Wednesday 19 December 2018

‘Monumental step’ in the history of Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley

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Brokenwood Wines will officially open the doors to its new $8 million cellar door development on Saturday.

The new development, which has been under construction for the past year, will be officially opened by co-founder James Halliday at an event for friends of Brokenwood on Friday.

Designed by Sydney-based architecture and design company Villa + Villa, the stunning new cellar door will be one of the largest in the Hunter Valley wine region, covering 1,400 square metres and able to accommodate more than 250,000 visitors annually.

It replaces the original cellar door built in 1975 by the winery’s founders James Halliday, Tony Albert and John Beeston.

“The new offering will provide customers with a world-class experience and allow more people to taste our wines than ever before,” managing director and chief winemaker Iain Riggs AM said.

“This is a monumental step in our brand’s history and we are beyond excited.”

The new complex, which has been designed with a mixed palette of natural woods and materials, will include a large tasting room that features circular tasting pods, an expansive outdoor terrace, two private tasting rooms, two private dining rooms, a wine museum and a lounge area.

The two dining venues led by Andrew and Janet Wright, known for The Cellar Restaurant at Hunter Valley Gardens, will include casual eatery, Cru Bar + Pantry and modern dining room, The Wood Restaurant.

The Wood Restaurant will be open for lunch daily and dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, offering contemporary Australian dishes with a strong focus on seafood. On the menu, guests will find fresh oysters, caviar, salt cod fritters with tarragon mayo and market fish with Stormy Bay clams, n’duja, caper and anchovy butter cooked en papillote.

The 90 seat restaurant will feature a large display of fresh seafood from the Sydney Fish Market, all of which will also be available for retail along with condiments, Normandy fish stew, oyster knives and a verjuice made by Brokenwood. Located out in the lounge area, Cru Bar + Pantry will be open for breakfast, lunch and snacks everyday, serving homemade pies, toasties, wood-fired pizzas and cheese and charcuterie for a more casual dining experience.

Premium and iconic Brokenwood wines will be available at both venues, including an Enomatic self-service dispenser that will serve rare wines not ordinarily available for tasting at the Cellar Door.

Other notable areas include a museum that overlooks the working barrel hall and KB’s Lookout, a unique space above the tasting room named in honour of the late Keith Barry (KB) who was the winery’s vineyard manager for 23 years.

The museum will be devoted to Brokenwood’s history, with displays of significant ephemera and iconic and aged wines and will host vertical tastings of flagship wines, blending exercises and other events.

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend “hobby” venture for three Sydney Lawyers, James Halliday, Tony Albert and John Beeston, into one of Australia’s most renowned premium wine labels.

The first vintage was picked in 1973 and the winery built in 1975. Iain Riggs AM joined Brokenwood as chief winemaker and managing director in late 1982, expanding the production to include premium white wines, including the crown jewel of the Hunter Valley, Semillon.

Brokenwood’s flagship wines are the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz – the only Hunter Valley Shiraz with ‘Exceptional’ status in the Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine – and the highly acclaimed ILR Reserve Semillon.

Photos: Chris Elfes.

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