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New wines from the oldest region

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Bilgavia Estate, located in the Broke Fordwich region of the Hunter Valley, has recently launched a new range of wines, comprising the 2012 Bilgavia Estate Chardonnay and 2012 Bilgavia Estate Verdelho.2012 Bilgavia Estate Chardonnay

Historically the grapes grown on the ten-year-old Bilgavia Estate vineyard were sold to local winemakers, with a small parcel made into wine. With a recent change in ownership, the brand has undergone a reinvigoration, with more care in the vineyard, new packaging and a greater focus on wine quality.

Leona and Phil Gunter purchased the Parsons Creek Farm in 2011 with a view to rebuilding the 17.9-hectare vineyard and the Bilgavia Estate brand. The vineyard needed some work when we first arrived, however we are starting to see the results from our investment in the vineyard management.

The vineyard comprises Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Verdelho with plans in place to increase the holdings to include Pinot Noir and other Italian varietals such as Tempranillo and Fiano.

Whilst we are committed to the more traditional Hunter varieties, we are keen to explore some new wines. There are a few winemakers in the region with these newer varieties who are achieving good results.

We are looking to extend the plantings to include Pinot Noir for our sparkling wine. Our 2012 sparkling is a Blanc de Blanc, and we believe that Pinot Noir will add further palate complexity. This is not necessarily a variety that is associated with the Hunter Valley, however it certainly has a long history in the region. Hopefully we can reinstate it through our sparkling wines.

The 2012 vintage in the Hunter was particularly unforgiving. We were looking forward to having a 2012 Shiraz in barrel to sit alongside our whites, however with the rain this was not to be.

Our Verdelho and Chardonnay ripened around the Australia Day period, however that was the extent of our vintage. The Semillon was slower to develop and the Shiraz was a lost cause.

There is certainly a high degree of awareness of the wines from the Hunter. The work that is being done with NSW Wine has helped create a sense of optimism in the region and we have received great support from the vignerons of the Hunter.

In the coming year, Bilgavia Estate will develop a tasting room on the property, which is home to the Gunter’s Thoroughbred stud. We are looking forward to becoming increasingly involved with the tourism and wineries of the Broke Fordwich region. We have receive excellent feedback on the wines and the brand, and so the next step is to open the cellar door for visitors to experience the wines within the property.