Two Rivers Vineyard at Denman is the toast of the Hunter Valley after earning a five-star rating in James Halliday’s 2017 Wine Companion and being named one of 10 dark horses to watch in the next 12 months.
Such recognition underscores the journey Two Rivers has made since vignerons Linda and Brett Keeping bottled their first vintage back in 1991.
“We started with a large vineyard but have evolved over the years,” Linda said. “We grow primarily whites, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Vognier and Marsanne - and some reds, but Semillon has been our flagship variety.”
The Stones Throw Semillon was named Sydney Morning Herald's best value white wine in 2011 and has earned 95 and 96-point scores from Halliday over the last three years.
“Our philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyard,” Brett said. “We are viticulturally based and believe that to have a long-term future you need to produce your own product and take it directly to the consumer.”
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Growing up in Merriwa, Brett has a strong agricultural background, having been named Hunter Farmer of the Year and also Viticulturist of the Year twice.
Linda’s parents started Richmond Grove Vineyard in the 1960s and Linda did a three-year stint with McGuigans during the Wyndam Estate days before she and Brett combined powers to step out on their own.
Their winemaker, Liz Jackson, is the current Hunter Winemaker of the Year.
“She is an absolute rising star of the Australian Wine Industry and has been making wine for Two Rivers since 2009,” Linda said “We are very fortunate.”
Liz believes the attention to detail to viticultural practices is reflected in the quality of the wine she is able to make.
“The block where the Stones Throw Semillon is grown shows true varietal and regional character; the fruit delivers great structure and intensity of flavour whilst retaining its own unique individual style.,” Liz said.
Damian Hogan, owner of boutique wine outlet The Lambton Fridge, in Elder Street, is a huge fan.
“Their wines are great value and of regular high quality,” he said. “Their Semillon regularly takes gold at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, which is basically the world championships of Semillon. They are very proactive in everything they do and they do everything right.”
The stunning Two Rivers Winery is home to the acclaimed ‘Custodians of the Landscape’ sandstone sculpture garden and also the vineyard cellar door.
“It’s great to have that physical home for the brand,” Linda said. “But we also have a great wine club, as well as numerous distribution outlets servicing our Newcastle and Sydney clients.”