Four Lovely Wineries in Broke Fordwich in The Upper Hunter Valley – A Beginners’ Guide


We all love our children, but isn’t it sometimes

 refreshing to have an adults-only break?

The Hunter Valley is a perfect easy getaway for Sydney mums and dads.

Broke Regional Images Hunter Valley

I was a bit of a vineyard virgin before my recent trip to the Broke area of the Hunter Valley.

It had certainly been a few years…. of motherhood… since I’d been in a tasting room.

The Broke area is all about the smaller scale winery, with a more personal touch.  You will often meet the vineyard owners themselves at the cellar door. The owners are the real experts in their own wines and listening to them was a really informative and interesting treat.

There are no big bus groups touring the tasting rooms, there’s no rushing. It’s like the Pokolbin area was 25 years ago, I was told.

I learned all sorts of things from these passionate owners, it was fascinating: when to pick the grapes by hand, when to machine pick, and when to pick at night.

I heard of the difference that the weather can make on the grapes: ‘It’s either a shiraz year or a chardonnay year.’

The vineyards I visited make single estate wines, meaning all the grapes they use in their wines come from their own vineyards.

SONY DSCAscella Pure Wines

* Ascella is the largest certified organic vineyard in the Hunter Valley

* Ascella is one of the stars in the constellation of Sagittarius which shines over the vineyard, said to bring happiness and good fortune

* Wine tastings must be made by appointment, and is in fact a tasting of the wine with the excellent organic cheeses produced by Paris Creek

* Grapes grown are shiraz, merlot, chardonnay, verdelho, semillon and chambourcin

* Owner Barbara Brown explained: ‘We wanted to create something that we can believe in and that we can manage together.’

* These are some of the most competitively priced organic wines in Australia, especially if you buy online as a Friend of Ascella

* Biggest sellers are their Pure Red and Pure White

Ascella Pure Wines website here.

Cheese wine Ascella
Pure wines and biodynamic cheese, what a treat
vineyard & Cellar Door 2
Catherine Vale Wines’ Anderson Hall, the cellar door and function room

Catherine Vale Wines

* Has some of the best views over this beautiful wine growing area around Broke

* Grows six types of grapes including  verdelho, arneis, dolcetto and barbera

* The only grower of arneis in the Hunter Valley, this is a variety of vine from the north of Italy around Piedmonte

* Make madeira from their verdelho grapes

* Visitors can play bocce on the lovely bocce courts

* Try the Barbera, a big bold red. ‘It should make you want to eat pizza.’

Catherine Vale Wines website here.

Catherine Vale wines
-best picture yellowrock & vineyard
Lovely view from Catherine Vale, across the valley to Yellow Rock
bocce court
The bocce courts at Catherine Vale Wines
Mount Broke Wines Hunter Valley
A selection of Mount Broke WinesMount Broke Wines

Mount Broke Wines

* This 100 acre farm grows grapes and beef cattle

* It has been farmed by the McNamara family since 1905, now in its fourth generation of working this land

* The lovely tasting room used to be a milking shed, you can see where the floor slopes down as is common in old milking sheds

* This small and charming boutique winery makes only a few hundred cases of wine a year, available only at the cellar door.

* Cellar door open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment.

Mount Broke website here.

Mount Broke


SONY DSCBroke’s Promise

* A beautiful olive grove greets you as you drive in

* Lots of delicious gourmet produce is on sale as well as the wines

* Broke’s Promise also has a fine art gallery, the only one in the Broke area

* A four bedroom cottage is available for rent at Broke’s Promise

* A cafe will be running at this winery shortly

Broke’s Promise is managed by Unwind Hunter Valley, find the website here.

Mount Broke Gallery pix
Art works from the gallery at Broke’s Promise
20140228 Broke Fordwich-066
The olive groves are very beautiful, even on a rainy day.

I’m not a wine expert, you can tell.  Such a treat to sit and sip with the experts, I’d never had barbera before and tried two different varieties. I’d say my favourite wine of the day was the Pure Red by Ascella.

Now then, the next time I visit the Hunter Valley I will take the family, or some of them anyway. We certainly won’t be  visiting four cellar doors in one day!

Find family-friendly things to do in the Hunter Valley here.

You’ll love these Hunter Valley posts

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resort Review

Water Dragons Kids Club At The Crowne Plaza

Broke Fordwich in The Upper Hunter – Tips For Planning A Trip

Pemberley Grove Accommodation Review

Big4 Valley Vineyard Tourist Park Review

Harrigans Irish Pub – Video Review

The British Lolly Shop At Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular Video

Christmas Lights Spectacular Photos

Road Trip: Sydney to the Upper Hunter

All top Hunter Valley tips for kids welcome.

But here’s to the adults too.

Which is your favourite vineyard and cellar door in the Hunter Valley?

Happy quaffing


For my more general piece on the Broke area, click here.

We’ve also reviewed the Big 4 Valley Vineyard Tourist park, click here.

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  1. says: Hotly Spiced

    It’s so true that as much as we love our children, an escape every now and then is so necessary. I love the Hunter Valley and you have captured the wineries beautifully – makes me want to be whisked away immediately xx

  2. No tips because to me The Hunter is all about wine. Love Catherine Vale wines. I have many great memories sitting down with a bottle of their wine. Their chardonnay is really really good. They are such hard worker for the advancement of the valley too and what a gorgeous vineyard they have.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      One of the best views isn’t it? It was a wet day but still gorgeous there. I’d love to play bocce there one day whilst stocking up on lovely reds.

  3. says: Annaleis

    I’ve always wanted to visit the Hunter Valley! Looks gorgeous. I like organic wines- they don’t seem to give me the headache some of the others do.

  4. says: Emily

    You had me at WINE! But these images and vineyards remind me of Central Otago in NZ, one of the best places to grow Pinot Noir, and where I used to live and write! I WILL visit the Hunter, one day…. sans kids. Hope you’re having fun at DPCON xx

  5. says: Aleney

    We love a wine weekend. Haven’t done the Hunter Valley in ages as we find Mudgee is more kid-friendly but you may just have tempted me to give it another try. 🙂

  6. says: jenny

    Many years ago when I lived in Sydney, we used to visit the Hunter Valley all the time. I’m sure there have been a lot of changes since then and as you mention many new fabulous small wineries to investigate. I’d love to visit again. Thanks for the reminder of what a fabulous area it is.

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