream. There is also a large range of gluten free desserts, barista-made Glinelli coffee and a selection of teas to enjoy with our amazing view of the vines and mountain ranges or to take away and savour in your home or hotel.

Enjoy a world of desserts at Sabor Dessert Bar in Pokolbin!

2342 Broke Rd, Pokolbin

Open Thurs & Fri 10am - 4.30pm, Sat 10am - 5.30pm, Sun & Mon 10am - 4.30pm

PH 1300 958 939 • www.sabordessertbar.com.au yhv 30 | FEB-MAR 2020

“A gorgeous old home was refurbished, but the essence of the building was preserved in keeping with the heritage nature of Lorn.� Dr Beldholm offers a wide range of procedures at his Lorn clinic. Perhaps the most popular is the Sculpt Tummy Tuck, used for loose skin after weight loss or for general cosmetic purposes. Other procedures include aesthetic breast surgery (implants, lifts, reductions and gynecomastia procedures); aesthetic face surgery (facelifts, neck lifts and upper eyelid surgery); post-pregnancy breast and tummy surgery; and other post-weight loss body contouring options, including arm and inner thigh lifts. Dr Beldholm aims to remain at the cutting edge of technological and surgical developments. This often means utilising advanced tools, such as the TruSculpt iD, a non-invasive body contouring device. Dr Beldholm’s clinic is the first cosmetic practice to introduce TruSculpt iD to the Hunter region. “It’s comfortable and affordable, using heat to melt away stubborn pockets of fat,� Belinda explains. “The results have been amazing.� The tools are only as good as the hand that wields them, of course, but clients will feel well cared for under Dr Beldholm’s expert eye. With a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medical Sciences under his belt, Dr Beldholm undertook advanced surgical training throughout the early 2000's with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery. He now takes pride in providing every patient with a comfortable, compassionate experience and great surgical outcomes using the latest techniques. “Dr Beldholm has such a passion and drive to be the best in his field,� Belinda says.

“He trains and researches and trains again to make sure that he can offer the very best to his patients and clients.�

It’s this approach that brings patients to Dr Beldholm from all over the country. Hunter Valley locals and visitors are joined by clients from Port Stephens, the Central Coast, Port Macquarie, Sydney and Canberra – with some travelling from as far as Tamworth, Tasmania, Western Australia and even the Pacific Islands. Clearly, Dr Beldholm and his team know what they’re doing when it comes to providing patients and clients with the results they’re seeking. “We all share the same goals and ambition,� Belinda says. “To us, it is not work, but the chance to connect to the people in our local area and the wider community, and to help shape someone’s life in a positive direction.�

Dr Bernard Beldholm’s clinic is located at 30 Belmore Road, Lorn. For more information about Dr Beldholm and the procedures he offers, call 4934 5700 or visit www.beldholm.com.au

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Tempranillo | Nebbiolo | Sangiovese | Nebbiolo RosÊ Get your taste for adventure today at ...Pokolbin Estate. Winery – 2019 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion

Pokolbin Estate Vineyard 298 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin | Open 7 Days 9am - 5pm PH 4998 7524 | www.pokolbinestate.com.au


31 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

Proudly Aussie Owned &

WORLD FAMOUS! If you’re staying in Wine Country, why not take a drive up the New England Highway to Thornton where you’ll discover Mortels and experience how the world-famous Australian UGG Boots are created. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the fully operational manufacturing plant and watch how the Mortels UGG boots are locally made on an interactive tour. After the tour, enjoy lunch at the Café, purchase a local gem in The Store and step back in time at The Sheep’s Back Museum. Plus take your Instagram to the next level by snapping the world’s biggest Ugg Boots! Mortels Sheepskin Factory is a multi-award winning Australianowned family business, and it's just up the road from Wine Country. The Mortels story began with Frank Mortel (master shoe craftsman) and wife Rita emigrating from the Netherlands in 1956 bringing with them the trade of shoe crafting, a trade that was passed down through the Mortel family for over 150 years. The Mortel family relocated from Sydney to the Maitland area in 1978 and from a shed in Lochinvar, the family continued developing their range of sheepskin products and growing their brand. In 1992, Tony Mortel and wife Stephanie took over the reins of the business. With over 60 years of experience, Mortels have played a leading role in the evolution and direction of the Australian sheepskin industry. Mortels have driven improvements in the industry – from the quality of raw materials and the way they are processed – to developments in the manufacturing process, standards and designs. Proudly Aussie owned and dedicated to manufacturing a premium quality sheepskin product, Mortels are of the oldest, continuously running ugg boot manufacturers in the world. Weekly, the Mortel factory workers, create upwards of 1000 pairs of ugg boots in all styles and colours. Mortels source their sheepskins from abattoirs in NSW and Victoria and have them tanned to their meticulous standards before being handcrafted at Thornton into a Mortel product. “What sets us apart for all other manufacturers of sheepskin products is our business and our products can be trusted. For example all our sheepskin batches are tested and certified for chemicals and

