A Place to Connect Within a Field of Vines
A visit to Winmark Wines is all about creating connections.
Whether it’s introducing a wine lover to a premium bottle of Chardonnay, giving guests the opportunity to interact with architecture, art and nature, or forging links between the past and the present, the Broke property never fails to deliver.
This reputation is testament to the passion poured into revitalising the former
Pooles Rock Estate by its Danish-born owner Karin Adcock.
The experienced entrepreneur and fledgeling vigneron experienced a connection of her own when she visited the breathtakingly beautiful 130-acre property in 2016 and walked away soon afterwards as its new owner.
“I am proud to say that everything I could visualise, everything I fell in love with about the potential of the property the first day I visited is now coming to life,” Karin said.
“As an entrepreneur, I have been involved in many businesses, including as the founder of Pandora Australia, but the core value that I bring to everything I do is a hunger to create positive experiences for people and facilitating a connection.
“Winmark Wines is a place to connect.”
When Karin took the reins at the Broke property, some of the first connections she made were with a team of wine industry experts, who would help build upon the vineyard’s reputation of producing top-quality Chardonnay under a new aptly named label, Winmark Wines, which in Danish means ‘fields of vines’.
“I am fortunate to have a very experienced team, from our award-winning viticulturist Liz Riley to our vineyard manager Dave Grosser who actually grew up amongst the vines as his father was tending to the Pooles Rock vineyard,” Karin said.
“John Belsham is our consultant winemaker, and I have the great privilege of being guided by him, particularly when it comes to developing our desired style of Chardonnay.
“John is also working closely with our local winemaker Xanthe Hatcher at Agnew Wines where our wine is being made.
“The knowledge and experience of the team is just incredible, but the best thing of all is we have come together so harmoniously with a shared vision that it never feels like it’s one person’s idea or way of doing things.”
Karin said the decision was made early on to focus solely on the production of Chardonnay.
“Chardonnay does incredibly well on the site, and the wine produced is exquisite. The ability to focus on a single wine variety has allowed us to really strategise how each block is planted and taken care of,” she said.
“The first 18 rows of block four were planted with the famous Penfolds 58 clone of Chardonnay in 1972, and we have introduced a couple of Burgundy clones to some other blocks.
“This also creates an exciting opportunity for winemaking as seen in our Single Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay, which is the winemaker’s snapshot of the year, bringing the best attributes of the vineyard and season to produce the song of the vintage.”
Dry conditions led to a standout vintage in 2019, which saw Winmark increase its tonnage of premium fruit for two distinctly different releases, the stylish Rusty’s Run Chardonnay, named after Winmark’s favourite kelpie, Rusty, and the premium Single Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay.
“Each vintage is different, and we respond to the best attributes of our site,” Karin said.
“Chardonnay is an expression of the place where it is grown, and so it is unique due to everything that happens in our vineyard.
“All of our fruit is gently picked and pressed at night to maintain freshness. Then there are variations in the time spent in the initial oak fermentation.
“A shorter time in oak and then maturing in stainless steel, for example, was the process we used to create the crisp, dry finish and subtle balance focused on the elegance of peach and citrus notes in our 2019 Rusty’s Run, whereas our Single Vineyard Reserve was matured in French oak for 12 months, which allowed the depth of roasted nuts and butterscotch with layers of citrus and honey melon and creamy texture and velvet undertone to come through.”
There’s no better place to taste either of these Chardonnays than Winmark Wines’ new cellar door, which opened earlier this year.
Located at the heart of the property, the former Pooles Rock storage sheds were converted into a beautifully-designed cellar door that ensures the history of the property is cherished.
Clad in a dark grey Colorbond and featuring long windows and bi-fold doors, it is nestled into sandstone surrounds, making it the perfect destination to enjoy a wine tasting while taking in spectacular views over the 28-acre vineyard to the magnificent Broken Back Ranges beyond.
“It was a long process (to create the cellar door) but sometimes life takes the path it is meant to,” Karin said.
