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The No.1 magazine for visitors to Hunter Valley Wine Country | JANUARY 2019 | ISSUE #163

We Bought a


(and it’s pretty WILD) MEET THE LUSBY’S






HUNTER VALLEY VINEYARDS BOUTIQUE CHEESERY Regional Hunter Valley Cheesemakers “making” artisan handmade cheese to compliment the world renown local wine varietals. • Exclusive House Range of regional and housemade selection of oils, olives, chutneys, conserves and dressings.

• Cheeserooms open daily for cheese tastings and lunches or charcuterie and regional produce tasting/purchases.

• Hot/Cold Beverages & Wine available to enjoy with your tasting or cheeseboard.

• Complimentary Cheesemaking Tutorial and a tasting of our award winning Hunter Gold Washed Rind. Enjoy our Smell.Taste.Savour Sessions at 11am and 3pm.

ARTISAN AUSTRALIAN CHEESEMAKERS Located at Mcguigan Wine Complex 447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin PH 4998 7744





PUBLISHED BY: WCP Media ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: PH +61 2 4943 2888 WCP MEDIA Level 1, 216 Pacific Hwy, Charlestown, NSW 2290 JANUARY 2019 Copyright © 2019 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 1st January 2019 until the 31st January 2019 inclusive, or while stocks last.

GET MOBILE! View this month’s issue of Your Hunter Valley Blackboard on your iPhone, iPad, android tablet or android phone. Simply download the QR Code and get mobile!

Welcome to 2019 and another year of life in the beautiful Hunter Valley! Last year saw some major changes to your favourite (and only!) local magazine – not only did we undergo a name change to Your Hunter Valley Blackboard Magazine, but we also introduced a stunning new website, a weekly subscriber newsletter and of course, we added some pages. This growth has allowed us to expand not only the number of articles we publish each month but also allowed us to delve deeper into some of the great local businesses and people of Hunter Valley Wine Country. Last year also saw our region grow with the introduction of great new wineries, restaurants and local businesses. And who can forget the fantastic world-renown musical acts and festivals that visited! This year no doubt has some great surprises in store for the Hunter, and we can’t wait to bring you all the news about what’s new and happening each month! In this issue, we celebrate a handful of local identities and businesses that have made their mark on our region. People like Jason Pearson, who, after

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purchasing a run-down zoo 12 years ago has worked tirelessly to revamp, renovate and extend the facility, with new infrastructure and a growing population of animals that are second to none for a zoo of this size. We are very privileged to have such an exceptional zoo so easily accessible for both visitors and locals alike. As Summer is now in full swing, there is no better time to get outside and start exploring all the great activities the Hunter Valley has to offer. Of course, Wine Country is not just for the grownups and this month’s issue is jam-packed full of our favourite things to do with kids during Summer in the Hunter. There are loads of family-friendly activities to keep the kids occupied these school holidays – so look no further than this issue for inspiration!


s i h t n i ’s t a h W


What's on in Jan & Feb


Hot in the Hunter


We Bought a Zoo!


Meet the Lusby's


Café Culture – Oscars


Summer Lovin' Wines 26


Wine Country For Kids!


Food Fanatic – Sabor


High Life – Boydell's Escape


Your Hunter Valley Map Summer Dining Guide

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Events not to miss in the Hunter Valley Region





Movies Under the Stars The Vintage

Handmade In The Hunter Markets At Kevin Sobels Wines BACK IN FEBRUARY

Broke Village Market

At McNamara Park JANUARY 6

Dalwood Markets At Dalwood Estate JANUARY 13

Wollombi Australia Day Weekend Markets Wollombi Saleyards JANUARY 28

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Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens

UNTIL SAT 26 JANUARY Yep that's right – you can still catch your favourite Christmas lights display at Hunter Valley Gardens right up until Australia Day! This giant event has become a yearly must do for families, locals and visitors alike, with millions of lights on display – and there's plenty of time to catch the spectacle! So wander through the 16 individual light displays, enjoy some food, fun and festivities, special performances, and of course the rides! You can soar above the gardens on the Swing Chair, see the lights from above on the Ferris Wheel, zoom down the Super Slide and enjoy the favourite Venetian Carousel. Tickets are free for 3 and under, $25 for kids (4– 15yrs), $30 adults and family passes are available. Rides are $6 each or $15 for unlimited. For more information and tickets please visit

SAT 5 + SUN 6 JANUARY Bring a picnic rug, friends and family and settle yourself in for a Movie Under the Stars at The Vintage's Fairway Lawn! On Saturday January 5th be enthralled by The Greatest Showman, and on Sunday 6th see Jurassic World - Fallen Kingdom. Both movies kick off at sunset, 8pm. Bring your own picnic hamper, or purchase popcorn, drinks, lollies, and ice cream from the Candy Bar.

Cinema Under the Stars Maitland Park, Maitland

FRI 18 JANUARY As the warmer months return so does Newcastle Permanent’s Cinema Under the Stars! Grab your tribe and enjoy a free family friendly evening under the stars with an incredible openair screening of blockbuster musical, The Greatest Showman. The event kicks off at 5.30pm with a fantastic line-up of exciting entertainment including; local musicians, circus workshops, kids activities and more before the movie screens at sundown. And don’t forget your picnic and snacks! For more information visit

Sweet Wicks Candles Find them at

Summer Tasting Experiences at Briar Ridge Briar Ridge

Hunter Valley Reflections Day Spa Adina Vineyard, 492 Lovedale Rd Lovedale. Ph 4930 9006

EACH WEEKEND IN JANUARY For one of the best tasting experiences in the Hunter, head over to Briar Ridge at Mount View! Relax with friends in the lovely wine garden as you enjoy a bottle of wine, delicious cheese/antipasto platter and the magic views. Call ahead to make a booking, picnic packs start at $38 for 2–4 people. Interested in learning more about vineyards and how wine is made? Book a Vineyard and Winery Tour, complete with a glass of wine to enjoy! Tours are $20 pp and available Fri–Sun at 2pm. You can also take a Walk Between The Vines and learn about the vineyard, which also includes a complimentary wine. This outdoor tour is $15 pp, and available Fri–Sun at 1.30pm. Email or call ahead to book for both of these, as bookings are essential. For more information visit, phone 4990 3670 or email

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.

It's all about the Kids at Crowne Plaza! Crowne Plaza

1–26 JANUARY The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is here to help these school holidays, filling each day with fun things for the kids! Having held so many fun events through December, Crowne Plaza are continuing on with the fun throughout January too! There are way too many activities to list, but you'll definitely find something for every taste with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Creative kids can enjoy unicorn and dragon

craft, painting, unicorn dream catcher making and plaster painting; outdoor activities include scavenger hunts, super hero Sundays, soccer skills and tennis; food lovers can try their hand at pizza or pasta classes, high tea, or cupcake decorating – and that's just a taste of the events on offer! Visit the website to find a day-by-day guide, with activities running from either 11am–12pm or 2pm–3pm. Some have a small cost and require bookings. To book phone 4991 0944, or email events.hunter@ihg. com. Find the full event list at

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American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times Maitland Regional Art Gallery

UNTIL SUN 17 FEBRUARY An exhibition starring America’s 35th President, John F. Kennedy, will display the most exhaustively researched group of Kennedy photographs ever assembled. Featuring 77 images, this exhibition will give a glimpse into the life of one of the most loved American Presidents right here on our own doorstep. For more information about Maitland Regional Art Gallery or to view other exhibitions currently on offer visit

Summer Shiraz Sessions Glenguin Estate, Broke

SAT 19+26 JAN; 2 FEB Calling all Shiraz lovers – this one's for you! Join Glenguin Estate's viticulturist and estate manager Phil Jones as he takes you through this dynamic grape variety, complete with tastings. You'll learn about Shiraz origins in Northern Rhone, its form in other parts of the world; and weather permitting, get the opportunity to walk through the Schoolhouse Block and discuss the vineyards management and what makes this variety so special. Phil has a wealth of knowledge to share, jump on this exclusive experience while you can! The cost is $30 pp, book via experiences/433994

Sunday Sessions and BYO Mondays! Hunters Quarter

EVERY SUNDAY AND MONDAY Hunters Quarter (HQ) restaurant is known for its fullflavoured, generous menu in a smart-casual warm setting. Head chef Brian Duncan brings a wealth of global and local experience in fine dining to HQ, offering modernAustralian cuisine at its best. Right now, HQ are offering two amazing dining options for both Sundays and Mondays! Join them on Sundays from 12.30pm on the deck to enjoy a full al a carte or light menu, while enjoying live acoustic entertainment; or join in their Locals Night on Mondays for an exclusive menu crafted by Brian (2-course $65, 3-course $80), with the option to bring your own wine. You

don’t even need to be a local to enjoy this offering! Reservations are recommended for both to avoid missing out. HQ is located at Cockfighters Ghost Wines, 576 Debeyers Road Pokolbin. Phone 4998 7776 or email to book.

Australia Day Cessnock

SAT 26 JANUARY As with every year, a huge range of activities have been planned in Cessnock including welcoming Australia’s newest citizens, recognition of community members for outstanding work, sharing a bite to eat and the annual Mayoral Cup Cricket! The day kicks off with a Citizenship Ceremony and the Australia Day Awards at the East Cessnock Bowling Club from 10am to 12pm, with these official proceedings followed by a free barbecue lunch from 12pm to 2pm at East End Oval, Victoria Street. The Mayor’s Cricket Match begins at 12.30pm, concluding with the presentation of the trophy at about 3.30pm. As usual, the weather is likely to be warm so be sure you take a hat, sunscreen and a chair to sit on for the oval activities. For more information visit

Golden Door Style Gui

HORIZONTAL VERSION This logo is to be used on all marketing collateral that relate specifically to the Golden Door Health Retreat, Health Club and/or Day Spa in Elysia, Hunter Valley. The horizontal version is the preferred logo to be used. It is comprised of five elements, the door icon, the Golden Door, Elysia and Health Retreat & Spa Hunter Valley wordmarks and the divider line.