yhv 32 | FEB-MAR 2020

dyes in strict accordance with European Safety standards,” explained Stephanie Mortel. “Domestic and imported sheepskins and textiles are not subject to any custom requirements of meeting safety standards and the chemicals and dyes used in fabrics can cause serious health issues including cancer, chronic fatigue, asthma, skin conditions, allergies and many other diseases. We choose to test and certify as a measure of consideration for the health and wellbeing of customers and staff.” Purchasers will know they have purchased a genuine Mortel product as Mortels only distribute within Australia through their own retail outlets to preserve their brand and the quality of Australian manufacturing. Mortels have also expanded their range of Australiana products. On offer is a range of country clothing including Australian made leather hats, oilskin coats, vests, hats, and quality accessories and Mortels own range of skincare products, which are created right here in the Hunter using natural lanolin as the main ingredient. The range also includes furnishings such as small and large ottomans and pillows covered in genuine cowhides to compliment Mortels large range. There is no doubting the Mortels commitment to their business and the sheepskin industry as a whole. Mortels Thornton manufacturing site also houses a large factory outlet store, a museum showcasing Australia’s rich sheepskin history and Mortels 60 years of manufacturing and a Café serving all-day breakfast, great coffee and lunches. Staff conduct daily (Monday–Friday) Factory Tours at 11 am where visitors can watch, hear, feel and smell the real workings of an UGG boot factory. And of course – don’t forget it’s also the home of “The Big UGG Boots!” They also offer a large range of their products through their website www.mortels.com.au, direct sales to local, national and international customers. You’ll find Mortels at 1 Weakleys Drive, Thornton.


On the




WORDS Michelle Meehan

There probably aren’t many people who know more about the development of the Hunter Valley wine industry than the University of Newcastle’s senior lecturer in history, Julie McIntyre. The wine historian and co-author of the fascinating book, Hunter Wine: A History, took time out from her busy 2019 Fulbright Scholar program at the University of California to answer a few questions for this month’s Your Hunter Valley Magazine.

Where does your interest in history stem from, and how did you become a wine historian? My interest in history began in high school, learning about the Australian past, and how approaches to Australian history have evolved over time. I started researching the emergence of winegrowing in New South Wales for my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Newcastle, completed in 2002, followed by my PhD in Australian History at the University of Sydney, completed in 2009. Winegrowing provides such a fascinating lens onto Australia’s settler origins, culture, business, science and environments. This is in no small part because

"No-one has attempted to write the sort of history we wrote about the Hunter on any other wine region in the world, recognising the distinctive historical as well as cultural qualities of the place and its people."

