Wyndham Estate – Australia’s oldest winery! Franz Scheurer
For more than 170 years, Wyndham Estate has been an "industry pioneer". Being the first company to show Australian wines in England and the USA, they have been largely responsible for launching Australian wines onto the world stage.
English immigrant George Wyndham planted his first vineyard at Dalwood, along the Hunter River, in New South Wales, in 1828, using 600 vine cuttings given to him by British botanist James Busby.
Christened Dalwood Wines, he released his first vintage seven years later, to rave reviews, and by the mid-1800s was exporting to England and India.
In 1867, using cuttings from John Macarthur's Camden property, Wyndham expanded his Dalwood vineyards to more than 65 acres, principally cabernet, shiraz and ‘white hermitage’ (probably chardonnay).
George Wyndham led the way in promoting the fledging Australian wine industry, showing Dalwood Wines in the Great Expositions of Europe and the USA (in the 1860’s) and wining several medals, creating a reputation for high standards for the Australian wine industry and firmly placing Australian wines on the world map.
To honour George Wyndham's memorable achievements, Dalwood Wines was renamed Wyndham Estate in 1970 - one hundred years after George Wyndham's death.
Today Wyndham Estate is renowned for much more than its wines. The original Dalwood vineyard has become a favourite tourist destination in the Hunter Valley, with its combination of fine food and entertainment to complement its popular wines.
The fabulous historic cellar door shows off its open fermenters and operational 100-year-old basket presses next to the most modern wine making equipment, and creates a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Around March each year, stars like Shirley Bassey and Michael Crawford perform in an on-site amphitheatre. The entertainment continues through out the year with "Jazz in the Vines" in April and "Opera in the Vineyards” in October.
The on-site restaurant, with a capacity of 400, is put to the test four times a year with the now famous Season’s Plate Lunches. A culinary indulgence, combining Australia's top chefs, premium Wyndham Estate wines and the ambience of the historic winery.
The restaurant is open for lunch daily and diners can either order a-la-carte or order one of the “Tasting Plates”. This great idea matches several wines with an equal amount of tasting courses and enables the diner to evaluate the wines with food. There is a white, a red, and a mixed tasting plate priced around $ 25.00 each and a connoisseur tasting plate at $ 50.00, selecting wines from the reserve range. This is a great way to eat and fabulous value for money.
We tried a white tasting plate which featured:
2000 Bin 111 Verdelho matched to Salt & Pepper Prawn on Roma Tomato & Ketjup Manis
A 2000 Bin 222 Chardonnay with Feta & Cumin Seed Fritter on Sliced Lime
2000 Bin 777 Semillon matched to a Salmon Roulade
2001 1828 Unwooded Chardonnay with Sweet Potato Frittata and
2000 Semillon Chardonnay matched to a Chicken & Vegetable Pie.
All the matches worked reasonably well but the Chardonnay with the Feta stood out. We also ordered a red tasting plate:
2000 Bin 333 Pinot Noir matched with Chorizo with Onion Marmalade
1999 Bin 444 Cabernet Sauvignon with Lamb & Pinenut Pattie on Tomato Relish
2000 Bin 555 Shiraz with Caramelised Onion, Olive & Thyme Tart
2000 Bin 999 Merlot matched with Grilled Antipasto Vegetables and
2000 Bin 888 Cabernet Merlot with a Cabernet Beef Pie
Again, all matches worked well and the Cabernet Sauvignon with the Lamb was the star.
From the a-la-carte menu, we also tried a Beef Fillet with Wild Mushrooms and matched it with a glass of the Reserve Shiraz, 1996. The fact that all the current releases are available by the glass is a bonus. The food is good, the service casual and friendly and the atmosphere thoroughly enjoyable.
This is a great place to have lunch and a great historical site to visit.
For more information or bookings: Wyndham Estate, Dalwood Road, Dalwood, NSW 2335, Tel.: 1800 677 366