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VERTICAL VERSION This logo is to be used on all marketing collateral that relate specifically to the Golden Door Health Retreat, Health Club and/or Day Spa in Elysia/Hunter Valley. The vertical version is only to be used when the horizontal version cannot be used due to limited space such as on smaller digital formats. It is comprised of five elements, the door icon, the Golden Door, Elysia and Health Retreat & Spa Hunter Valley wordmarks and the divider line.

This Summer!

Gone are the days when we could just “whack a shrimp on the Barbie” – today’s BBQ guest is more akin to a BBQ Connoisseur! Sharpen your skills by taking a oneday course at the highly-acclaimed BBQ School, and you’ll be sure to wow your friends and family at your next BBQ! Luckily there’s a range of programs available locally throughout Summer – but be sure to book as they’re super-popular. The Beer & BBQ Cooking Class showcases how you would cook and serve a gourmet BBQ dinner party – all matched to four premium Australian craft beers. This class is all about being bathed in glory when you next have the gang around for a BBQ at your place! The American Smoking Class aims to give attendees an understanding of the four main BBQ regions of the United States and the differences between them. Gain confidence when using

charcoal/wood in smoking/cooking meats and learn about the “low and slow” method of BBQ and how to produce mouth-watering, juicy, tender, fall apart delicious meats every time you use your Smoker or Charcoal BBQ and enjoy a selection of tasty beers to wash it all down! With the Meat BBQ Class, you’ll learn to cook your basic meats to perfection on the BBQ while matching your dishes with wine. Eat your way through the amazing meals you will create on the day, and of course, you will be offered a premium craft beer or a wine to go with the meat. The Seafood BBQ Class will have you impressing all your guests as you cook up the perfect Seafood dish. You’ll practice marinating techniques and learn tips for timing and skills to enhance the presentation. All classes are held at Potters Hotel Brewery Resort – there are classes available from January to March. Bookings are essential – visit or phone 1300 227 745.

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!

Your always welcome at...

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 Corner of Broke Rd & Mcdonald Rd’s Pokolbin, NSW 2320 PH 02 4998 7051



Peppers Creek on Broke Road, Pokolbin Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village, Pokolbin

PH 4998 6669 •

BBQ COOKING CLASSES Want to learn how to cook a delicious 3-course meal on the BBQ? Learn with us!


Beer & BBQ Class - January 12th Meat BBQ Class - February 2nd American Smoking Class - February 16th + 23rd Seafood BBQ Class - March 9th Classes are from 11.30am to 2.30pm Located at Potter’s Brewery Wine Country Drive, Nulkaba, Hunter Valley

PH 1300 227 745 E

Luxuriously soft lightweight and warm


A unique, open cockpit adventure flight experience!

VINTAGE AIRCRAFT MUSEUM Open Thurs to Mon 10am till 3pm, free entry! Cessnock Airport, Pokolbin

Present this voucher to recieve 20% off! Terms and Conditions apply. 7 | JANUARY 2019 yhv



Markets Broke Village Market

At McNamara Park FEBRUARY 3

Dalwood Markets At Dalwood Estate FEBRUARY 10

Aussie Night Markets

At Cessnock Showground


Handmade in The Hunter Markets At Kevin Sobels Wines FEBRUARY 23

RNB Vine Days

Red Hot Summer Tour 2019

SAT 2 FEBRUARY Assemble your crew and start making plans because RNB Vine Days is back at Bimbadgen Estate with another A-Class line-up! With the electric atmosphere, delectable gourmet food and signature wines, and an epic line-up that features some of the biggest hitmakers of contemporary RNB you won’t want to miss this! Leading the charge is one of the best-selling rap artists in music history Nelly and English superstar Craig David, accompanied by his full live band. English-Canadian girl group All Saints will make their return to our shores along with bubbly US singer Amerie and international party DJ YO! MAFIA. For tickets and more information visit

SAT 2 FEBRUARY The Hunter Valley is heating up in 2019 with the announcement of Series One of the Red Hot Summer Tour! This is going to be one hell of a rock show featuring Australia’s favourite son Jimmy Barnes, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, The Living End, Diesel, Richard Clapton and many more! With such a stellar line-up, it isn’t hard to see why the Red Hot Summer Tour has earned the reputation as one of the best regional festivals on the touring circuit. General admission tickets are $119.90, and Lounge tickets (including raised private area with chairs/tables, bar, toilets and a BBQ dinner) are $209.90. For more information visit

Bimbadgen Estate

Roche Estate

Uniquely Ivanhoe Ivanhoe Wines offer seated tastings with spectacular views, great wines and an enchanting atmosphere. Stretching across the foothills of the majestic Brokenback Mountain range, Ivanhoe Estate is an 80 acre patchwork quilt of vineyards which has become one of the most photographed and talked about vineyards in the Hunter Valley. When you visit the cellar door, you will not only enjoy a wine tasting but a complete wine experience. Visitors are welcome to come and learn about the Estate, vineyards and the winemaking process. We’ll help you find wines that you love.

Open 7 days – Bookings are recommended to ensure your visit is extra special.

525 Marrowbone Rd, Pokolbin NSW yhv 8 | JANUARY 2019


02 4998 7325


The Maestro and the Diva

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre SAT 9 FEBRUARY Cessnock Performing Arts Centre is launching their 2019 season by welcoming two true legends to the stage – Opera conductor, pianist and famous Cessnock son Brian Castles-Onion and Musical Theatre star Geraldine Turner! Music and song, wit and banter will delight the audience as this multi-award winning pair reflect, reminisce and delight the audience with stories from both behind and in front of the curtain. Brian will reflect on his formative years in Cessnock as well as his respected career in Opera; Geraldine, well-known for her years on the stage starring in shows such as Anything Goes, Sweeney Todd, Company, Into the

Woods, A Little Night Music, Guys and Dolls, and Call Me Madam – will sing and share her best anecdotes. The true stories told by these two celebrated Australian performers are expected to enthrall, surprise, move and touch the heart of everyone in the room. To book your tickets, visit cessnockperformingartscentre.


A Day on the Green Bimbadgen

SAT 16 FEBRUARY Aussie music icons John Butler Trio and Missy Higgins will be joining forces for a massive national tour! The Coming Home tour reflects John’s new album, plus the reuniting of two artists whose early careers were closely intertwined. They will be joined by special guests Dan Sultan and Stella Donnelly. For more information, visit User Pay

User Pay

T‘ is the season to sparkle

A world of wonder awaits, as you wind your way through 16 spectacular light displays. Be dazzled by our ‘Around the World’ display, the very sparkly ‘Princess Castle’ and many more. Plus, the family will love our awesome rides including Swing Chair, Ferris Wheel, Venetian Carousel, Superslide and inflatable zones.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

highly-energetic and entertaining Hope Estate performance we all know and SAT 23 FEBRUARY Being Red Hot love, and make it a night to Chili Peppers’ first Australian remember! headline tour in 12 years, we knew For those who weren't lucky this event would be a sell-out (in enough to get tickets but are still only 4 seconds to be exact). The keen to hear the concert, our band is expected to play a host of tip is to chance it and book in at their biggest hits, including tracks a nearby restaurant. On a still By the Way, Can’t Stop, Otherside night or when the breeze is going and Californication (to name a few) the right way, the sound can be which will likely bring out the bands crystal clear!

Visit to learn more.

02 4998 4000 - Broke Rd Pokolbin - Admission charges apply. Program subject to change. Some activities may not open in adverse weather conditions and for unscheduled maintenance. Terms and conditions of entry apply. *Rides are user pay and height restrictions apply.

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Shakespeare in the Vines Calais Estate

SAT 23 FEBRUARY Essential Theatre returns to Calais Estate

this Summer for the magical Shakespeare in the Vines, performing the much loved A Midsummer Night's Dream. This hilarious quick-witted comedy is sure to delight, with the cast of 8 professional actors taking you on a spell binding ride, transforming Calais Estate into the magical land of Athens. General tickets are from $50, but why not do it in style and go VIP ($195)! This experience includes a tour, lunch and snacks during the show. For more information visit

Last year, over 150 mullets of all shapes, colours and sizes strutted their stuff in front of judges in the categories of everyday, grubby, ranga, ladies, juniors and a crowned 'Best Mullet of them all' selected from all entries. The winner received bragging rights, a VIP backstage pass to Crossroads Country in the Vines and meet-and-greet with Mulletfest 2019 Billy Ray Cyrus – Billy being an Chelmsford Hotel, Kurri Kurri iconic mullet-wearer himself for years. SAT 23 FEBRUARY As you We can't wait to see this can probably imagine, this event grow for Kurri Kurri, who competition is all about believe they are the creators of business up front, party in the this expressive hairstyle. Keep back! Mulletfest is back again at the Chelmsford Hotel for the an eye out for more details second time, in what is sure to through – just search Mulletfest. be a bigger event this year.



The Sapphires

Cessnock Performing Arts TUES 26 FEBRUARY A funny, heartwarming tale, The Sapphires is inspired by the true story of writer Tony Brigg’s mother. Four country music-loving Aboriginal women get the chance to change their tune and sing soulful Motown hits, against the backdrop of social upheaval and personal change – armed only with microphones they sing in hope of inspiring momentary joy amongst the troubles of the Vietnam War. Their incredible journey is one of Australia’s most loved tales, having won multiple awards as a


Book Now!

French Provincial Long Lunch Tintilla Estate

SAT 23 MARCH Tintilla Estate's Long Lunches are very popular – the ultimate gourmet food and wine experience! Due to popular demand, the French Provincial Long Lunch is on again this March. There will be a 4-course meal with wines to match, why not get a


For full details visit us at HARRIGANS.COM.AU Terms and conditions apply. See in store for details. Not available public holidays.

yhv 10 | JANUARY 2019

play, film and soundtrack album – but Brigg’s promises that this version to be the most intimate and fulfilling yet. See this raw, feel-good story for one night only at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre – visit cessnockperformingartscentre. for tickets.

group together and celebrate the start of Autumn in the beautiful grounds of Tintilla Estate! This 3.5 hour event kicks off at 12.30pm, and costs $95 for members, $105 for non-members. Bookings are essential as numbers are limited, this event will book up quickly! Email info@tintilla. or phone 6574 7093 to book. For more information visit




the perfect wine country dining experience. located at mercure resort hunter valley gardens. open seven days for breakfast, café lunch and a la carte dinner.