wine is such a beguiling product, but also because of the many different threads of history that are bound together in wine studies: Aboriginalsettler relations, immigration, business innovation and the formation of wine regions as cultural landscapes. Where (and with whom) does your book, Hunter Wine: A History, begin, and where does it end? Hunter Wine: A History (NewSouth 2018) makes mention of the deep geological history of the region. This sets the scene for the frontier wars between Aboriginal people and settlers that occurred in the Hunter in the 1820's. The book is then mostly concerned with providing a context for settler plantings of vines from the 1820's and six generations of winegrowers – across many families and locations – through to 1983. It is for future historians to write about the seventh and eighth generations of the region’s winegrowers since 1983. How long did it take to research the book, and what did you and your co-author hope to achieve? The book grew from connections with Hunter winegrowers that I would trace to 2011. In 2014, John Germov and I began formally working on the project that resulted in the book Hunter Wine and an exhibition at Newcastle Museum called Vines, Wine & Identity (August 2018–January 2019). As the whole project, by the Australian Research Council as well as the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association and Newcastle Museum, John and I hoped to answer some really big questions: why did winegrowing continue in the Hunter over the timeframe that it did when other regions don’t have similar histories of continuity? How did Hunter wine shape Australian’s taste for wine? And, I kept asking myself as I worked on the project, how would I explain what was lost if the Hunter stopped producing wine? No-one has attempted to write the sort of history we wrote about the Hunter on any other wine region in the world, recognising the distinctive historical as well as cultural qualities of the place and its people. We are very proud that the book has been recognised by both Australian historians, as a finalist in the NSW Premier’s History Awards, and the (Continued next page) ⊲

33 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv

The Audrey Wilkinson Cellar Door, early 1900's

(Continued) international wine industry for its contribution to wine history, with the Special Mention for History at the OIV Jury Awards of 2019, as well as Best Wine Book at the Wine Communicators of Australia 2018 Awards. I think a lot of people have a general idea of the Hunter's wine history - but what was the most interesting/surprising thing you discovered while writing your book? I found it fascinating to learn that the Hunter has been a quality wine region for most of its history, compared with many other Australian wine regions, because its environment will not support largescale production. The region’s reputation was very strong at the turn of the twentieth century before the temperance era in Australia from the late 1910's to the 1950's changed drinking culture; suppressing the

convivial style of wine drinking that had begun to flourish up to the outbreak of World War 1. I really enjoyed reading the findings of the 1954 Inquiry into NSW licencing that cleared the way to reinstate regulations conducive to “civilised drinking” of wine and other alcohols. I loved weaving together histories of wine industry workers as well as vineyard owners. The chapter on Germans in the Hunter wine story required an enormous amount of research to bring to life people who have up, until now, been explained only in terms of their Anglicised names and places of origin, and the ships they arrived on. The strength of family and social networks among winegrowers is also astonishing. Of course, people within a regional community of producers have their differences, but Hunter winegrowers have always found common ground when it’s been a matter of survival for longevity. ■


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yhv 34 | FEB-MAR 2020



Summer Dining Guide



Located at Brokenwood Wines magnificent new cellar door facility (voted best in the Hunter Valley 2019) The Wood Restaurant’s contemporary menu features quality locally sourced ingredients, prime cuts and market fresh seafood, cooked simply with flair.

Esca Bimbadgen showcases Bimbadgen wines by matching them with simple, elegant food in a jaw dropping setting. A pioneer of fine dining, Esca Bimbadgen exemplifies the unique nature of a winery restaurant. The spectacular entrance suspended above the winery is second only to the view from your table.

Located at Brokenwood Wines, 401-427 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, MAP REF L10 | PH 4993 1193 | Open 7 days for Lunch; Dinner Friday and Saturday

790 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, MAP REF H12 | PH 4998 4666 esca@bimbadgen.com.au | www.bimbadgen.com.au/dining OPEN Sun to Thurs 12pm–3pm, Fri & Sat 12pm–3pm; 6pm–9pm

OISHII JAPANESE THAI RESTAURANT The name says it all... Delicious. Open daily, Oishii has become one of the most popular eateries in the epicentre of Hunter Valley wineries and concerts. The market fresh seafood Sushi and Sashimi followed by a rich Massaman Beef Curry and finished with fried ice cream - a house speciality, begs a return visit to taste their unique Prawn Tempura, Panang Duck Curry and Green Curry Chicken. Roche Estate, Cnr Broke & McDonalds Rd’s Pokolbin, MAP REF L11 OPEN 7 Days Lunch, Dinner + T/A | 4998 7051 | www.oishii.com.au

