A Little Bit of Italy in Broke

May 24, 2017

What a wonderful weekend at this year’s Little Bit of Italy in Broke. The weather was perfect, the food scrumptious and the company was superb!

Our thanks to Mamma’s Kitchen and the Local Coffeeman for keeping us fuelled; to all our scarecrow entrants and judges; to our muso, Mark Henderson and to everyone who came and kept us company. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Until we do it all again in 2018…ciao bella!

Stomp 2017 – can’t wait till next year’s…

March 19, 2017

What a wonderful day.

The rain held off whilst we

tested,

tasted the berries and their ferments,

squished,

drank,

ate,

stomped,

created, and had lots of fun.

Our apprentices graduated with flying colours and can’t wait to come back and help out again next year and live it… love it… stomp!

Don’t miss out on your apprenticeship!

February 21, 2017

Vintage is a tricky time of year – so much excitement; stress and sheer exhaustion from the physical nature of winemaking. But as winemakers it’s our time, our gig!

And this year we thought it about time we shared our gig with you. Hence you’re invited to our Stomp 2017. Join us to learn what your favourite winemaking team is doing.

Join us at Stomp 2017, March 4, 12noon and we’ll take a wander through the vineyard as we discuss how we decide when to harvest. We’ll let you get hands on and visually inspect, test and taste some fruit. Yep, you get to hand squish some grapes and use a refractometer and hydrometer to measure sugar content and tell us if the fruit is ready. Don’t worry we’ll provide a bit of tuition along the way as we discuss the parameters we need to craft the wines you love.

Whilst we’re in the vineyard we’ll discuss how we pick and what’s happening in the winery right now. You’ll be the first to taste some of Vintage 2017’s ferments.

Vintage being our busiest time of year, we are always checking in on our mates. Does the truck driver need a coffee re-fill, does the winemaker need lunch, is the cellar hand okay in the press? It’s all hands on deck as we share the work load and look after one another.

So, in true vintage style, we’ll ensure you’re well fed and watered as we share Matt Dillow’s amazing feast with some of our latest wines. We’d love to hear your feedback on our new releases – Stomp! Limited Release 2016 Fiano and Stomp! 2015 Shiraz and, of course, some of our old favourites, too.

To work off your lunch (we will be cracking the whip!) you may wish to practice the art of pigeage or grape stomping – ‘cause we all know there’s something about getting dirty that attracts us all! You haven’t truly experienced vintage until you get completely sticky. Dirty, sticky and tired your apprenticeship is complete!

Now all we need to do is stock your car with some fantastic wine specials and a little gift from us and you can find your way home to relax.

Oh yer, one more thing, when you get home… wash your clothes. Vintage is also about never ending sticky clothes to wash…

Places must be booked by this Friday 24th February
Phone Meredith 0409 774 280
Cost $70 members (plus four guests allowed at this special price), $78 non members

Sneak Peak at Stomp 2017

February 2, 2017

Grab your friends and join us…

We’re exciting to announce we have Matt Dillow, of the Verandah Restaurant, preparing lunch for us at out Stomp 2017, Saturday 4 March.

Bearing in mind he needs to satisfy you – our newest trainees – he’s preparing a bountiful banquet. After all, we can’t let you go hungry when there’s some serious stompin’ to do.

Vintage is all about team work – sharing both the hard work and the rewards. With this in mind, Matt will be preparing the following plattered feast for us all to share:

Entree – Introducing our new Limited Release 2016 Fiano served with Italian Antipasti of

Pork, duck, pistachio and orange terrine
caramelised onion frittata
pesto bocconcini
olive tapenade
serrano ham
besan battered eggplant with saffron aioli
hummus
grilled zucchini
beetroot relish

Main – Introducing our new 2015 Shiraz, and your choice of our recently released 2015 Merlot, 2015 Verdelho, 2015 Chardonnay and 2016 Rose. Served with

Marinated slow baked salmon fillet with watercress and fennel salad
Mustard rubbed charred rib eye fillet with desiree potato, bacon and confit garlic
Rocket and parmesan salad.