WHAT’S HAPPENING around-about WINE COUNTRY MAITLAND • Australia Day – This Australia Day, Maitland will celebrate all of the greatest Aussie Icons with The Mutual’s 2019 Australia Day in Maitland Park. Celebrations will begin at 7.30am with a free BBQ breakfast hosted by The Lions Club of East Maitland. Throughout the day there will be a range of fun and interactive activities running from 9am–3pm, free entry to Maitland Pool from 10am–3pm, loads of food stalls plus an Official Ceremony which will include a Citizenship Ceremony and Citizen of the Year Awards. • Free Art January (Maitland Regional Art Gallery) – With 30 free activities for kids, teens and oldies to discover, play and do this Summer, Free Art January 2019 looks to be the best yet! In addition to the daily events, throughout January, every Sunday families are invited to drop into the art gallery for free art activities inspired by the exhibitions on display. Activities are designed for kids of all ages, and as a family, you can all join in and get creative. Each activity takes around half an hour to complete. Visit • Slow Food Earth Market – The Slow Food Earth Market Maitland operates on the first and third Thursday in January. The market is a first in Australia and is the 60th Earth market in the Global network that is part of the work of Slow Food – a global grassroots organisation that works to protect food biodiversity and believes in the philosophy of good clean and fair food for all. Farmers and producers will sell local, seasonal produce from 2pm–6pm at The levee located in the centre of Maitland. For more information visit CESSNOCK • Family Sunday Fundays – It’s the hottest time of year, so Cessnock City Council is offering the Sunday Family Fundays at all the local pools. Throughout January, local residents will gain free entry between 10am until 6pm, to Cessnock Pool, Branxton Pool and Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre (KKAFC). An inflatable fun park will be popping up at different locations throughout the period. To find out when and where keep an eye on the Cessnock Council website (please note extra fees and charges will apply for the use of the inflatable fun parks. Available only to local residents). • Wollombi Australia Day Markets – Visit historic Wollombi this Australia Day for over 100 stalls, including local produce and crafts, plants, clothes, tools, bric-a-brac and much more at the Wollombi Markets. Wollombi Markets attract thousands of visitors to the beautiful countryside of the Wollombi Valley where you can experience a relaxed atmosphere and a wealth of activities, accommodation and attractions, such as boutique wineries, superb natural beauty, and a rich history. For more information visit SINGLETON • Australia Day – Singleton's Australia Day Celebrations will take place on the Civic Centre Lawn in Singleton. Entertainment, kids activities, multi-cultural food, craft stalls, and displays from the military and emergency services are some of the highlights of this event for the whole family. Australia Day Eve (Friday 25) celebrations will run in the same location from 6pm–10pm. For more information visit

Corner Broke & McDonalds Rd’s, Pokolbin | Phone (02) 4998 2000

Much more than a Vineyard.

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

Hunter Valley

Chocolate Company EST. 1999

Located in the heart of Pokolbin, Hunter Valley Chocolate Company has been a family owned and operated Hunter Valley gem for the last 19 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 |

11 | JANUARY 2019 yhv


Hunter VISIT

Two in


Are you looking for the ultimate destination in the Hunter Valley? Well Gartlemann Wines and The Deck Café have you covered with award winning wines and a stylish and diverse menu overlooking a picturesque cellar door in Lovedale… What more could you want! Meet the family and enjoy the passion of one of the top 10 cellar doors in the Hunter Valley. Then head over to The Deck Café for breakfast or lunch overlooking the Gartelmann Dam! So, look

out for the giant magpie as you drive along Lovedale Rd - and when you spot it, you will know that you have discovered a real gem! WHERE 701 Lovedale Road, Lovedale OPEN 7 DAYS


New Issue of

Wine and Dine OUT NOW! Not sure where to go first in Wine Country? Well make sure you pick up the new Summer Edition of Wine & Dine Hunter Valley to find the ultimate location! Wine & Dine is the most comprehensive guide to the Hunter Valley featuring Cellars Doors, Restaurants, Trail Maps, Local Produce, Craft Beer and more. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the Hunters vibrant gourmet food culture and exceptional wineries. We take our beer seriously too with 4 local breweries making small batches of pure, traditionally fermented craft brews and ciders. Go wine tasting, choose from a diversity of restaurants and cafés, book a wine tour or self drive and explore the different wine growing areas using one of the six Wine and Food Trail Maps provided in this guide. Pick up your free Wine & Dine now from hundreds of locations around the Hunter Valley or read it online now!

Morpeth Antique Centre Discover 25 dealers

and The Servant’s Quarters Tearoom, all under one roof. All things Ancient, Antique, Vintage, Retro, Heirloom, Collectable.

Hunter Valley

Wine Country’s Native Wildlife Sanctury Lovedale’s Hill Top Farm Stay Spectacular Valley Views Trail Rides for Beginners and Experienced Riders Pony Rides • Family Rides Personalised Rides • Marriage Proposals • Weddings on Horseback 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..

yhv 12 | JANUARY 2019

OPEN 10am – 5pm, Thursday to Sunday and long weekend public holiday Mondays 175 Swan Street, Morpeth, Hunter Valley PH 02 4933 1407 E 




The Taste of Summer

Feeling thirsty? Well satisfy your thirst at Matilda Bay Brewhouse with a unique Beer Tasting Paddle! Enjoy the famous Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Lagers, Ales, Stout and Cider plus the regular ‘special’ brews for the perfect summer beverage! Matilda Bay offers 12 amazing craft beers on tap, that you can smell, scrutinise, analyse, and taste (all in the name of research of course)! So, go and enjoy an afternoon at Matilda Bay, where you can savour lunch or dinner, and laze the day away listening to music with a beer in hand looking over the picturesque Hunter Valley. WHERE Matilda Bay Brewhouse, Hunter Resort, Corner Hermitage Road & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin. OPEN 7 days, lunch and dinner. PH 4998 7777



ADVENTURE The best way to see the Hunter Valley is to get outdoors and experience it firsthand. Hunter Valley Horseriding and Adventures in Lovedale enable visitors to ride the unique and beautiful Molly Morgan Range on a 300 acre secluded property, with views stretching to Wine Country, the Lower Hunter and as far north as the Barrington Tops. What a great place for an adventure! Horseriding is available every day for the beginner to the most experienced in the form of trail rides, personalised rides, sunset rides, pony rides, school holiday camps, family rides... the list goes

on! The property also has room for mountain bike riding (BYO bike) and hiking. Accommodation is also available (guesthouses and villas), with kids staying free in the villas during school holidays! WHERE Hunter Valley Horseriding and Adventures, 288 Talga Road, Lovedale. PH Margaret on 4930 7111 or 0417 233 008.

Hunter Valley Resort Corner Hermitage Road & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin (02) 49987777

13 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

Photo by Ludo Petrik Photography

Keeping the Legacy Alive at Mount Pleasant Wines

It’s been named one of ‘Australia’s Best Winery Experiences’, was named ‘2017 Winery of the Year’ by James Halliday and is one of the most awarded wineries in Australia. Established in 1921 by an icon of the Australian wine industry, Maurice O’ Shea, the historic Mount Pleasant winery is one of the Hunter Valley's most popular wine destinations, with some of the earliest vines planted in the region and offering tastings of some of Australia's most respected wines.

When the McWilliams family acquired the property in 1941, Maurice O’Shea was retained as Chief Winemaker and went on to make some of Australia’s most highly regarded wines – a legacy that has been kept alive by Mount Pleasant winemakers ever since. Mount Pleasant primarily specialises in two varietals – Semillon and Shiraz. The Lovedale Semillon is their finest expression, followed by the Phil Ryan Signature and the ever-popular Elizabeth. When it comes to Shiraz, the Maurice O’Shea sits at the top of the quality ladder, closely followed by the single vineyard Old Paddock and Old Hill, Rosehill Shiraz. For those visiting the cellar door, the strong sense of history at Mount Pleasant is so evident that it is almost tangible. The recently renovated cellar door is themed to highlight the wineries rich history and celebrate its numerous accolades which include an incredible five Championships, 128 trophies and 2100 medals since the late 1970's! More recent awards include the 2017 1880 Vines Old Hill Shiraz winning five trophies at the 2018 Hunter Valley Wine Show and the iconic Old Paddock and Old Hill Shiraz taking home the NSW Governor’s Trophy for Best in Show at the 2018 NSW Wine Awards. The knowledgeable team at the cellar door provide for an unforgettable tasting experience by drawing on some of the Hunters finest wines and the ability to choose from a range of wine flights allowing wine lovers to explore, in-depth, the different styles of wines while enjoying the stunning panoramic views. In summer, visitors are encouraged to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio or the garden terrace, and in the cooler month’s enjoy the new cellar door atmosphere, complete with a library of books and board games, sipping a glass of exquisite wine while lounging in front of an open fire. For those keen to explore behind the scenes, the winery offers tours daily at 10:30am, during which visitors can discover the story of one of the Hunter Valley’s first wineries and the legacy of Maurice O’Shea. Tours cost $5 pp Monday–Friday and are free on weekends (bookings are essential – call 4998 7505).

Mortels Sheepskin Factory • Home Of The Big UGG Boots • Factory Tours • Shop • Café • Museum MORTELS SHEEPSKIN FACTORY 1 Weakleys Drive, Thornton NSW Phone (+61) 02 4966 0990 Since 1958

Retail store also at: 4/305 Hillsborough Road, Warners Bay NSW Check website for store hours.

Twilight Tastings at the Cellar Door Wed-Sat 9am-7pm 358 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW | Certified Organic | For Conscious Consumers | #ContemporaryOrganics

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Experience this award winning wine in the picturesque surrounds of our new look cellar door today. 401 Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin (02) 4998 7505 Open 7 days, 10am–4pm (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday) @mtpleasantwines |

We Bought a


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(And it's Pretty WILD) WORDS MICHELLE MEEHAN - Features Writer

When you look through the average person’s photo collection, you’ll come across the usual assortment of family holidays and special occasions. What you don’t often see are kids leaping over alligators or hand-feeding lions. But when your Dad owns a zoo, and your childhood is spent surrounded by a collection of native and exotic animals, it’s not surprising that these are the types of memories you create.