BLAXLAND INN Specialising in friendly country hospitality, you’ll love your time at Blaxland Inn. Our menu is full of hearty meals from succulent steaks, house-made pies, and our signature garlic prawns. When reserving your table, ask about our courtesy vehicle. Suitable for up to 11 guests, conditions apply. Bookings are essential. 2198 Broke Road, Pokolbin, MAP REF K12 | PH 4998 7550 info@blaxlandinn.com.au | www.blaxlandinn.com.au OPEN 7 days for Lunch & Dinner

THE CELLAR RESTAURANT The Cellar Restaurant delivers modern contemporary Australian cuisine, utilising local and seasonal quality ingredients. Dine in our indoor garden setting or outside in the courtyard. Try our NEW al a carte and tasting menu! Share plates are also available for lunch Monday to Sunday. Bookings recommended. HVG Village, Broke Rd, Pokolbin, MAP REF K10 | PH 4998 7584 admin@the-cellar-restaurant.com.au | OPEN Lunch Mon–Sun; Dinner Mon–Sat | www.the-cellar-restaurant.com.au

RESTAURANT CUVEE Restaurant Cuvee specialises in fresh, local produce for breakfast and lunch menu. Famous for our bubbly breakfast, enjoy delicious bubbles with a wholesome big breakfast or stop in for lunch and experience our perfectly wine matched a la carte menu, catered to all foodie types. Don’t forget to drop by on weekends and try the Oyster Bar serving up fresh seafood against a stunning view! Cnr of Broke Road & Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin, MAP REF K14 PH 4998 7881 | cuvee@petersonhouse.com.au www.petersonhouse.com.au | OPEN 7 days Breakfast & Lunch

35 | FEB-MAR 2020 yhv


Impacting Wine as We Know It There is no doubt that there is still much climate change denialism. But for many industries, and especially those working in the global wine industry, climate change is a harsh reality. A changing climate is nothing new to agriculture, but the severity of change has become a prominent concern for farmers. Prolonged drought, spring frost, hotter than average temperatures, unseasonal rain events and hailstorms and a deterioration of seasonal predictability are all challenges facing the grape growers of today. The global wine industry has been forced to evolve more in the last 20 years than ever before. In 2017, wildfires destroyed nearly 250,000 acres of land across the Napa Valley in California, while all over France, extreme freezes are the new norm. More recently, in Australia, lengthy droughts and massive wildfires have devasted wine regions throughout the country. South Australia’s Adelaide Hills area has been the most affected wine region in the country with December temperatures soaring to 43.9°C, and a fire that enclosed almost 3,000 acres of the regions vineyard area – destroying around 30% of Adelaide Hills’ production. Wine regions in Queensland, New South Wales South Australia and Victoria, have all been affected. This includes Hunter Valley, Canberra, Rutherglen, Gippsland and Adelaide Hills. All face an uncertain 2020 vintage, as the effects of smoke taint and heat on this year’s crop remain unknown.

yhv 36 | FEB-MAR 2020

Over the years, winemakers have learned how to deal with the effects of the extreme and hotter weather – by watering the vines more frequently (if they have water available), by more effectively managing the vine canopies to provide optimal leaf shading for the bunches, by mulching their vineyards to retain moisture in the soil beneath the vines and by doing whatever is required in to minimise soil moisture loss. Some are even switching their vine plantings to cooler and less exposed parts of their properties. Climate change is increasingly a significant challenge in wine production, and the frequency of extreme climatic events (hail, flooding, drought) is likely to increase. Depending on the region and the amount of change, this may have positive or negative implications on wine production and quality. What is clear, though, is that adaptation strategies are needed to continue to produce high-quality wines, and new research indicates that substituting the traditional grapes varieties for other more drought and heat-tolerant varieties could well offer a way forward for winemakers. But for a winegrower, simply switching to a more heattolerant variety is not an easy decision and requires replanting vines – which would take more than ten years to establish. The accelerating effects of climate change are forcing the wine industry to take decisive steps to counter or adapt to unpredictable weather patterns. Growing Gapes in Places Previously Considered Unsuitable On the flip side, climate change has made winners out of some regions that traditionally had trouble ripening grapes or where vines would not have been able to survive previously. As the climate has warmed, regions that were once considered too cold are now indicating that they can also produce fine wine, as long as the other elements are in order. Germany’s Rieslings and the Loire Valley’s Cabernet Francs are enjoying more reliable harvests, year after year than they were even a decade ago. England is another example, where English sparkling wine

