top of page
  • Liane Morris

A Little Bit of Broke


For the past 20 years, visitors to the Broke Fordwich sub-region of the Hunter Valley have been enjoying the hospitality and ‘la dolce vita’ of the area’s winemakers and food producers in a festival that began as A Little Bit of Italy in Broke and has since become simply, A Little Bit of Broke.

 

It’s a wine trail that is less travelled with more than a dozen cellar doors and offers the opportunity to explore the wine, food and fabulousness of this vibrant and thriving area, which is also an emerging artisan food destination with olive groves, farm gate producers and acclaimed dining that deserves to be appreciated and savoured.


The small colonial township of Broke is celebrating its bicentenary year this year. Located on the original and historic trail from Sydney heading north, it’s a growing township with a strong community. Surrounded by national and state parks, rivers and an ever-growing collection of vineyards, it is known for its stunning natural beauty and peaceful rural setting. It’s an ancient land, home to the First Nations people, the Wonnarua, for 30,000 years, and before that, 230 million years ago, it was a large sea. Its unique topography with rich soils attracted the original winemakers of the colony in the 1830s, and today, it is Australia’s oldest continuous wine region.


“The festival began as an Italian-themed weekend to celebrate the fact that the region had several Italian grape varieties planted which was quite pioneering for the Hunter Region which usually focuses on the iconic and traditional varieties of Semillon and Shiraz,” said Lisa Margan, Director of Margan Wines.


“It was small and humble and a celebration of Italian culture – an opportunity to invite people to a different sub-region of the Hunter and enjoy all the things that make our area unique.


“A couple of years ago, as our wine industry grew, we really began to look at our wine tourism. The success we’ve had at Margan, as a multiaward-winning winery and a hatted restaurant, and the redevelopment of Winmark Wines (formerly Pooles Rock) under Karin Adcock, are just two examples of the many guest-facing businesses in the area with a wine tourism focus.”


Karin Adcock, owner and vigneron of Winmark Wines and President of the Broke Fordwich Wine and Tourism Association, took over the winery in 2016 and brings incredible energy and a multi-award-winning business acumen to everything she does. She has restored the vineyard, transformed the accommodation and developed an art gallery and sculpture walk that creates a place for visitors to connect with wine, art and nature.


“The shift away from an Italian focus for the festival was to connect it more authentically with what’s on offer here all year round,” said Karin. “It’s not just one weekend. It’s a showcase weekend that we hope will encourage visitors to return outside of the festival experience. And whilst we do, as an area, grow Italian varieties like Barbera, Alberino and Fiano, we also grow the iconic Hunter Valley flagship wines of Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay.


“Our wines are all estate grown and estate made – boutique, unique, with high integrity and quality. The wine-tasting experience here is less hectic than in other areas of the Hunter, too. We’re less commercialised, and our surroundings are bucolic. In addition, we now have a large array of additional businesses that attract tourism – olive groves, alpacas, restaurants, cafes, retail, and now, a lavender farm! In terms of accommodation, we’ve got at least 600 beds in a wide choice of styles to suit different budgets. We think there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.”


“Last year’s event was incredibly successful with over 2000 visitors,” said Lisa. “And this year, there’s been an increase in the number of businesses participating in what is a roving festival – a choose your own adventure experience.


“We’ve also changed the dates to earlier in the year. Previously, it was held in April/May, but we’ve shifted it to take advantage of the beautiful Autumn weather. It’s also the tail end of the harvest season and the olive harvest season. This means there is more for visitors to see and do, with some wines still in fermentation, for example. And if it rains, it doesn’t matter. Every venue has a sheltered option, so the rain won’t stop it.”


There are 16 fabulous locations participating in this multi-venue festival, many with several great events for visitors to immerse themselves in.

"It’s not just one weekend. It’s a showcase weekend that we hope will encourage visitors to return outside of the festival experience."


Think dining in a hatted restaurant, picnicking with alpacas, sunset wines and tunes, exploring the largest organic kitchen garden in the region, learning the art of beekeeping or trying your hand at art ‘n sip, indulging in a foot scrub made using local botanicals. Or just sitting back and taking in the spectacular scenery, overlooking some of the region’s most pristine vineyards, glass in hand.


