He's well known in Hunter Wine Country for his cooking prowess, but now chef Mat Dillow is branching out, having bought Gartelmann Winery in Lovedale.
Dillow, who is chef at the highly popular The Deck cafe on the Gartelmann site, was officially announced as the new owner this week.
"It's significant because January 2021 is the 25th anniversary of the beginnings of Gartelmann and I want to continue that legacy," Mr Dillow said.
"Jan and Jorg Gartelmann put a lot of hard work - and themselves - into this place, so I'm really excited."
And, for a man who admits he can "never sit still", it offers a world of opportunity.
"Clearly my background is food, so that's the side of things I'll be working on in the short term," he said.
"When I used to run The Verandah restaurant we would do a locals night one Sunday night a month and it was extremely popular. In the end we made it every fortnight. So in the new year I'm planning to bring locals night to Gartelmann too, obviously with some Gartelmann wine as well."
And Dillow is also keen to give some added vale to Gartelmann's wine club members by introducing cooking classes.
"When the cellar door closes for the day, we'll have a satellite kitchen brought in on the large deck area of the winery overlooking the lake," he explained. "And I'll do cooking classes with the members, maximum of about 30 people. I'll go through a dish step by step with them ... things liked slow braised octopus, gnocchi, or a big one-and-a-half kilo T-Bone ... we'll cook it together and then all sit down and enjoy a relaxing meal.
"Our cellar door manager Jimmy Smith will be on hand to help with wine selections and we'll look at the food and wine matching side of it.
"It will be value added for members, and let's face it, food and wine go together. If people are keen enough to be members of our wine club, then you'd have to think they're going to enjoy a well cooked meal overlooking the lake, sipping some of Gartelmann's finest."
Mr Dillow anticipates starting the cooking classes in late January or perhaps February.
On the wine side of things, he said he will be largely guided by his cellar door team.
"Gartelmann buy grapes from all over the state, so there's every opportunity to expand," he said. "But for now, I'll look at the food. Jimmy has some thoughts on a couple of changes to the wine side of things."
Mr Smith, a long time cellar door manager in the Hunter, believes the wine list is currently red-heavy.
"We do three shiraz, so I'd like to cut one, maybe add it to some of our cabernet and make a traditional Australian shiraz cabernet blend, and I'd also like to see a dry riesling in our portfolio.
"But we're still discussing these things, so they're just early thoughts."
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