Seeking Higher Ground In some parts of the world, producers are planting vineyards at altitudes once considered unsuitable to growing wine grapes. Today, vineyards in the regions of Salta and Jujuy in northern Argentina can be found at altitudes of between 1,500 and 3,300 metres and are considered among the highest in the world. Similarly, in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State, growers are experimenting at 900 feet. There are no hard-and-fast rules that limit the altitude at which grapes can be planted. It ultimately depends on a region’s climate, the quality of light, quality and type of soil, access to water and variety of grape. But as the earth has warmed, vineyards are moving higher.

is challenging Champagne. Until recently, nobody had ever heard of English sparkling wine, but as the climate has warmed, a world-class sparkling wine industry has developed along the southern coast of England with new vineyards being planted at a rapid pace. Closer to home in Australia, winemakers are now increasingly looking toward investing in regions such as Tasmania, which is producing some outstanding Shiraz, typically considered a warmclimate variety.

Experimenting and Planting with Alternative Grape Varieties The Australian wine industry currently relies heavily on the popular grape varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, amongst others – most of which originate from France and are now widely planted throughout Australia’s 65 wine-producing regions. While these varieties are and will continue to be extremely important to the Australian wine industry, there is a growing need to identify and cultivate those alternative grape varieties that are better suited to the ongoing challenges of the Australian climate (and changing consumer palate). Wine researchers are investigating heat and drought tolerant grape varieties from other regions such as Cyprus for their suitability to the Australian conditions. The Cypriot varieties of Xynisteri (white) and Maratheftiko (red) have been cultivated for thousands of years in Cyprus, tolerating scorching, dry summers, surviving on winter rainfall alone. Throughout Australia, wineries are responding to climate change by reducing their carbon footprint, practising more environmentally friendly viticulture, adapting their methods and planting different grape varieties that include (amongst others) Barbera, Nero d’Avola, Grenache, Sangiovese, Mourvedre, Vermentino and Mencia. Other varieties considered suitable to the Australian climate include Plyto from Greece, Areni from Armenia, Shavkapito from Georgia, Gouveio from Portugal and Bobal from Spain. Over the next few years, you can expect many of these wines to become increasingly known and popular with wine drinkers and perhaps close the gap on some of the mainstream varieties. ■


Wine Glass Gallery Because great wine deserves a great wine glass

• Largest range of wine glasses in the Hunter Valley • Hand painted Hunter Valley souvenir wine/shot glasses • Various artworks • Amusing collector teapots • Amazing selection of glass platters, vases & ornaments • Beautiful seasonal scarves • Wonderful jewellery, handbags & interesting giftware • Aboriginal products • Hunter Valley T-Shirts • Great range of Australian souvenirs Come and see our colourful eclectic products & experience our helpful, friendly Hunter Valley Service!

Shop 3, Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village Phone 4998 6888 • Open 7 Days

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Tamburlaine Organic Wines Pokolbin Estate

Aerohunter Adventure Flights


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Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

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De Beyers Rd Visitor Information Hunter Valley Joy Flights


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Blaxland Inn Handmade in the Hunter Markets at Kevin Sobels Wines

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Hunters Quarter Restaurant

Tho mp son

MCDONALDS ROAD McGuigan Wines HV Cheese Factory


Petersons Wines

Restaurant Cuvee

HV Chocolate Co. Balloon Alo� Mee�ng Point


D e Beyers Road

Ekerts Road

Sabor Dessert Bar HV Chocolate Co.


Australian Alpaca Barn Harrigans Irish Pub

Roche Estate Oishii Japanese-Thai Restaurant Tempus Two

Gillards Road

Hermitage Lodge Il Cacciatore Restaurant

Brickmans Lane

The Deck Café




The Cellar Restaurant

The Garden Cellars

HV Chocolate Co.

