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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

A Tale of Two Palates

Don't drive past the Magpie – or you'll miss out on what might just be the wine and food mecca of Lovedale! With two delicious reasons to pull over on your way down Lovedale Road from the Hunter Expressway, The Deck Café and Gartelmann Wines have become a must-visit destination for the palate.


Gartelmann Wines was established in the Hunter Valley in 1996 by Jan and Jorg Gartelmann, who developed a boutique winery specialising in award-winning handcrafted wines using grapes sourced from the Lower and Upper Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Rylstone, and Orange regions of NSW.

The entire property was purchased in 2020 by Matt Dillow, local ‘Celebrity’ Chef and owner of the very popular The Deck Café, which was already located on the site, having opened there in 2013.

The Deck Café is the perfect place to start the day, with everything from light snacks to hearty breakfasts on the menu. Enjoy freshly made scones, Belgian waffles, a breaky burrito, or cure your ‘big night out’ with the Hangover Roll. If you’re after something to fill you up for a full day of wine tours, look no further than the mouth-watering Wood Roasted Salmon or Big Breakfast.

The Tapas menu for lunch and dinner is ideal for sitting back and relaxing with friends as you take in the incredible view. Begin with Duck Liver Parfait with grilled sourdough, cornichons and champagne jelly or Prosciutto and rosemary wrapped baked brie with cranberry pecan jam and grilled sourdough.

Follow these dishes with Nduja poached Lobster Tail with saffron linguini and zucchini flower, tempura prawn and crab coriander nori roll with a chilli mango sauce if you’re a seafood lover, or for the carnivores amongst us, sink your teeth into the Prosciutto and Sage-wrapped Pork Tenderloin with pearl cous cous, pimento and Hunter Valley fetta salad or the rosemary and preserved lemon Lamb Backstrap with caponata and roasted kipfler.

For the sweet tooths, finish off with the pineapple, mint and agavi granita with dragonfruit salsa and vanilla mascarpone or Matts specialty – the soft-centred Chocolate Soufflé with vanilla ice cream. These are just a handful of the dishes available on an extremely diverse (and delicious) Tapas Menu.

The Deck Café is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch and for dinner on Friday and Saturday. You can also book for weddings, private functions and off-site catering. But if that’s not enough, you can join Matt on his Food, Wine and Produce Tours, with destinations like Tasmania, Margaret River, New Zealand and Italy; it’s an experience to remember. And if you would like to learn how to cook flavoursome dishes in your own home, keep an eye out for the Spanish Paella, Classic French and Classic Italian cooking classes at

All dishes pair perfectly with Gartelmann Wines (of course!), which is also conveniently located on the property. Revered for its diverse portfolio, showcasing a spectrum of flavours and styles, Gartelmann Wines’ offerings range from elegant whites to bold reds, each bottle a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and expertise. The flagship wines, such as the Diedrich Shiraz and Jessica Verdelho, exemplify the distinct character and quality synonymous with Gartelmann.

Operations Manager Jimmy Smith works closely with Matt on developing the wines, along with Liz Silkman and Annabel Holland at First Creek Winemaking Services.

“Matt and I both taste the wines during their production and finish the wines with the winemakers to ensure they are of a quality and style truly fitting with the Gartelmann range and history,” says Jimmy.

“We’re excited about some of the new wines we released in 2023. Tammy’s Riesling was the first in a range of new varietals from different regions, and Gartelmann’s first Tawny was produced and released last year. We have a Barbera wine from the Orange region, which will be released this year. We are also looking at Montepulciano, hopefully from the 2024 vintage and a new vintage of the infamous Diedrich Shiraz.”

Gartelmann Wines, along with The Deck Café, is a Hunter Valley landmark winery offering tastings of award-winning wines and fabulous food. Beautiful gardens and grounds complete the package, with an animal farm to amuse the kids. Located at Lovedale, you can’t, and shouldn’t, miss the magpie!



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