Set in the picturesque bushland surrounds of Nulkaba, Hunter Valley Zoo has been home to Jason Pearson and his family for the past 12 years. Originally established by long-time resident Beresford Smith in the early 1990s and named Rusa Park Zoo, Jason took over the 10-acre property in 2006 when its owner at the time was struggling to make ends meet. Since then he has been working to revamp, renovate and extend the facility, with new infrastructure and a growing population of animals that are second to none for a zoo of this size.

His children Abbey and Kane have grown up as the zoo has, with a hands-on involvement that makes the passionate conservationist proud. “I've got two kids, a daughter who’s 13 and a son who’s nine, and to see them grow up and give them so many life skills that they wouldn't otherwise get... I’m quite proud of those sorts of moments,” Jason said. “The kids are passionate, especially my daughter because she's going to head down the veterinary science path. My son is a typical boy at nine-years-old with a short attention span, but he gets involved in all the hand-raising and the bottle-rearing. “And coming up soon it'll be our alligator nest raiding season, and they'll be involved in that as well, taking alligator eggs out of nests. “I think deep down it's probably another 10 or 15 years away before they'll look back and appreciate what they got to do and experience. “I remember when we first got our lions, Christmas Day we handfed lions through the mesh, and we walked around the zoo, and I took a photo of it. I think the significance of that will be a lot bigger when they're 25 or 30 or sitting down with their own kids and saying, ‘Look what I got to do when I was young.’ That does make you proud.” What also makes Jason proud are the changes that have taken place since he took over what he described as “a basic backyard collection of animals”. Along the way, he has created a true destination for the Hunter Valley, with around 130 species of birds, mammals, primates and reptiles on display including both white and tawny African lions, cheetahs, meerkats, ostriches, alligators and Tasmanian devils. The zoo is also home to some incredibly rare animals including a couple of red-handed tamarins, which are one of only two pairs in Australia. Jason said he has aimed to create a hands-on experience with a focus on conservation and education, although it’s been a long, hard road to creating the successful and flourishing operation of today. (Continued next page) ►

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(Continued) “Saying it was a challenge is definitely an understatement. It's probably been the toughest thing I've ever done in my life, and for the first five years I took on extra work to make ends meet,” he said. “It was a basic backyard collection, really. There were a few types of monkeys; there was one koala and a lot of Australian natives. “We changed tack because a lot of our visitation is local, and the locals want to see something with a point of difference, which is where the exotic angle came in, where we beefed up the number of

primates that we have and started to choose other species that are not something you'll see in many other places. “We also took species that sometimes need a bit of help in the sense that they might not exhibit that well or are challenging to feed so not many zoos take them on. Like our maned wolf and our Malayan tapir, which unfortunately we recently had to put down. He was the last male left in Australia. “So, there are a few really cool species like that, that had their challenges to keep, but we brought them in and displayed them in a way so that people can see them and appreciate them. “We’ve gone from what it was when we started, which was just a native collection, into what we pride ourselves on now, which is a mixture of conservation and education to the public in a format where people can be as hands-on as possible in today's challenging environment. “That’s my goal, to have a really hands-on style of a park, because the majority of kids now aren't out looking around at animals like I was when I was a kid, they're looking at them through a computer screen. “If we can provide the environment where they can touch them, smell them, and hear them, that's going to help create the next generation of conservationists.” Conservation is a major motivation for Jason, which makes the most recent breeding season at the zoo such an important one. “We imported some red-handed tamarins, they're a small monkey, and they have just recently had twins, only two days ago. The significance for them is that there are only two pairs of them in Australia,” he said. “We hope to have a couple of pairs here eventually, and import some more, some different genetics, so we can breed them and help get that species established in Australia, which is a really great thing to be a part of. “We've had our biggest (baby) boom ever. We're sitting now at 15 baby monkeys born here in the last eight weeks. We’ve had triplet marmosets, we've had twin ring-tailed lemurs, and our spider ►

Everyone's Lining up to visit Hunter Valley Zoo! We at Hunter Valley Zoo will provide a safe, caring and natural environment to ensure the welfare of all species housed for exhibit, educational and conservation purposes within the zoo and strive to maintain the high level of care and visitor experience we have so far achieved. ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS - Meet our resident Meerkats, Emperor Tamarins and Marmosets! Hand feed them as you get up close and learn everything there is to know about these amazing creatures. DAILY SHOWS - Hear our keepers talk about our lions, wombats, koalas, cheetahs and more! BIRTHDAY PARTIES - If your looking for a birthday the kids will never forget, look no further! OPEN 9am to 4pm Thursday – Tuesday, closed Wed during school terms. OPEN EVERYDAY IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS PH (02) 4990 7714 E

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monkeys have also bred. Spider monkeys have never been bred here at the zoo in its whole history, and there's only two other facilities in Australia that have also bred spider monkeys, so some really fantastic achievements have been made at the zoo in the last 12 months. “Conservation is really important; it’s what drives us. “Educating people is also extremely important because I think the more people that are educated, the more we'll do for the environment, because as a species human beings are just taking over at a rate of knots, but if we were a little more informed and educated on what we can do, every little bit helps. “Now that we're no longer living on the seat of our pants in the sense of working other jobs as well as here, conservation's the next big challenge that we're going to start focusing on even more.” The first step towards that goal has been for the zoo to secure the property at the rear of the existing site, which gives them another 42 acres to expand into. Jason said they have a number of exciting plans for the land, including extending the conservation program and adding to their exciting, exotic animal exhibits.

We plan to go down the African Savannah path, with giraffes and zebra and that sort of species, which is really exciting,” he said.

“But what I'm more excited about is it'll give us some room to do some really good conservation-based projects, breeding and releasing some particular species of Australian natives that we're still working on.” For now, Jason is just looking forward to the busy summer season ahead, and the influx of visitors that flock to the zoo over the Christmas and school holiday period. Hunter Valley Zoo is open every day during the school holidays (excluding Christmas Day), from 9am to 4pm. There are a range of educational keeper talks each day showcasing everything from the zoo’s lions and cheetahs to the Capuchin monkeys, wombats and meerkats, while the zoo’s interactive yards allow you to pat and feed some of their collection of farmyard goats, sheep, deer, kangaroos and wallabies. Visitors who want an even more hands-on experience can also book one of the meerkat, emperor tamarin or marmoset encounters, which provide a 20-minute experience inside the exhibit feeding and interacting with the animals. For more information about Hunter Valley Zoo visit ■




Emma’s Cottage Vineyard 438 Wilderness Road, Lovedale 2320 • (02) 4998 7734 19 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

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

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 4 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 | 20 | JANUARY 2019


Meet the



Twenty-five years after vascular surgeon Robert Lusby planted the first seed of a dream to establish his own vineyard, Tintilla Estate is still thriving amongst the picturesque surrounds of Pokolbin. Celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2019, Tintilla Estate is well known for producing a range of distinctive, individual and award-winning wines and olive products. This month we’ve gone behind the scenes with Robert’s son James to harvest the rich history behind this award-winning family business. YHV: Tell me a little about the history of Tintilla Estate. James Lusby: Tintilla started in 1993. We cleared the land, put in the dams, prepared the soil and planted the vineyard ourselves. My parents always had an interest in wine and while living in California could see the potential of a small, dedicated, boutique winery. They chose the name Tintilla, a word used by the 17th-century writer Samuel Pepys in his diary interchangeably with claret to refer to red wine. We planted mainly red wines on our hillside block, so the name seemed appropriate. Which members of your family are involved and what are their roles? Every member of our family is involved to some extent. My dad helps out with mainly viticultural things while my mum is active in the

James (L) and Robert (R)

cellar door. I am the winemaker and manage the viticulture as well, my youngest brother John works in the cellar door, does the books and generally helps both in the winery and vineyard, my sister Justine helps with marketing, organising our presentation and also cellar door sales as does my brother Edward. Both Justine and Edward are part-time, having other jobs in Sydney. Can you describe Tintilla for anyone that has never visited before? We have a picturesque site surrounded by native trees and lined by olive trees. You look over the vines from the cellar door, down a gentle slope with various blocks with the vines orientated for best drainage and sunlight exposure. A large dam at the bottom of the hill leads to the creek bed soil where our Semillon is planted. ►

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(Continued) I believe the olive trees were planted before the vines - what made you choose to grow olives? We have over 500 olive trees planted in parts of the property that were not so suitable for grapes. We chose mainly eating varieties although many are dual purpose. Manzanillo, Sevillano, Frantoio, Verdale and jumbo Kalamata are the main varieties. We cure and pickle them on the property and sell them in the cellar door. We also have an orchard from which we produce seasonal jams and relishes. When were your grapevines planted and what varieties do you grow? Are your wines produced only from the grapes grown on the estate? Yes, we are a single vineyard producer, with Shiraz on the hill slope, Merlot at the top of the hill, Sangiovese also on a hilly nob, Semillon

and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted on the creek bed flat. We grow the grapes and make the wine with passion! Tell me a little about your background as a winemaker - when did your interest in it begin? Most of my training was done on the job, working under and learning from an outstanding winemaker, although I also did a TAFE diploma in viticulture with wine science. I have worked in the USA at a winery called Colombia Crest in Washington state. I came up from being a vineyard manager to winemaking, which I think gives you a much better understanding of the grapes and leads you into making better wines. What is your philosophy when it comes to making wine? Doing the viticulture ourselves and ensuring high quality we let the fruit speak for itself - not too much interference but striving for excellence. How much wine do you produce each year and what varieties do you produce? We do between 40-60 tonne of our fruit and an additional 2040 tonne of contract winemaking here at Tintilla Estate. We produce Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Cab Sav and Sangiovese of which we were the first to plant it here in the Hunter Valley. With these varieties, we make dry table wines, blends, sweet wine, sparkling, RosĂŠ and fortified (Ports), something for everyone we hope. I believe you had some success at wine shows this year - tell me about the awards you have won and what you think makes Tintilla Estate's wines so special? Yes, we have been very lucky to have won a number of trophies and gold medals over the years, particularly with our aged Angus Semillon. Most recently we won a trophy for our Pebbles Brief Chardonnay 2016 for best-aged Chardonnay at the Hunter Valley Boutique Winemaker Show and a Top 100 in Winestate Magazine for our Reserve Shiraz 2017. These go with the trophies we have won over the years for our Merlot, Sangiovese and Shiraz. Do you have any special events or changes planned for 2019? Yes, we are having two long lunches, one on March 23rd, which â–ş