“I initially was looking at a totally new freestanding modern development, which for various reasons, didn’t go ahead.
“But I am so grateful for that process because this cellar door is such a reflection of where we are now whilst still paying homage to the history of the property. It is so authentic; it has a story, and I love it.
“The former storage sheds were built back in the ’70s, and with some loving care, I am so delighted with the result. The response from our guests has exceeded our expectations; it has been an incredible journey.”
While Karin said it is incredibly rewarding after all their efforts in the vineyards to see the Winmark Chardonnay bottles beautifully lined up on the shelves ready for people to taste, her favourite aspect of the new cellar door is the connections it is helping to create.
"The honest truth of what I love most? Walking in and hearing the joyful laughter of guests, the tinkle of glasses as they sip and enjoy, the collective chatter as they connect and admire the views across the vineyards and the joy as they watch the spectacular sun setting across the property."
Guests are encouraged to extend their experience at Winmark Wines beyond the cellar door, with the property’s stunning grounds offering a wonderland of art, architecture and nature to explore, from a growing collection of sculptures to an overflowing rose garden, picturesque dams and natural landmarks of historical significance.
Set against the beauty of Yellow Rock escarpment, this is a place to unwind and truly connect with nature completely.
Nestled alongside the vineyards, Winmark also offers four distinctive guesthouses that can accommodate up to 34 people and vary from a laid back hideaway to the luxurious primary residence.
The most recent addition to the line-up is Villa Vino (above), a gorgeous “tiny house” style destination set behind the main dam away from the other accommodation, making it perfect for a romantic escape.
“It was the missing piece to our accommodation offering,” Karin said.
“We recognised that our other properties - Mio Monte (above) that has seven bedrooms and Rock View with five bedrooms - are ideally suited to families and groups staying with us. And of course, the Private Residence offers a more executive getaway with four bedrooms, each with ensuites.
“We wanted to welcome the lovers of tiny getaways, the couples and the individuals looking for something gorgeous and cosy that still opens out to the vineyards and provides spectacular views.
“Without a doubt, the huge windows that line the tiny house are the best views of the vineyard on the property. To wake up, open the blinds and just watch the sunrise across the vineyard with a cup of coffee is my favourite place.”
While the opening of the cellar door and the addition of Villa Vino has certainly kept Karin busy during the past few months, there is still plenty more to come at Winmark Wines.
“The short term plans are underway, but the list is long, so it feels like we are always working on our plans!” Karin said.
“We have planted roses at the end of each row of vines, which will look amazing as they bloom. Each block has its own type of rose so you will literally see blocks outlined in different colour roses, I can’t wait!
“We have new sculptures on their way to be installed, including ‘Celest’, which is the second monumental sculpture from David Ball that will be on the property, and a sculpture from local artist Rode Vella from Wollombi who created ‘Fight or Flight’, which won the People’s Choice award last year at Sculpture in the Vineyards.
“And of course at the Cellar Door, we are still adding details to the outside seating area, with beautiful furniture and pots to ensure everyone is comfortable.
“Our constant focus is on continually developing our Chardonnay. It is such a huge privilege to have this property, which has consistently produced stunning wine, to now be focused on Winmark Chardonnay.
“I am also very proud to be hosting our first Mindfulness Retreat with Charlotte Thaarup as our facilitator in late October. She is just amazing and brings more than 12 years’ experience in mindfulness to our group.
“We have some cultural experiences we are further developing, as so many guests and corporate groups have just loved time with our friend, Aboriginal Elder Gavi, and his storytelling, didgeridoo playing and smoking ceremonies.
“In the long term, retreats and corporate events during the week will be a focus for 2021, especially as it suits the current climate of having small groups participate in meaningful connections.
“I really do love creating beautiful spaces for people to enjoy so that they walk away and feel they have had a wonderful experience by visiting Winmark.”
Visit www.winmarkwines.com.au for more information or to book a weekend away at one of their stunning guesthouses.
Photos: Justin Aveling www.justinavelingphoto.com