Wine Glass Gallery

Constable Estate

Green Lane

Wilderness Road








Hunter Valley Gardens HVG Shopping Village

Palmers Lane

Restaurant Trey

Emma’s Co�age Vineyard

St Swan


Australian Morpeth Alpaca Barn An�que Centre Morpeth Gallery





Australian Alpaca Barn

Palmers Lane


C NE Bimbadgen Estate

Esca Bimbadgen






Sta�on St

Deasys Road

d oa sR asy

Talga Road

HV Horseriding and Adventures


To Mortels (Thornton)



k St




Ma�lda Bay Brewhouse


Fleet St

Drinan St


Lions Park



Thompsons’s Rd


Hermitage Road Cellars

Coulso nR

Road rth No



Tuckers Lane







Mistletoe Winery Hunter Valley Resort Hunter Valley Adventure Centre – Segways, Horseriding, Electric Bikes Hunter Valley Wine Theatre Hunter Valley Wine School


Sweetwater Road

Old No rth Ro


B lackburn




Ro ad




La Mistle to e





Tin�lla Estate





Estate Tuscany The Mill Restaurant Brokenback Bar

k Hill Rd Ironbar




Spa/Health Retreat


oad Camp R




Gourmet Produce

RidgeView Wines and Restaurant





6 Wydnham St



Cellar Door



4 k Rd Par onix Phe












e Lan rs ajo

McCarthy Rd













KM < 30 D A RO




Estate Tuscany F4 Hermitage Lodge I10 Stayz Hunter Valley


Blaxland Inn K12 Brokenback Bar F4 Esca Bimbadgen G11 Harrigans Hunter Valley L9 Hunters Quarter M9 il Cacciatore Restaurant I10 Ma�lda Bay Brewhouse F5 Oishii Japanese Thai J10 Restaurant Cuvee K14 Restaurant Trey G14 RidgeView Restaurant A7








Pokolbin Estate M10 HV Cheese Factory L10 HV Chocolate Co. K10/K13/K14 The Ar�san Cheese Room P9


Sabor Dessert Bar K13 The Cellar Restaurant K10 The Deck Café F18 The Mill Restaurant F4 The Wood Restaurant L10



Running Horse Wines J3 Saddlers Creek Wines Q13 Tamburlaine Organic Wines M10 Tempus Two J10 Tin�lla Estate E4 The Garden Cellars K10


d ar Ced C r e e k R


adee n Rd

Bimbadgen Estate G11 Constable Estate J9 Emma’s Co�age Vineyard G14 Hunter Dis�llery K6 Ivanhoe Wines P9 Kelman Vineyard Q14 McGuigan Wines K10 Mistletoe Wines E4 Mount Pleasant Wines P9 Peterson House K14 Pokolbin Estate M10 RidgeView Wines A7




Aerohunter Adventure Flights L15 Balloon Alo� (Pickup Point) K14 Hunter Valley Adventure Centre – Segways, Horseriding, Electric Bikes F5 HV Horseriding & Adventures D17 Hunter Valley Gardens K10 Hunter Valley Wine Theatre F5 Hunter Valley Wine School F5 Morpeth Gallery C18






Handmade in the Hunter Markets K12


Australian Alpaca Barn K9/K10 Australian Alpaca Barn (Morpeth) B19 Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village K10 Morpeth An�que Centre (Morpeth) C18 Mortels B16 The Garden Cellars K10 Wine Glass Gallery K10



Kick off the perfect wine tour at McGuigan Wines (K10)





Str ee t



Narone Creek Rd

M ou

Ke nd all









Cessnock Regional Art Gallery




24.5K M>

ht R





et tre tS en c n St Vin rwi Da


nt B rig




Kerlew Street

l ber Cum


Mount View Rd

Saddler’s Creek Wines

Marrowbone Road

Kelman Vineyard

O’Connors Road



Shop at Handmade in the Hunter Markets (K12)

Shop Australian-Made products at Mortels (B16)

Mount Pleasant Wines The Ar�san Cheese Room

Ivanhoe Wines







<2 4.5 K




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Your Hunter Valley Magazine | February - March 2020  

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