About Brokenwood

Established in 1970 Brokenwood Wines is one of Australia’s most reputable premium wine labels and a must-visit in the Hunter Valley.

Consistently listed as a 5 star winery, Brokenwood is home to the famous Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, the highly acclaimed ILR Reserve Semillon, and the popular Cricket Pitch Range.

Visit our Cellar Door for a casual, private or group tasting, or if you’re a club member try a ‘Tour & Taste’ which gives you a unique behind the scenes look at how wine is made and the opportunity to taste straight from the barrel.

OUR HISTORY

The Establishment
1970 – 1972

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia’s most reputable wine labels.

Brokenwood was founded by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors, Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday, who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block was destined to be a cricket ground for the local community but was instead planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

The First Vintage
1973 – 1975

The first vintage was picked in 1973 and while none of the original partners claimed to know anything about viticulture, the wine received praise, and attracted a loyal following from the first vintage.

It was a labour of love for the partners, and the friends and family they conscripted to help who were seduced by the promise of clean country air, fine wine, food and company in exchange for help on the vineyard. Everyone pitched in to pick the grapes which were carried to the winery in buckets in the back seat of Len Evans’ Bentley. Weary bodies were put up in dorm-style accommodation which still remains today.

In 1975, a new winery was built to accommodate the growing production. Visitors helped themselves to a taste of the very limited and eagerly sought after boutique wine made by the weekend winemakers from a table standing in the shade of the first floor balcony.

Many of Australia’s most prominent wine identities ‘did their time’ in the vineyards at Brokenwood during the seventies.

The Formative Years
1978 – 1981

Growth was steady until the boom of 1978, when six new partners joined, allowing the purchase of the next door Graveyard Vineyard. Originally destined to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin, it was never used as such and instead planted with Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon.

The heavy clay soil resulted in vintages of low yield, but with extraordinary concentration of flavour in the berries, providing a distinctive wine style that is still evident in the Brokenwood red wines. The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is Brokenwood’s flagship wine, which is still sourced exclusively from this one vineyard.

In the same year, Brokenwood sourced fruit from outside the Hunter Valley for the first time – Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra, which was blended with Hunter fruit to make a premium red, creating the style that has been synonymous with Brokenwood for the last 20 years.

The First Whites
1982 – 1990

In 1982, the company extended its range to include white wines, notably the jewel of the Hunter Valley, Semillon. With this broadened scope, the partners decided to consolidate further growth with a Chief Winemaker/Managing Director.

Iain Riggs joined Brokenwood in 1982, introducing new winery equipment and facilities specifically for premium white wine production. Brokenwood was now capable of producing high quality white wine, which, since 1983, has been a significant part of its total production.

Brokenwood’s single vineyard philosophy has grown to capture the essence of our premium sites throughout Australia. The first single vineyard selection for the Graveyard Vineyard was in 1983. Since then our Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz has gained considerable international recognition. The Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine has it as the highest rated Hunter Valley red wine, listed as ‘Exceptional’.

OUR FLAGSHIP WINES

Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

The Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine was first released in 1991 and honoured the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz with ‘Outstanding’. The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz remains the only Hunter Valley Shiraz in the Classification and was elevated to the highest category of ‘Exceptional’ and has remained for each release since.

The Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine has achieved such prestigious recognition because the criteria for inclusion are objective and market-driven, and the Classification is regularly revised and updated.

The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz was named after original plans for the site which was to be a cemetery within Pokolbin, however it was never used as such. The first single vineyard selection for the Graveyard Vineyard was in 1983.

Originally planted with Shiraz and Cabernet, the heavy clay soil resulted in vintages of low yield but with extraordinary concentration of flavour in the berries, providing a distinctive and premium wine style.

Today the 15 hectare Graveyard Vineyard comprises solely of Shiraz and is broken up into a number of blocks named in good Brokenwood fun; Pa’s, 7 Acre, Bush, Duck’s, Road, Middle, End, Kat’s and Dog’s, State of Origin, Vegas and Trees.

As Brokenwood’s flagship wine, each new release is welcomed with the annual Graveyard Launch held in May. This exclusive event in the winery barrel shed sees around 300 guests on site for a day of beautiful dining, entertainment, and the first release tasting.

ILR Reserve Semillon

The ILR Reserve Semillon is named after Chief Winemaker and Managing Director Iain Leslie Riggs, who joined the winery in 1982. Iain has taken Brokenwood from a small ‘hobby’ winery into the national and international arena, and was the driving force in Brokenwood extending the range to white wines.

The ILR Reserve Semillon is an aged white wine that receives no oak. After tasting the wine over the first three years the decision was made to release at 5 years bottle age, in other words to have some bottle development but capable of aging further. In terms of winemaking it was a case of low (and now, zero) skin contact and neutral yeast. Unfortunately it also corresponded with a decline in cork quality to the point where Brokenwood had to colour sort every bottle before release. We finally moved to screw cap for the 2003 Semillon as it took an extra year to get the Georgian Green bottle for screw cap. Sporadic oxidation robbed us of up to 40% in some years and wasn’t a case of some wines being slightly lesser quality than others, once oxidized, Semillon’s are undrinkable.

After changing to screw cap seals, we decided to increase the age on release to 6 years. There could be an argument that it should be 7 or even 8 years before release, but at 6 there is enough bees wax and toast flavours to illustrate that the wine is on its way for long term aging.

The ILR Reserve Semillon has been awarded ‘Best Semillon’ in the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion twice, most recently with the 2009 vintage released in 2015.

The Hunter Valley is famous for Semillon production, and is a perfect fit for the nearby Sydney wining and dining culture with its grassy fruit lift on both nose and palate.

OUR CREW

Iain Riggs
Managing Director & Chief Winemaker

Geoff Krieger
General Manager

Stuart Hordern
Senior Winemaker

Kate Sturgess
Assistant Winemaker

Katrina Barry
Hunter Vineyards Manager

Wine Making Process

CONTACT

Site Address: 401-427 McDonalds Rd Pokolbin, NSW 2320

Phone: (02) 4998 7559

Email:  sales@brokenwood.com.au

Website

www.brokenwood.com.au

Cellar Door

Open daily from 9.30am – 5.00pm, Sundays 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Open everyday except Christmas Day.

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017