Australia's oldest winery is back in business

It has been a lonely three years for Australia’s oldest winery, Dalwood Estate.

FRESH START: Dalwood Estate closed in 2014 and has reopened in its 190th year thanks to an intensive revival project from Iris Capital.

FRESH START: Dalwood Estate closed in 2014 and has reopened in its 190th year thanks to an intensive revival project from Iris Capital.

Formerly known as Wyndham Estate, it shut down in 2014 when owner Pernod Ricard restructured his winemaking business for “commercial reasons”. 

A strong Australian dollar was making life difficult for winemakers across the country. 

But times have changed and Dalwood Estate – its original 1828 establishment name – is enjoying a resurgence. Iris Capital purchased the property in 2016, making it the third winery in a Hunter portfolio which includes Hungerford Hill Wines and Sweetwater Wines.

A rigorous 12-month renewal program has given the 260-acre property a new lease on life. Dalwood Estate now boasts a restored heritage-listed sandstone building, manicured lawns, a function centre, cellar door, restaurant, walking trails and public barbecue areas on the banks of the Hunter River.

The property also has a concert amphitheatre and Iris Capital chief executive Sam Arnaout said “some exciting announcements” would be made in the near future. 

“Dalwood was purchased in December 2016 and we have completed the 2017 vintage and are currently harvesting the Dalwood fruit for the 2018 vintage.

“As we speak the semillon and chardonnay are completely harvested and the shiraz will be picked in the next week or so.

“Bryan Currie is our winemaker at all three sites. During 2018 we will be re-launching the Dalwood wine brand which was established in 1828 with three Hunter Valley Wines: a 2017 chardonnay and shiraz and a 2018 semillon.”

Arnaout said he “can’t wait’ to share the new and improved Dalwood Estate with the community. It’s Australia’s oldest winery and the first winery in the country to establish a commercial shiraz vineyard.

An invitation-only launch event was held last month, catered by hatted chef Chris Thornton from Restaurant Mason and Mitch Steele and Luciano Cruz from MEET Restaurant. 

“In the coming months we aim to have the cellar door reopened and fully operational,” Arnaout said.

“We are planning that from the Easter long weekend we will be operating a cafe and cellar door, complimented by a wide range of spaces and areas available for events, functions, conferences and weddings.”

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