Brokenwood was established in 1970 in the Hunter Valley and has become one of Australia’s premier wineries. The site of the first vineyard was originally intended to be a cricket ground but was bought by Sydney solicitors Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday (later the famous winemaker/wine critic), who planted cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Their first vintage was picked in 1973, and despite the original partners claiming to know little about viticulture, their wine quickly gained followers and much praise. New winery facilities were constructed in 1975 in order to deal with the increased production, and in 1978, adjacent land named the Graveyard Vineyard (due to unrealised plans to turn it into a cemetery) was purchased, which would later become the source for their flagship red wine. White grapes soon followed, with plantings of semillon, seen as a specialty of the Hunter region.
In addition to the vineyards in the Hunter Valley, Brokenwood also sources fruit from Beechworth (Victoria), McLaren Vale (South Australia), Margaret River (Western Australia), and from Orange and other vineyards in New South Wales, offering a variety of single-region wines and multi-region blends. Brokenwood’s flagship wine is the Graveyard Shiraz, sourced from the eponymous vineyard, and is only released in exceptional years when the highest-quality fruit is available. On several occasions, Brokenwood has ‘declassified’ a vintage (that is, use the grapes destined for their best wine to make a “second wine”), in order to maintain their high standards. Brokenwood also offers: the Quail Shiraz, a superb blend of fruit from the McLaren Vale and Hunter Valley; the HBA Shiraz, a blend of fruit from the aforementioned regions which is released after being in bottle for ten years; and the ILR Semillon (named after chief winemaker Iain Leslie Riggs), which is released after being in bottle for six years, to make the most of Semillon’s capacity to look its best after some ageing.
Brokenwood’s new cellar door is an architectural beauty, designed to showcase the enjoyment of great wine, with The Cru Bar + Pantry and The Wood Restaurant offering food, coffee and wine daily. Visit the Brokenwood website for more information on their range.