Construction on the next big Hunter Valley development is officially underway.
Brokenwood Wines has broken ground on its highly-anticipated new cellar door complex on McDonalds Road, Pokolbin.
Along with the aim of boosting business, the new space – which also includes a café and restaurant – aims to bring more visitors to the Hunter region and increase local jobs.
Chief winemaker and managing director Iain Riggs said the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday marked a significant moment in Brokenwood's history.
“Our current cellar door was built in the ‘70s, so this new venture means a lot to us, but most importantly it will allow for more fun and exciting wine experiences for our dedicated customers,” he said.
Innovative architecture and design duo, Eduardo and Maria Villa from Sydney's Villa & Villa were brought on board to create a “home in the Hunter” for Brokenwood's wine club members and the Hunter Valley's growing tourism.
Integrated Project Group will manage the construction.
The building will feature a mixed palette of natural materials and will house a range of flexible spaces, all themed around the enjoyment of great wine.
Gone is the traditional long central bar – instead, Brokenwood has opted for customer-focused ‘wine pods’. Guests can relax by a fire with a rare drop, thanks to an Enomatic wine dispenser that will allow previously not-for-tasting and museum wines to be available.
Brokenwood will also feature a selection of wine on tap, which they have been successfully trialling in bars around the country.
"Our entertainment terrace will have a revolving calendar of events, music, pop-up guest chefs and food trucks,” general manager Geoff Krieger said.
“Picnic packs will be available for parents to relax on the front lawn while kids play or explore our on-site veggie patch."
An impressive wine museum will include floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking the working barrel shed, and private dining rooms will be available for hire.
In a nod to Brokenwood legends past, a lookout and education space has been dedicated to long-standing vineyard manager, the late Keith Barry.
The appointment of a chef will be announced soon, and fresh and local produce will dominate the seasonal menu in the café and restaurant.
The current cellar door will remain open throughout construction.
Brokenwood Wines was founded as a hobby venture in 1970 by three Sydney-based lawyers – James Halliday and John Beeston, who both attended yesterday's event, and the late Tony Albert.
The 2018 vintage will mark 36 years with Iain Riggs at the helm.