To take part in the A Little Bit of Broke festival, you simply purchase a Festival Kit online, which includes festival entry, a keepsake Riedel tasting glass and either four tasting tokens ($35) or eight ($50) that can be redeemed for a tasting at your choice of cellar doors plus a map and program that you pick up at the village hub when you arrive for your visit – either for the day or the weekend. You can add on dining, experiences, events, workshops, extra tastings and even shuttle bus transport ($25pp for one day or $40pp for two days) to make things easy and to round out your weekend. Kids enter for free as they do not require a Festival Kit, which is for over 18 years only.


All 16 venues are listed here with a short description of just some of the offerings, some of which require add-on bookings. For the complete list, visit the website www.brokefordwich.com.au.


WHAT’S ON OFFER


1813 is offering Veronton in the Vines with estate-grown wine tastings paired with five Veronton dumplings (vegan options available).


Margan Wines & Restaurant is a must-stop visit. Try a one-hour guided tour of the vineyard, kitchen garden and winery, including a flight of five premium wines. And don’t miss the Dining Under the Stars event on the Friday evening.


Mount Broke Wines & Restaurant is where you will pair delectable pasta dishes and wood-fired pizza with your wine tasting while taking in the stunning views.


Whispering Brook teaches the secrets of artisan winemaking and olive oil production while enjoying unique Portuguese-inspired wines and sensational local artisan chocolates.


Hunter Lavender Farm grows, distils and processes lavender using traditional methods and ecologically sustainable practices to deliver premium quality, all-natural lavender products.


Starline Alpacas & Farmstay is where you’ll meet, and even feed, the friendly farm animals, be captivated by the incredible art of Whip Cracking, explore unique market stalls, witness the art of weaving at live demonstrations, and gain insights into the world of alpaca fibre and wool.


Talits Estate blends modern flair with French-inspired elegance, offering tastings of award-winning wines, including Chardonnay, Rosé, sparkling wines and various reds.


Kawal Rock Distillery serves cocktails and refreshing G&Ts, as well as a range of wines. Savour a diverse array of flavours from food trucks, all while enjoying the soulful tunes of a live jazz band.


Magoonys Coffee House, at the heart of Broke Village, will be serving up some of the region’s best coffee and cakes all weekend as well as cheese and charcuterie platters, and on the Friday evening, pizza, beer, wine and cheese.


The Little Wine Company will immerse you in Italian varieties with a winemaker-led Masterclass where you’ll taste six beautiful wines matched with six individual food pairings.


Honey Wines Australia will introduce you to the ancient art of mead-making, also known as honey wine, and often referred to as the “drink of the Vikings”.


Winmark Wines & Art Gallery will have you meandering through the sculpture park and art gallery with an extraordinary Chardonnay in hand. Enjoy a delicious Seafood Platter matched perfectly with a glass of wine, or take in the Sunset Vibes at Winmark on Saturday night. Enjoy a stunning sunset with music, Chardonnay, cheese platters & seafood.


Greenway Wines offers a signature range of Italian-inspired wines that can be enjoyed with a shared antipasto picnic. There’s also live music in the afternoons! Be sure to book your seat in the Studio Kitchen as Chef Nathan Cooper shares the tips of his trade and demonstrates his perfect Crispy Skin Barramundi and caramelised cauliflower dish. Sip, listen, participate, and enjoy your seafood meal paired perfectly with the wines.


Riverflats Estate & Bare Nature'sKin will have you indulging yourself in free samplings of locally made body scrubs, foot scrubs, and moisturising creams. Delight your palate with tastings of hot olive, olive oil, and exquisite gourmet condiments, including caramelised soy and vinegar.


Cael’s Gate Wines serves up exceptional wines, delicious grazing boxes and live music from 11am – 2pm in a warm and welcoming ambience, where you can relax, sip and relish.


Krinklewood Wines has an Italian flair with the flavours of authentic wood-fired pizzas, heavenly gelato, and exquisite biodynamic wines crafted on-site by acclaimed Italian winemaker Valentina Moresco.


To discover the vast array of incredible accommodation options from luxe to off-grid, for groups to family farm stays or romantic vibes, the www.brokefordwich.com.au website is the go-to place. They’re all bookable online, but be quick, as this popular festival weekend books out early. Start planning your itinerary!

93 views

Comments


Chateau Elan_Banner_Leaderboard.jpg
WHAT'S NEW?