7 Days, 10am - 5pm 1686 Broke Road, Pokolbin Hunter Valley PH (02) 4998 6737 • yhv 22 | JANUARY 2019


Boutique Hunter Win es Kelman Vineyard has been producing high quality classic Hunter varietals since 1999. It has been awarded numerous medals this year and has been recognised by wine critic, James Halliday, for the winery and the individual wines. This trophy winning 2017 Shiraz was awarded 97 points at the 2018 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show. This is a powerful Hunter Shiraz, with fruit picked at optimal ripeness. Blackberries, cherries, plums and wonderful tannin and acid structure will provide many years of drinking pleasure. It needs time in the glass to show its multifaceted structure and depth of flavours.

is French themed, and one in September, which is Tuscan-themed. These are great events which we have been doing for 12 years. As this is also our 25th year here in the Hunter, we will be holding some celebration parties that are yet to be confirmed, but we will keep you posted! Tintilla Estate offers free tastings of their wines and olives 7 days a week from 10.30am until 6pm, for groups of less than 8. Private tasting experiences are available for groups of more than 8 for only $5 per person which includes a selection of boutique wines and a cheese and olive tasting plate (bookings recommended). Tintilla Estate's annual long lunches have become events not to be missed, with a delicious four course Lunch with Tintilla Estate wines to match. The French Provincial Long Lunch in March and Tuscan Long Lunch in September always sell out in advance. For more information visit ■

· Gold Medal and Trophy Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show, Best Red in Class 11 · Silver Medal NSW Small Winemakers Show · Bronze Medal Hunter Valley Wine Show

2 Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin Cellar Door open for tastings 7 days 10am - 4pm Phone 4991 5456

Organic Wines





Great Tasting • Award Winning • Certified Organic



Ascella is the largest certified organic vineyard in the Hunter Valley.


Located in the pristine Broke Fordwich region, Geoff and Barb welcome you to their picturesque Country Cellar Door. We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our Ascella friends and partners, to our vineyard family and to the sustainability of the environment and the land. Open 7 days a week, from 10am to 5pm 203 Thompsons Rd Milbrodale, NSW 2330 For further information call or text 6574 5275 – 0431 357 105 ●




Ph (02) 4991 7922 | E

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Relax and Recharge


When the proprietors of the Hunter Valley’s And the Winner is Oscars purchased the café in 2011, they had a really good vision for the café and its potential. Many would call it foresight. Fast forward almost eight years, and the café is a thriving ‘hub’ in the middle of Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village – a favourite meeting spot for locals and a place to rest and revive for weary (and hungry!) visitors. More affectionately known simply as Oscars, the café is a family run business. Owners and husband and wife team, Gerald and Josie Morillo, are also the friendly faces that greet diners on a daily basis. “We are very hands-on and run most of the business ourselves,” says Josie. “But we also have a great, loyal team who have become like a family to us. Without them, a lot of what we do wouldn’t be possible.” For Josie and Gerald, their love for food and hospitality is in their blood. “We extend our family dining experience with our customers and welcome them with open arms. It really is motivating when we are able to put a smile on their faces. It’s not only priceless but very rewarding,” says Gerald. “We offer something quite unique to the Valley. What started out as a chicken shop has evolved into a modern café and dining experience. We cater to large groups and families and offer our menu to dine in or take away. Its fast, fresh and delicious. We also were the first café to introduce local speciality coffee in Pokolbin and continue to do so.” Josie says that one of the things she loves most about Oscars is its location. “We are located in the Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village, which is a really popular destination for visitors. The change of season makes our location quite beautiful, and it can be totally different from

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one day to the next. We have lovely Ornamental Pear Trees, which shade the area beautifully in summer – making the huge alfresco deck a great place to dine. “They transform from a deep green to a burnt orange leaf in autumn before shedding their leaves, then they produce a beautiful pink flower in spring and becomes full shade again by the end of the year. It really is a magical outlook,” she said. But it’s not just the outlook that draws crowds; the hearty, wholesome, home-cooked style of food is something to write home about as well, with the most popular item on the menu the houseburgers – full of flavour and the portions are large, so diners never leave hungry. “My favourite dish on the menu has to be our beer battered barramundi,” says Josie. “It’s a classic. And you can’t really go past a good fish and chips. Our signature dish is probably our roasted BBQ chicken with Lebanese garlic dip, chips and salad, which are made fresh daily. We serve these individually or for the whole family.” “There are many options for the kids, large groups, tours and even the people with dietary requirements – Gluten-Free, Dairy-free, and Vegan/Vegetarian,” she adds. Never a couple to sit still for long, the couple are constantly reinventing the menu and tweaking the dining experience.

“We have had a makeover recently and this, coupled with our new menu, has resulted in some exciting things in store. We have a modern contemporary feel and are surrounded by some of the best views in the Hunter Valley.” “I still pinch myself with all the changes we have made over the years as there is still so much we want to do and then I look how far we have come and am so incredibly proud,” says Josie. Of course, so much energy needs fuel and what better way to fuel a busy café owner than a great cup of coffee. “My perfect cup of coffee has to be an espresso – full-bodied, fruity, smooth and leaves you wanting more!” says Josie.

Check out Oscars today at Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village. Bookings are not essential but can be made by calling 4998 7355 or for more information you can visit

Weddings Amongst the Vines The charming colonial buildings, stunning landscaped grounds and sweeping verandahs of Calais Estate provide the perfect setting for your wedding. Catering for up to 250 guests, choose from a selection of modern-style menu dishes or create a personalised menu for your special day. To enquire, please email

(02) 4998 7231

Introducing the Hunter Valley's

The Lad y in

Pin k



Tempranillo | Nebbiolo | Sangiovese | Nebbiolo RosÊ Get your taste for adventure today at ...Pokolbin Estate. Winery – 2017 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion

Pokolbin Estate Vineyard 298 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin | Open 7 Days 9am - 5pm PH 4998 7524 |

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Top Wine Varieties for Summer WORDS QUENTIN VON ESSEN

Summer – the season of lazy days endless picnics, BBQ's, long lunches, warm alfresco evenings and poolside aperitifs. With the change to warmer temperatures, so too comes a change in our drinking habits. Think crisp, refreshing white wines – lighter, fruit and acid-driven dry or slightly off-dry whites served well chilled. These are wines that are compatible with salads, shellfish, seafood, pasta, fresh cheese, anti-pasta and white meats. Don’t forget the reds! With the warmer weather, you may well be reaching for a Rosé or a glass of white and thinking of shelving your reds for the Summer. However, you shouldn’t be abandoning these red wines so quickly. Many red wines have qualities that work well in the hot weather, lighter, with lower alcohol levels, higher acidity and subtle tannins. Chilled red wines can be wonderful on a hot Summer day. Many Australian Pinot Noirs can be lightly chilled without losing personality and character, and grapes such as Gamay, Sangiovese, Barbera and Grenache that originated in Mediterranean climates, are just perfect for drinking in warm weather. While Shiraz doesn't fit the profile of a light-bodied red, it's the exception to the rule and the ultimate Summer BBQ wine.

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Summer’s best wines are typically the ones in my and your glass at the time. At least, that is the way it should be, but how to find the best Summer wine is really a matter of personal preference. To help you reach for the perfect bottle every time, we’ve compiled a selection of wines to get you through the season... In the New World of whites, there aren’t many surprises. Sauvignon Blanc with its crisp, herbal edge and refreshing acidity gets a thumbs up from many wine drinkers, but there are so many other great Summer wines from which to choose. Chardonnay – the diva of differences. To beat the heat, choose an unoaked Chardonnay without the heavy, buttery texture of malolactic fermentation. It’s a simple and effective way to compete with the warmer temperatures and superb with shellfish such as crab and prawns, grilled fish, chicken dishes, pasta and risottos. As a tangy, dry white wine that is perfectly light and fresh with fruity flavours such as pear, apple and melon, Pinot Gris is a Summer wine through and through and can be paired with a variety of food with ease. With its fresh, tropical fruit characters, un-oaked style, and sheer drinkability, Australian Verdelho is very much the crowd-pleaser and perfect when served with a host of spicy Asian cuisines including Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes, or simply enjoyed on its own on a warm day. While it is widely grown throughout Australia, the Hunter Valley consistently produce some of the best examples of this variety. With or without food, as a pre-dinner drink or as a refresher at the end of a long, hot day, Hunter Valley Semillon is the wine to drink this Summer. Naturally low in alcohol and almost devoid of residual sugar, Hunter Semillon is the ideal partner for the season's lighter fish and seafood meals. When young, it's great with fresh oysters, cold cooked prawns and simply cooked white-fleshed fish. With some age, it is wonderful when served with smoked trout or salmon, roast chicken, lobster with burnt butter and other flavoursome dishes. A glass of Sparkling Wine is always appropriate, regardless of the time of year (or time of day). But in Summer a glass of bubbly feels almost mandatory. The wine’s temperature and the bubbles themselves make it a refreshing, cooling beverage, and its high acidity makes it perfectly suited to Summer foods such as ham, salads, chilled soups and a variety of seafood. Rosé undeniably took first place as last year’s drink of the season and continues to be everywhere this Summer, especially when seafood such as tuna or swordfish is on the menu. This wine is also the perfect partner to barbecued prawns, Moreton Bay bugs and eggplant skewers. This Summer make sure you try something new – a variety you have never tried before. When you pair Summer whites with Summer foods in the company of good friends and loved ones, you just can’t go wrong.