Dessert & Coffee – with our old favourites Tawny or Frizzante

You can’t get through vintage without heaps of lollies and coffee, so in true vintage style we’ll finish our feast with a lolly and coffee bar and petit fours of chocolate whisky & almond fudge.

How can you resist?
BOOK NOW – call Meredith 0409 774 280.

See you on Saturday 4th March – we can’t wait to have your helping hand.

Stomp 2017 – March 4th

January 13, 2017

When are grapes ready for harvest?
Is mechanical or hand harvest best?
What do freshly crushed juices and ferments taste like?
How do grapes feel squished between your toes?

We always need extra hands at Vintage, so we thought we’d offer a select group apprenticeships to answer all these questions and more.

Join Michael & I on Saturday 4 March from 12noon to 3.30pm.

Your apprenticeship will begin in the Vineyard where you’ll be taught how to measure grape ripeness, how to harvest & we’ll train your taste buds by sampling our 2017 juices & ferments.

After the hard work, in true winemaker style, we’ll relax with an alfresco lunch prepared by The Verandah Restaurant, live tunes by Mark Henderson & a glass (or two) of wine, including our yet to be released, Limited Release 2016 Fiano and 2015 Shiraz.

Of course, no apprenticeship would be complete without some training in the art of pigeage or foot stomping. So, after lunch, we’ll provide ripe, juicy, red grapes for you to practice.

Dress – enclosed flat shoes (you’ll be in the vineyard), casual clothing (nothing too good, it could/will get dirty, particularly if you intend to practice your foot stomping), hat & sunscreen.

Cost – $78pp or $70pp for Members (& up to four guests) – payable upon booking. Numbers are strictly limited & are expected to fill quickly.

BOOK NOW – call Meredith 0409 774 280.
RSVP – Tuesday 21 February.

For a range of local accommodation – brokefordwich.com.au (it’s a great excuse to escape for the weekend). Our two bedroom Winemaker’s Cottage is also available.

When the city gal moves…

December 6, 2016

When the city gal follows her ‘winemaker wanna be’ to the country, what does she do? Adapt… But for me, there was little adapting needed. I love my work and the views and the wildlife in my part of the world make my heart sing.  I awake every day grateful for my part in my gobsmacking, gorgeous surrounds and the animals therein.

But every once in a while, the nature I love, and protect where I can, seems to get the better of me. This week it did just that.  Now I’m not one to be scared of too many animals, but some I’m happy to see at a distance. Some are not so welcome in ‘my space’.

When I noticed bees had set up camp in the wall cavity of my outdoor laundry this week I was somewhat concerned.  Renovating the laundry is not high on my list of things to do right now, nor is hiring expensive humane bee removalists. Adding these concerns, to an already tough week, saw me increasingly less able to let go of my worries. Even more concerning was the email I received from the Hunter Valley Amateur Beekeepers, suggesting that as I lived in Broke, I would probably not be able to get anyone to travel to remove my bees, and perhaps I should get an exterminator! Are you serious? Have these people not heard of the crisis our bee populations are in? They’re the bee lovers for goodness sake! What the?

Regardless of my woes, life keeps going and washing needed to be done. So, one day, quietly entering my laundry, careful not to disturb any bees making their way out the wrong side of their new home, I heard a noise under some shelving, and it wasn’t buzzing. My new pup came charging in, barking madly, and I instantly recalled an ABC interview I’d heard on the radio the day before. It was discussing what a bad snake season this is!  So, I quickly called my crazy pup and we bid a hasty retreat.

Later that evening, when she escaped from the house, she raced to the laundry and resumed her incessant barking. Upon cautious approach I found her nose to nose with a beautiful, healthy, fat blue tongue. Instant relief!

