Pioneering the Hunter

Pioneering the Hunter

Established in 1967 by the Hungerford family, Hungerford Hill was one of the pioneer wineries in the Hunter Valley to plant significant vines. To place this into context, the Hunter recorded, in 1969, as only having 591 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres. ~1 football field is roughly 1 acre…2.47 football fields in 1 hectare) planted under vine in the region. Quickly escalating to 4,137 hectares in 1976 and has since settled to just over 2,605* hectares.

As you can imagine, in those early days there was still a lot of risk moving into the business of grape growing. A lot of uncertainty, and even the NSW Dept. of Agriculture reported the suitability of the land for grape growing being somewhat negative. Claiming the soils were too heavy, with an acidic subsoil…Not something young investors wanted to hear. 

But this didn’t deter the team. In 1970 Hungerford Hill was looking to expand more-so across the region and were looking at a little four-hectare parcel of land on McDonalds Road, Pokolbin. A weekday auction would settle it, but we walked away unsuccessful bidders. A little-known fact about this particular day is that the successful bidders were none other than James Halliday, Tony Albert, and John Beeston (which became Brokenwood) looking to make their move into the industry. The auction made headlines for other reasons too. The parcel of land went for the most outrageous and unprecedented price (for the time), coming in at $2,500 per hectare, proving the Hunter Valley was the place to be!

The work the Hungerford family did throughout those early years, was nothing short of pioneering. A true testament of innovation, passion, of pushing the boundaries, and an unwavering desire to make the best wines from the region. 

With new ownership in 2016, Hungerford Hill is again family owned. Working with vines aged upwards of 50 years, the winemaking team are producing flavour driven, textural and expressive Hunter Valley wines. There has been a renewed focus and concentration on our Hunter Valley heritage, but we do also work with some of the best producers in the Hilltops and Tumbarumba regions. 

A commitment to quality over quantity, we are looking to celebrate our rich past, the present and our future in the region and continued innovation and excellence in wine.

*Wine Australia Regional snapshot 2021-22.