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A Leap of Faith | Tranquil Vale


Set on the banks of the Hunter River opposite the birthplace of Hunter Valley wines, is a small boutique vineyard and cellar door with the perfect name for its picturesque setting in peaceful Luskintyre – Tranquil Vale.

 

The origin of Tranquil Vale is a story in itself. Owners, Lucy and Phil Griffiths, bought the former dairy property in 1996, with an extraordinary leap of faith and determination, sight unseen.


Once upon a time, the young Lucy and Phil Griffiths spent their honeymoon in the Napa Valley of the USA, exploring the many wineries. Which sparked the beginnings of a dream to own a vineyard one day in the future. A few years later, living in London with two children and a busy husband who was seldom home, Lucy found an advertisement in The Weekend Australian newspaper.


"It was in the days before the internet," said Connie Griffiths, the couple's daughter and now winemaker at Tranquil Vale.


"Dad was working too much, and they started to dream of escaping. Mum went to Australia House to access the Australian newspapers. She was interested in Australia because she had lived there briefly in the 1980s. She saw a tiny little advertisement with no image, mentioning that the property was opposite Wyndham Estate at Dalwood. Mum had been to Wyndham Estate and knew that it was good grape-growing country. A friend travelled from Sydney to the Hunter Valley to view the property, which was just a paddock - and Mum and Dad bought it!"

With the help of experts, the property was planted with traditional Hunter Valley varieties, Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz. Two years later, the family moved from London to Luskintyre permanently, and that's when the hard work really began.


"Mum and Dad both studied viticulture at TAFE, and then Dad went on to study winemaking, following that working at Monarch, now First Creek, for a vintage to gain valuable experience."



Part of the original vision for the property was to include family-friendly accommodation as Phil and Lucy had noticed a lack of wineries that catered to wine lovers with families. The family built the cellar door with a loft bedroom above and the three two-bedroom cottages that all overlook the vineyards.


There is a pool, tennis courts, playground and BBQ area and also some farm animals, so plenty to keep all ages happy and engaged. The wines have won their share of awards over the years, particularly the Semillon and Shiraz. All the wines are small batch and estate grown. Tastings are $5pp and include homemade sourdough served with delicious, infused olive oils. Bookings are recommended.


If it's a tour you're after, at just $25pp, one of the family will take you through the vines to gain a deeper understanding of the wine-making process followed by a wine tasting. A unique experience that Connie offers is the opportunity to learn

sourdough bread making, a passion of hers.


"I started baking when I was on maternity leave in 2016 and I just love it. We use the bread in our accommodation breakfast packs and in the cellar door during the wine tastings. I came up with the idea of teaching others as I have a teaching background and we offer sourdough breadmaking experiences for small groups – everything from demonstrations only, to a full masterclass".

Located on the Lovedale side of the valley, just a twenty-minute journey from Pokolbin or Maitland, the drive is pretty and the experiences are unique, family-run and personalised, particularly worthwhile for those looking to learn more about wine.



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