Next day I resumed my well-worn track to the laundry, only to have my pup charge up behind me, and bark ferociously at a flower pot. This time, it was the animal I feared the day before – a baby brown snake. One of God’s creatures I’m less enamoured with and wish they’d keep their distance. Problem was, without my glasses, I couldn’t tell if it was just the skin, or still had a live snake stuffed inside.

Now don’t try this at home, but Michael’s response (remember he is a winemaker!) was to… peg a rock at it!  When it didn’t move, he assumed it was a skin and I wasn’t getting any closer to check.  Problem solved… except when I came back from hanging the washing it was no longer there!

Just when my week was becoming a little too overwhelming, I received the world’s best phone call.  A neighbour who’d heard on the grapevine that I was having a tough week wanted to come and visit. So later that afternoon, my two new besties, Scott and Felicity, came to the rescue in their shiny, white SUV (modern day version of the white stallion). Out they popped, donned their bee suits, and with one vacuum cleaner and one bee box our problem was solved. Not one single bee was harmed and now our newly identified Italian bees are happily working away in their hive in the village of Broke.

Did you know we started making wines in the laundry of our Sydney home? Commencing honey production was never meant to begin the same way! But who knows, may bee our Italian bees may be able to provide Italian honey for next year’s Little Bit of Italy in Broke?  All from the comfort of their new home – not my laundry!

So, with a little country hospitality, or in this case, ‘help in time of need’, my problem was solved and my week looks a whole lot brighter!

Now I need to forget all the animals for a while and turn my hand to organising our Grape Stomp coming up in March!  Believe it not, sometimes I do have to work…

Spring’s Hottest Drink

October 18, 2016

Spring’s hottest drink would have to be a frozen one, right? Or to use the hip, here and now, trending terminology, a Frosé. I promise, no slushie machine is needed, just a bottle of our Rosé and the following recipe:

 

Frosé Recipe

1 bottle of Pssst ‘n’ Broke Rosé
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
250g strawberries
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup ice

METHOD

  • Freeze Rosé in ice cube trays, or I actually found a small bowl or ice cream container easiest
  • Combine sugar & water in pot, stir over heat until sugar is dissolved (approx. 3 minutes). Take off heat
  • Add hulled & quartered strawberries & leave to steep for 30 minutes
  • Strain strawberry infused syrup – do not crush the strawberries – allow to cool
  • Add frozen Rosé (quickly mix with a fork first), 6 tablespoons of the syrup, one cup of ice & juice of one lemon to your blender
  • Puree until smooth
  • Pour into glasses, garnish with some edible spring flowers or some beautiful, fresh berries and you’re away…

Sounds like the perfect way to start your next party to me!

The Perfect Marriage

August 30, 2016

Lucky I’m talking about the perfect marriage of wine and food…

As Winter holds on tight and lashes out with the last of her cruel, cold weather, you’re probably tending to drink more red wines. They’re warming & pair nicely with the richer, slow cooked meals, we’re still a little reticent to replace with salad. But what red goes with what food?

Here’s some tips:

  • Most importantly you can’t go wrong. Everyone’s palates are different & you should always drink the wines you enjoy (stomp! wines that is).
  • Think about the “flavour weight” or “richness” of the food & the wine. Marry like with like. Lighter more elegant meals should be paired with lighter wines & those big, rich, hearty meals with big, rich, full bodied wines. In other words you don’t want the wine to over power the food & vice versa.
  • Think about the spices & flavours in the wine, and where it suits add some of these spices to your dish.

For example the our 2014 Limited Release Shiraz has lovely savoury spices & is rich & concentrated, so a slow cooked beef dish cooked in the Shiraz with pepper & herbs is a perfect combination; or to really emphasise the Shiraz, enjoy with a simple, perfectly barbecued premium, grass fed, scotch fillet.

Our Pssst ‘n’ Broke Merlot is more elegant, softer & suited more to a simple Sunday family roast lamb or pork, or for a mid-week Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Cheeses are similar, try a cheddar or smokey cheese with Shiraz, a Swiss style such as Gouda or Jarlsberg with a Merlot & a washed rind with a Pinot Noir.