RRP $33.50 RRP $25

RRP $25

RRP $24 RRP $30

RRP $24

Summer WINES

Running Horse Wines

First Creek Wines

Irongate Estate

From the Hunter’s newest and most unique cellar door located in Broke Fordwich comes this exceptional Shiraz. Summertime in Australia is pretty much hot days and warm evenings, BBQ’s and outdoor eating. By bottling this wine early after 6 months in a 2,300 litre foudre barrel this Shiraz retains a lot of its primary fruit flavours. With very soft tannins it can also be enjoyed slightly chilled. Perfect for sipping under the shade of a Big Umbrella. FOOD MATCH A classic with Mediterranean mezze platters and Italian pastas, perfect at BBQ’s. A very safe bet. CELLARING A deep cherry red colour so will handle at least 5 years of cellaring, though made to get up and running early.

Think dry, traditional and European – the new First Creek vintage reflects a true Rosé style in colour, aroma and taste using premium Hunter Valley fruit. TASTING This wine offers a beautiful long palate showing strawberry and rosehip with refreshing zesty acid. The perfect summer drink! FOOD MATCH A perfect accompaniment to antipasto. CELLARING Drink while young and fresh.

Iron Gate Estate is a unique wine estate nestled in the heart of the Hunter Valley with a history of individual flair reflected in both its architecture and winemaking philosophy. This wine is a carefully assembled blend of red and white fruit grown on the Estate which has resulted in a pink rose-blush wine of complexity and style. TASTING With aromas of redcurrant, passionfruit, melon and raspberry and an easy-going palate of red berries and a refreshingly drying finish, this wine is sure to please. FOOD MATCH Delicious on its own or will complement cold meats, tapas, seafood and poultry dishes. CELLARING Drink now or cellar up to 4 years.

Mistletoe Wines

The choicest fruit and the most careful crushing techniques are used to create Ascella’s Reserve Chardonnay. From the secluded Thompsons Valley in Broke Fordwich where culture, tradition and the environment are respected and nurtured. TASTING Layers of primary fruit characters and creamy notes with extended palate. A zesty elegant Chardonnay with ripe peach and orange blossom lift with spicy French oak. FOOD MATCH Delicious with seafood, chicken, turkey, spicy vegetarian, or with any hard organic cheese or soft brie. CELLARING 8 to 10 years.

2016 Bookmakers Umbrella Shiraz

2017 Home Vineyard Semillon Another high quality, off-dry Semillon from the Mistletoe Home Vineyard. Hand harvested from low cropped 25 year old vines, cold fermented without any oak influence. TASTING Bottled early to retain the crisp acidity and lemon grapefruit characters typical of its vineyard. FOOD MATCH Perfectly suited to freshly shucked oysters, ideal for a Summer Luncheon. CELLARING Drink up until 2025.

2018 Hunter Valley Rosé

Ascella Organic Wines

2018 Hunter Valley Rosé

2014 Hunter Valley Chardonnay

Ernest Hill Wines

2018 Rosalie Joan Verdelho This cheeky little Portuguese varietal is renowned for its lovely balance of acid and tropical fruit characters. Ripe passion fruit, melon and pineapple fruit characters make this crisp fruity wine the perfect drink for those balmy Summer days. FOOD MATCH A perfect accompaniment for tapas, paella or a hot Thai green chicken curry! CELLARING A wine to be enjoyed whilst young and fresh.

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Holidays & Beyond

WINE COUNTRY (without the wine) FOR KIDS! WORDS MICHELLE MEEHAN - Features Writer

When you think of Hunter Valley Wine Country, you imagine sampling a selection of cellar doors along the tasting trail or long, lazy lunches at one of the gourmet restaurants and cafés. But the region doesn’t just cater to wine connoisseurs or foodies – it’s also the perfect destination for a family-friendly holiday, with ample activities to keep the kids entertained. GORGEOUS GARDENS

The stunning beauty of the Hunter Valley Gardens is the top of the list for many families making their way to wine country. Featuring eight kilometres of walking paths winding through 14 hectares of gardens, the site is a natural wonderland with more than 6,000 trees, 600,000 shrubs and over one million ground cover plants, plus waterfalls, statues, murals and more. Ten individually themed gardens showcase the artistry of gardens around the world, with everything from the Italian Grotto to the Oriental Garden offering a lush landscape of both native and exotic varieties of plants. Of course, the biggest highlight for the younger members of the family is always the fantastical Storybook Garden, taking visitors on a journey through childhood dreams, memories, and fantasies. Larger-than-life nursery rhyme characters and spectacular murals greet you at every corner, offering excellent photo opportunities as you join Humpty Dumpty on the wall, Jack and Jill as they tumble down the hill and Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A festive trip to the Gardens also allows you to take in the magical sight of the annual Christmas Lights Spectacular, with more than two million lights helping the Gardens take on a whole new level of excitement after dark. There are also carnival rides, food vans and entertainment, with day/night tickets available.

Hunter Valley Horse Riding

A number of the region’s wineries also have beautifully landscaped gardens to explore, with Constable Estate at Pokolbin offering countless gardens including the Oak Walk, Sculpture Park, Camellia Garden, Secret Garden, Millennium Walk, Rose Garden, and more, while Hunter’s Dream Estate has the most exquisite Japanese Gardens.


As this month’s cover story suggests, the Hunter’s wine country is also a prime destination for animal lovers of all ages, with countless exotic and native species on show at the superb Hunter Valley Zoo at Nulkaba (see full story page 16). But it’s not the only place you can get up close and personal with four-legged creatures during a trip to the Hunter. Head out to Lovedale and saddle up for a day of equestrian fun at Hunter Valley Horse Riding and Adventures. Ride the unique and beautiful Molly Morgan Range and experience the spectacular views of the Hunter Valley Wine Country and Lower Hunter, with riding available every day for both beginners and more experienced riders. Older children and adults can hit the trail alongside a qualified guide, or watch the native wildlife begin to emerge at twilight on one of the spectacular sunset rides, while tiny tots and kids under eight years can hop on a pony for a gentle stroll over the fields while spotting a few of the local kangaroos. Children can also visit the aviary to say hello to the parrots, guinea pigs and chooks. There will be plenty of farm animals to meet and greet at Starline Alpacas as well, with the peaceful Broke property offering farm stay accommodation in one of 16 charming cottages. Guests can help collect some eggs from the hens for breakfast or grab a fishing line and see if they can catch a fish from the well-stocked dam, before joining ►

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 #tintillaestate yhv 28 | JANUARY 2019

The British Lolly Shop

With specially designed Junior Go Karts as well as twin seaters, the track caters for kids as young as three years of age riding alongside their parents, ensuring a fun day out for the whole family. Those looking for even more fun at the one location can also have a go at the new archery range, which features moveable targets and space for 14 people at any one time. Slow things down a notch and take a ride on two wheels at Hunter Valley Resort, where you can enjoy a fun Segway tour that starts outside the brewery and explores the off-road tracks and trails of this vast bushland property. Travel along an old 1880s stock route and encounter scores of kangaroos, awesome views of the Brokenback Ranges and even the odd wombat, before heading back through the Resort’s vineyard to finish the journey.


non-staying visitors to feed the alpacas and other farm animals from 9am – 3pm daily.


There are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the sensational Summer weather and get active in the great outdoors around the Hunter Valley. Why not combine your trip to the Hunter Valley Gardens with a round at the nearby Hunter Valley Aqua Golf and Putt-Putt. Located within the Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village, the site includes a golf driving range with an incentive - the chance to win prizes by landing a ball in the floating nets on the lake. Prizes include cash jackpots, as well as vouchers to the finest restaurants, cellar doors, golf courses and hot air balloon rides, with clubs catering for golfers of all ages. Add a little extra fun to your visit with a round on the 18-hole Putt Putt course beside the lake, which offers a challenging undulating course that includes the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill’ 11th hole, where making a bogey is a good score! The Hunter is also home to another new putt-putt course, built as a scaled model of Bathurst’s famous Mount Panorama racing car track. Measuring 40m wide by 80m deep, the golf course features Mount Panorama themed artwork and signage throughout and obstacles shaped from racing car parts. Players putt through V8 supercar rims, between V8 supercar brake disks and down Conrod Straight. Not surprisingly the high-octane themed course can be found on site at Go Karts Go Hunter Valley at Kearsley, which features the biggest four-stroke outdoor go-kart track and the fastest four-stroke karts in the Hunter.

Aside from the Gardens and the golf, the Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village is also home to a range of unique boutiques and mouth-watering destinations that are sure to pique the interest of every member of the family. The Hunter Valley Gift and Crystal Shop offers everything from amethyst and citrine to tourmaline and zebra jasper, with a chance to fossick for natural crystals, polished cut crystal hearts and spheres, crystal jewellery and much more. There is also a large range of Himalayan salt lamps to choose from in varying shapes and sizes, which are said to cleanse and purify the air while assisting with allergies and adding a calming light source to the home. Kids will be hard-pressed to go past The British Lolly Shop without stopping in, with two life-sized toy British soldiers guarding the entrance to the sweetest of destinations. Choose from nine varieties of bonbons as well as lemon sherbets, humbugs, Blackpool Rock, toffee, nougat, chocolate sweets and bars, with some of the finest quality confectionery and gourmet products from the UK. Cupcake Espresso and the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company will also provide the perfect sweet treat to enjoy while reading the latest children’s story or picture book from Village Books, which also stocks soft toys and handcrafted gift items. For locals looking for some free school holiday fun for the kids around the Hunter Valley, Cessnock City Council puts on a wide range of workshops and activities at their network of libraries, most of which have little or no associated costs. From building a kid-sized cubby with a pile of old newspapers to exploring how our amazing bodies work, making pretend snot, and taking home a piece of delicious edible skin layer cake, there’s sure to be plenty to fascinate, educate and keep the kids busy. For more details on the events, dates and times, visit ■

Cheers Bus

Hunter Valley Guided Winery Tours

Secure your online booking and tour information at • Full or half day, private or public guided boutique tours in an air conditioned mini bus or hire car, seven days per week • Pick up from your local vineyard accommodation or group pickups only from Sydney (via Morisset train station), Central Coast, Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton areas and be escorted throughout the day • Witness the beauty and tranquillity of Hunter Wine Country on route to our or your chosen boutique cellar doors, brewhouse tastings, as well as vodka, schnapps, cheese, olive and chocolate tastings Photo taken at Ivanhoe Vineyard • Call John on 0408 987 057 29 | JANUARY 2019 yhv


Australia Day Weekend!

