David Constable has a long history in the Hunter Valley wine scene, having owned vineyards since the 1960s.
He first owned Hungerford Hill with a group of friends, and it grew quickly including creating Australia’s first ‘bag in the box’ wine.
The vineyard was sold, but David later bought back 39 acres of the property, and planted the vines at what is now Constable Estate Vineyard in the 1980s.
Working with business partner Michael Hershon, the duo consistently won medals from early on.
“The first was a gold medal for our wine at the 1982 Royal Easter Show,” David said. “Our chardonnay was selected to be served in the Qantas first class cabin after it won a gold medal at the Sydney Top 100 competition.”
David opened a cellar door in the early 1990s, and these days it’s one of the only places you can find Constable Estate Vineyard’s wines.
“Nowadays we sell more than 90 per cent of our selection at the cellar door and some to local restaurants, but virtually no sales to bottle shops,” David said.
“We grow chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and the Hunter’s favourite, semillon, and our wines range from easy drinking through to our premium award-winning. Our wine club is very popular as we offer taste-only member wines, and private tastings for members and guests.”
An avid horticulturist, David has developed the property over 32 years, creating a number of beautiful gardens.
“My hobby is gardening, but eventually it got to the point where I felt they should be open to the public,” David said.
Visitors to the vineyard can wander through the oak walk, camellia garden, secret garden, millennium walk, and rose garden.
“I also am very keen on sculpture, and I’ve built up a collection of mainly bronzes. We now have about 30 of them,” said David.
Recently, he also added the Len Evans Memorial Lookout to the property.
“I wanted to acknowledge the fact that Len has done so much for wine generally, and particularly publicising the lower Hunter,” said David.
In 1991, David and his wife Ida also started chamber music festival, Music in the Hunter, with the 29th event to be held on September 20 this year.