Experiment, it’s fun discovering new marriages, and you might just discover the perfect one!

You’ll be Dad’s Favourite with this Gift!

August 24, 2016

We’ve got your Father’s Day gift boxed and ready to go!

James Halliday’s Wine Companion is out & our Shiraz’s have been highly rated.

  • 92 points – Stomp! 2014 Shiraz – $24/bottle or $20 for Members. He’s also given this wine a red “special value” star as he considers it to be of special value for money. AKA, we are far too generous with our pricing!
  • 95 points – Stomp! 2014 Limited Release Shiraz – $48/bottle or $38 for Members

Being recognised as one of the best years in history for Hunter Valley Shiraz, they’ll both keep until 2035 (but if you like them young & fresh they’re drinking beautifully right now). You’ll find the tasting notes here.

To suit wines of this status, we’ve sourced a limited supply of single or double wooden boxes; all you have to do is select the wine for your Dad & we’ll package it up & send it for you .

It’s that easy

  • your choice of a single ($7) or double ($9) wooden box
  • with your choice of Shiraz (or, if Dad doesn’t drink Shiraz, let me know what other wine he’d like. Maybe, our rather special, Limited Release Fiano – awarded 90 points)
  • freighted to you or directly to your Dad (freight $10 Sydney, $20 Melbourne or Brisbane)

Email me your order by Monday 29 August to ensure Dad receives his gift by Father’s Day.

And, if Dad doesn’t think you’re the best child in town, next year… give him some socks!

Five Tips to Experience the Charm of Broke Fordwich

June 27, 2016

An insider’s tips to experience the rural, artisan community of Broke Fordwich:

1. Accommodation – You really need to stay in Broke Fordwich to experience our charm and rural lifestyle. You need somewhere to relax and unwind. Two of my favourite properties in Broke are Tinonee Country House, of course, and Lavender Ridge – Two Door and The Mews. Both are stunning examples of country living at its finest. Both properties have boutique vineyards and gorgeous gardens attracting much native wildlife and with stunning views.

2. Wine Tasting – Now we have you bedded down, you need to discover our region’s wines. You absolutely need to top up your cellar with some of the Hunter’s finest. First stop, Stomp Wines – hell yeh! But where to next? Why not try our region’s newest cellar door – Greenway Wines? Another tiny, family business – but, as you well know, tiny cellar doors have personality in spades – both in staff and wines! Anne, at Greenway wines, is no exception. She’ll make you extremely welcome as you taste her estate grown wines. For something a little different, I highly recommend you take home some of her Gerwurtztraminer and don’t forget some of her delicious vineyard honey, too.

3. Hunger Control – With all this wine tasting, you’ll need some sustenance. And true to our rural, farming region, we’ve got healthy, fresh, home grown paddock to plate nourishment. For a light lunch try Mount Broke Wine’s Café. Chef, Mel is cooking up some stunning food. And, when it’s time for dinner Margan Restaurant won’t let you down. Make sure you make a booking and they’ll be sure to spoil you on arrival, both with their attentive staff and gorgeous fine food.

4. Spoiling Yourself – Everyone needs to feel a little spoilt sometimes, particularly, whilst on holidays. For pampering, Broke Fordwich style, pop into Pickled and Pitted & BARE Natures’Kin. Try some of Michelle’s gorgeous handmade soaps, creams and scrubs – all made with herbs, flowers and seeds harvested locally. Plenty to take home to nourish your body and soul. Even something for the men – my Dad swears by the goat’s milk shaving soap.

5. Be a Child Again – For those of you wishing to indulge your inner child, make sure you go and feed the cute, cuddly alpaca’s at Starline Alpaca Farmstay Resort. They also have really sweet guinea pigs and bunnies. Lots of photo opportunities here.

Hopefully that’s your tranquil weekend in the country covered… but should you be looking for more to do don’t hesitate to ask a local or visit brokefordwich.com.au

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