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yhv 30 | JANUARY 2019



If you’ve got a sweet tooth and you’re visiting the Hunter Valley vineyards, there’s no better place to go than a restaurant focussed wholly and solely on dishing up delicious desserts. Established in 2011 by former Sydneysiders Fernando and Renata Antao, Sabor Dessert Bar offers more than 50 mouthwatering creations including Fernando’s home-grown speciality – his Portuguese grandmother’s famous chocolate mousse. This month Your Hunter Valley Blackboard Magazine has gone behind the glass-fronted display cabinets to discover a little more about a couple of the sweetest restaurateurs in the Hunter. YHV: Tell us a little about both of your backgrounds – where did your interest in desserts begin? Fernando: Both my parents originated from Portugal and Renata was born in Brazil, and when it comes to food, Europeans and South Americans alike love their food. Everything from celebrations and family gatherings seem to revolve around food, and dessert was always an equally important part of the meal. It’s how a meal finishes that leaves you satisfied, and often is the lingering afterthought of a meal. When did you first learn how to make your grandmother’s famous chocolate mousse and what do you think is so special about it? I started watching my mum in the kitchen at a very early age, probably six or seven-years-old, and she would normally let me do some of the mixing of ingredients. I would say I was approximately 14 when mum allowed me to make the mousse from scratch by myself; it wasn't quite the same as hers, but I have a feeling that I've improved over the last 30 years. My grandmother lived in Portugal, and every couple of years we would go over to visit, but she never got a chance to teach me herself, probably because I was too busy playing with my cousins who I hadn't seen for the last two years.

Fernando and Renata Antao

I think it's special because it's not made with any cream like a conventional chocolate mousse, and the fact that my grandmother used port wine in her mousse - way back then it was used as a preservative as there were no fridges. My mother continued to use port, and today I do too – not only is it following my grandmother’s recipe, it gives it a flavour and texture you don't normally find in the run-of-mill mousse. When did you first become involved in the hospitality industry and why? I was always involved in hospitality from a young age, working in KFC and graduating to cafes in and around Sydney while I was studying. I worked in the kitchen making pastries and cakes in a small cafe in a Westfields in Pagewood in my early 20s. I always had a passion for design and building though, so I was in the architectural and building game for over ten years but sadly grew tired of all the red tape that came with it, so we bought a pizzeria in Pyrmont, which ran quite successfully. That's where I started making my grandmother's chocolate mousse to sell in the pizzeria. It was so popular that people would come into the pizzeria just to buy tubs and tubs of our chocolate mousse or come in and have a coffee with our mousse. It was then we started to wholesale the chocolate mousse to well over 100 stores in NSW and Queensland. When did you first visit the Hunter Valley and why did you and Renata want to move here? We started visiting the Hunter Valley probably when we were 20 years old, always with a group of friends and generally for the June long weekend when it was nice and cold and we'd buy some wine, some local cheese, olives and of course chocolates and then retreat to our accommodation. After a few visits, Renata and I started coming up to the Hunter three or four times a year as a couple. We loved it up here because it was so serene and relaxing, and the backdrop of the mountains and vineyards was so beautiful. ►

31 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

We really didn't set out to achieve any great heights; it was just a place where people could come and relax and enjoy our desserts. We also didn't really think it would get that busy or that there would be such a demand. We were very mistaken! The day of our ‘soft opening’ we had well over 200 or 300 people come through the doors including a large car club, and with no staff we took the orders, made the coffee, plated the dessert, ran the food and drinks to customers and then cleared the tables and did the washing, ALL ON OUR OWN! I still remember Renata being in the kitchen that first weekend crying and saying ‘we can't do this, it's out of control’ – that was only the first weekend! We quickly learnt that we needed help, so with the help of a local resident Robyn (who ended up being our first employee) who approached saying she would love to come and help out, and a few more staff we were able to grow Sabor into what it is today. A couple of years later we had a pastry chef by the name of Nicole Fang come knocking on our door and helped us take Sabor to the next level of culinary delight with all her expertise and knowledge in pastry and chocolate. Here we are today, nearly eight years later in Pokolbin because we needed a larger venue to cope with the demand. I believe you have more than 50 different desserts, with the menu changing all the time. What inspires your choice of desserts? Yes, for quite a few years now we've built our range of desserts to 50 on the menu, and there are some days where we think... WHY!!! Inspiration comes from many places, whether it be Nicole's background (Continued) and foresight in pastry, my Portuguese background or Renata's Brazilian heritage. For example, one of Brazil's favourite ingredients in dessert is After having travelled several times overseas around Europe and Asia and also around Australia we quickly realised it was the only holiday caramel or as they call it ‘Doce de Leite’. We use this in a couple of our spot that we really connected with and we swore to each other that one desserts, one being our Biku Banoffee and the other, our very popular Flaming Chocolate and Caramel Brownie, which we serve in a hot day we would move here. skillet, pour whiskey over it and then set it alight. Also our yearly trips What made you decide to set up Sabor in the Hunter and what to Bali, we find both inspiration there and just the time away helps us were you hoping to achieve? refresh the mind and gives us the energy to return to Sabor and try new As I mentioned we would visit the Hunter several times a year and combinations of flavours. being from Sydney we would often go out for dinner somewhere and What do you think is the key to creating a truly memorable then move on to one of our favourite haunts for a coffee and dessert, dessert? but we found that with most restaurants in the Hunter Valley having a I think dessert, and food, in general, must satisfy all the senses. two-course minimum we couldn't do that here. Having a love of desserts It firstly must have a visual appeal to attract someone to it, then the and with mum’s influence, we thought we could do both, pursue flavour combination, of course, is very important and so too is texture. our love of desserts and create a location where people could come There must be a level of smoothness and crunch to almost every and just have coffee or wine and dessert, sit and relax and enjoy the dessert. surroundings. Do you have any exciting plans in store for 2019? That's when Sabor was born in Lovedale on our property in the old We always have something new coming up. Generally, it’s a new Monahan Estate cellar door, which we lovingly renovated and turned dessert we are planning, but we do have something exciting that we are into a dessert bar. We decided early on that we weren't going to make planning for our menu in 2019... but you'll just have to stay tuned like the run-of-the-mill cakes by the slice, but instead create individual everyone else to find out! ■ desserts that were to serve one person.

The choice is hard at Sabor!

“Largest beer range

Massive Wine Sale at The Garden Cellars $50 cases and $144 cases available throughout January.

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


CELLARS yhv 32 | JANUARY 2019

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


Visit BOYDELL’S ESCAPE for a Unique and Romantic Getaway WORDS DI VON ESSEN

While we like to think that we have our finger on the pulse of everything that happens in and around the Hunter Valley, we have to (reluctantly) admit that this one slipped past our eagle-eyes! What we did know was that Boydell's is a boutique vineyard in East Gresford. Owned and operated by Daniel and Jane Maroulis, Boydell's produce premium Estate wines from the grapes grown on their picturesque property on the banks of the Allyn River. Daniel has a long background in agronomy, working all over the country with a range of different crops and commodities. The couple both have a passion for good wine and decided, just over three years ago to combine both experience and passion and raise their family of four daughters on this pristine spot in the Hunter Valley. The vineyard is steeped in history and is arguably the site of the first vineyard in New South Wales, having been settled by Charles Boydell in 1826. Boydell and wine veteran Dr Henry Lindeman first established wine grape production in the area and, like Charles, Daniel crafts quality, boutique wines from the grapes grown on this picturesque and historic farm. They have a great range of varieties on offer - the sparkling Verdhelo is to die for. So now to the part of this story we didn’t know. Boydell's is now home to Boydell's Escape – a very special tented campsite. But if you prefer five-star lodging to a bit of bush-tucker in a swag – then replace the word camp with GLAMP, because at Boydell’s you’ll find a glamping experience that is unrivalled in the Hunter Valley. Spend your stay within a luxuriously appointed eco African Safari Tent positioned not only for privacy but also to soak up the glorious views of both vineyards and lush grazing paddocks dotted with kangaroos. The tent is the real-deal – 100% authentic and imported from Africa.

“We wanted to make something very genuine, and that would withstand the Australian conditions. The tent is made with such integrity it is very comfortable in all Australian seasons,” said Jane. “It was quite a process just getting it to the property. We then excavated an area of the farm with the most spectacular views of the Allyn Valley, built a very large deck out of recycled printer cartridges and plastics and then began the process of erecting the 52sqm safari tent. After the solar power and water tanks were installed, we furnished it with pieces from all over to give it a luxe feel.” Think uber indulgent copper bath, luxurious toiletries and a peaceful nights sleep under a silk mosquito canopy over the king size bed that has been impeccably made using the finest of linen. Daniel said the uniqueness of the wine produced by Boydell’s also inspired them to create an experience that is really different to anything else that is available. “Our wine isn’t run of the mill, so neither is our accommodation. We wanted to give people an exclusive and unique experience. There really is nothing else like it around, and its popularity is soaring. We had lots of fun creating it and enjoy meeting the guests that come to stay,” said Daniel. One would expect that such a surge in popularity might ignite the desire to add more tents to the property, but Jane says they have no plans to expand at this stage. “Our guests love the fact they are the only guests who have access to wander through the vines, paddle down the river, or just enjoy the privacy of the Safari Tent on this 200-acre property. The benefits for the guests is that they have absolute privacy,” she said. Packages include a delicious breakfast, accommodation for 2, a gourmet DIY bbq, a bottle of Boydell's wine, access to farmland for walks and the pristine Allyn River for stand-up paddle boarding and relaxing. Additional treats such as in-house massages, a private chef and wine tasting, picnic lunch hampers and special packages for proposals are available. The only limit is your own imagination. For more information and bookings visit

33 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

“The timber sleepers on about 2.5 kilometres of track were burnt, making the track unusable. We also lost a rail bridge. Twelve of the 16 restored non-air coal hoppers were damaged to varying degrees, and a 100-year-old brake van was destroyed. There were more unrestored hoppers and freight wagons that were destroyed. These cannot be replaced as there simply are no more in existence. “The response (from the community) was incredible. Other railway organisations offered us rollingstock and help. Many businesses held fundraising events on our behalf. Kennards Hire Rail Division loaned us track maintenance equipment free of charge. We used our fundraising funds to purchase ballast at a discount. “Used concrete sleepers were donated and continue to be donated. Track mounted excavators, and other vehicles have been provided free of charge to help with track repairs. WORDS MICHELLE MEEHAN - Features Writer “Swietelsky Rail Australia have provided labour and equipment to rebuild the track, free of charge. They plan to help us rebuild all of the For the past four decades, the Richmond Vale track to Pelaw Main and possibly extend the track further, following our Railway Museum has been preserving and long-term plans. celebrating the Hunter’s rich railway and mining “We have rebuilt, with help, the Mulbring Road branch line. The last heritage. 400 metres was recently accredited so that we can run the full length of that line – 1.4 kilometres. “The train trips along this line are only short shuttle services, but at But a devastating bushfire in September 2017 almost stopped the notleast we are running trains. That was our priority to be able to reopen. for-profit organisation’s work in its tracks, ripping through the historic “We re-opened on 4th March 2018, six months after the fire. I think site and causing $1 million worth of damage to the railway and historic we surprised a lot of people by re-opening so soon. But that is evidence rolling stock. of the amount of support we received.” The fire destroyed two kilometres of track, as well as stainless steel For those looking for something to do with the kids these school passenger cars, a 100-year-old break van and at least 30 coal hoppers. holidays, the Richmond Vale Railway Museum offers a fun and exciting It was a devastating blow to the scores of volunteers who, since insight into the region’s rich coal mining and railway heritage. Visitors the organisation was formed in 1979, have dedicated their time to preserving and restoring the legacy of the J. & A. Brown Company on the can take a ride on its restored steam or diesel locomotives on the first three Sundays of each month and every Sunday during school holidays. site of the old Richmond Main colliery at Richmond Vale. There are also miniature train rides, outdoor mining and rail Driven by their passion for the project, and a generous outpouring exhibits, and a souvenir shop, as well as a fascinating mining museum, of support from the community and businesses, the volunteers have which is set up in the former colliery administration office. The worked tirelessly since the fire to repair the damage, with the site museum showcases a large range of artefacts, maps and photos, which officially reopening to the public on March 2018. Now they are gearing up to celebrate its milestone 40th anniversary documents the history of the Richmond Main Colliery, the development in 2019 and Richmond Vale Railway Museum secretary Tracey Hamilton of the South Maitland Coalfields, the equipment used and the social impact of coal mining on the local communities. said it was an exciting time, with plans for a public party as part of the The site is ideal for a fun family day out, with shady picnic areas and Family Fun Fest on September 28 and 29. a canteen selling hot and cold food, as well as drinks, ice creams and Before then it will be almost business as usual as the volunteers snacks. continue to open the site to the public and work behind the scenes to repair or replace what was damaged by the fire. “The day after the fire we were on site to assess the damage. Several Gates open at 9.30am and close at 4pm. For more information of us were doing media interviews, and we all said the same thing: ‘This visit will not stop us. We will be back’,” Tracey said.

Unique History Arises from the Ashes

yhv 34 | JANUARY 2019

What's On at the Visitor Information Centre The sunny January holidays is a perfect time to visit and explore a wonderful array of activities. Come and enjoy some of our favourites – beer, cheese, chilli products, gelato, chocolate, gourmet condiments, liqueurs, honey, desserts, olives, cycling, markets and so much more. Oh, and of course the wine – there are more than 150 cellar doors to savour! You can start your wine tasting experience right here at the Visitor Information Centre with a tasting of boutique wines from the ‘Small Family Winemakers of the Hunter Valley’ group. Award-winning wines from wineries such as Ivanhoe, Moorebank, Lambloch, Ernest Hill, Peterson House, Savannah, Peterson Wines and The Parched Crow Wine Company are all on tasting throughout January. The Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre is the perfect place to begin your journey. Stop off for a coffee at the café, then pop in and talk to our friendly, knowledgeable staff – they’ll be able to answer any questions you have about the local area and point you in the right direction. Our outdoor concert season is about to kick off, and 2019 sees the Hunter Valley welcome acclaimed local and international acts. Concert transfers and accommodation are selling fast for sensational headliners including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Butler Trio and Missy Higgins, Kylie Minogue, Nelly and Bryan Adams – so don’t leave it to the last minute – pop in and let us assist you to arrange your ultimate concert experience.

Melissa George

Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre

There’s a full calendar of annual events to enjoy throughout 2019 as well. Lock these dates into your diary now! February

• Stomp! – Immerse yourself in the fun of grape picking, stomping grapes and bottling wine! • Crush Party – Grape picking, sorting, stomping and a hearty banquet lunch • Shakespeare in the Vines – performing the much loved, A Midsummer Night’s Dream • The Sapphires – A multiple award-winning play


• Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival – Everything good about the ‘50s and ’60s • Vine to the Glass – Celebrate vintage, a must for wine lovers who enjoy getting their hands dirty • Cloud Wine – The Hunter’s newest garden party


• Hunter Valley Air Show – Excitement and energy fills the sky above Cessnock Airport • Hunter Valley Night Glow – Hot air balloons inflated, tethered and illuminated • The Gum Ball – A Music lovers paradise • Italy in Broke – Italian food, wine, festivities and fun


• The Lovedale Long Lunch - a progressive style for food and wine lovers The Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre team look forward to inspiring you in 2019!

• Largest range of wine glasses in the Hunter Valley • Original artworks - all well priced • Amazing selection of colourful glass platters, vases and ornaments • Amusing collector teapots • Jewellery, seasonal scarves and handbags • Australian and Hunter Valley T-shirts and souvenirs

Over 3,000 colourful eclectic products to choose from... Come and enjoy a friendly Hunter Valley Experience!

Wine Glass Gallery Because great wine deserves a great wine glass

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

35 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

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Sabor in the Hunter


Hunter Dis�llery



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Talga Road

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Fleet St

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Australian Alpaca Barn


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Australian Alpaca Barn K9/K10 Australian Alpaca Barn (Morpeth) B19 Christmas Lane B18 Hunter Valley Gardens Shopping Village K10 Morpeth An�que Centre (Morpeth) C18 Mortels B16 Pokolbin Village K11 The Garden Cellars K10 Wine Glass Gallery K10


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37 | JANUARY 2019 yhv

Summer Dining Guide

RIDGEVIEW WINES & RESTAURANT Whether you are looking for a long lunch or a romantic evening, RidgeView Restaurant is perfect for Spring dining. Our Executive Chef Donna Hollis utilises quality local produce to create mouthwatering Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired dishes designed to entice the senses and enhance the flavour of our wines. So “Kopiaste” – come, eat, enjoy! 273 Sweetwater Rd, Pokolbin, MAP REF B7 | PH 6574 7332 | | OPEN Lunch & dinner from 12pm Thurs, All day dining from 9am Fri – Sun

HUNTERS QUARTER Hunters Quarter (HQ) is a relaxed and elegant dining destination, located in the Cockfighters Ghost Vineyard of Pokolbin, in the heart of the picturesque Hunter Valley. A culinary dream come true at Hunters Quarter with something for every occasion. Spiced crusted lamb rack with barley and caramelised onion ragout. 576 De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, MAP REF N10 | PH 4998 7776 | OPEN Monday evenings and Thursday thru till Sunday for lunch and Thursday thru Sat for dinner



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 and Green Curry Chicken.

Restaurant Cuvee located at Peterson House offers Modern Australian cuisine at its best. Our al-a-carte menu has been designed using fresh local produce – with seasonal menu changes, you will be sure to find something to please your palate.

Cnr McDonalds & Broke Rd’s Pokolbin | OPEN 7 Days for Lunch Dinner + Takeaway | PH 4998 7051 |


Cnr of Broke Road & Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin, MAP REF K14 PH 4998 7881 | | OPEN 7 days for Breakfast & Lunch


Blaxland Inn offers a warm and country ambience with friendly staff and great value meals. Dine on the verandah all year round or inside by our open fire during Winter. With an outdoor campfire too, you can relax and unwind whilst enjoying a truly Australian experience.

The Deck Café is a smart casual café that sits on the bank of the Gartelmann Dam. Serving great breakfasts and lunches, Piazza Doro coffee and award-winning Gartelmann wines from the cellar door.

2198 Broke Road, Pokolbin, MAP REF K12 | PH 4998 7550 | OPEN 7 days for Lunch & Dinner

701 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale, MAP REF G18 | PH 4930 9007 | OPEN Mon-Fri 8.30AM - 3.30PM | Sat-Sun 8AM - 3.30PM

yhv 38 | JANUARY 2019

SHOP Australian Alpaca Barn brea + lulu Exclusive Diamond Co. Candelabra Hunter Valley Christmas Shop Hunter Valley Gift & Crystal Shop

Oscars Hunter Valley

Peppers Creek Antiques

Taste of the Country

Southon Styles The Twig The Waiterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Friend Village Books Wison & Hunter Wine Glass Gallery

EAT Cupcake Espresso Oscars Hunter Valley

Wilson & Hunter

Taste of the Country The Cellar Restaurant

PAMPER Jolie Hair Makeup Beauty

SAVOUR Hunter Valley Chocolate Company KissOfire The British Lolly Shop

The Waiters Friend KissoFire

The Garden Cellars Hunter Honey Hive

ESSENTIALS Pokolbin Farm Shop Pokolbin Village Pharmacy

PLAY Aqua Golf and Putt Putt

The Cellar Restaurant 2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin

Your Hunter Valley Blackboard January 2019 Issue  

Welcome to 2019 and another year of life in the beautiful Hunter Valley! Last year saw some major changes to your favourite (and only!) loca...

Your Hunter Valley Blackboard January 2019 Issue  

Welcome to 2019 and another year of life in the beautiful Hunter Valley! Last year saw some major changes to your favourite (and only!) loca...