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  • Liane Morris

Funky Flavours and Quirky Vibes | Pokolbin Cider House


pokolbin cider house

Overlooking the Great Dividing Range in a stunning Hunter Valley setting is the region’s one and only authentic cider house.

 

Pokolbin Cider House is putting a winemaking slant on cider production and creating a boutique craft drinking experience that offers an appealing alternative to wine tasting. Add in some quirky vibes, funky music, and a sensationally relaxed outdoor space, and you’ll have a winning formula for your next visit to the Hunter.


Jacki Dunn grew up in Branxton and began her working life in retail for Sanity Music, where she stayed for 15 years. A chance meeting with Michael Partridge, Petersons Wines' Sommelier at the time, led to her joining the team in cellar door sales at Peterson’s. She quickly moved through wine club management and then sales at Savannah Estate. Fast-forward nine years, and today, she is the Operations Manager for Pokolbin Cider House and the Petersons Wines Singapore Cellar Door.


“The cider started out as a side venture, a fun thing to do back in 2011,” said Jacki.


“It hadn’t been taken very seriously, and during COVID, management decided to close it down. Colin Peterson asked me what I thought, and I felt quite passionate about it. I thought they were mad to shut it down because it’s the only cider house in the region. He gave me an opportunity to make it work—and we have.”


It's the winemaking equipment and expertise that has led to the development of the cider product range. It began with a traditional apple cider when the team created the original Classic Draught Cider, followed by Raspberry Cranberry Cider. It wasn’t long before they added the ‘sparkling’ with secondary fermentation and aging in the bottle just like a sparkling wine, creating the Vintage Cider with a complex, yeasty and sophisticated flavour. The range developed further with Grape Cider, another winemaking twist and a Sweet Spiced Cider followed by Pear Ciders – Perry. Since then, there’s been a cask aged and Vintage Perry and to date, there are nine different flavours of cider available. The range changes each year and depends on what fruit is available, with most of the fruit coming from Orange.


pokolbin cider house

Visitors to the Pokolbin Cider House can enjoy tasting paddles of four different ciders or two ciders and two wines. The kids are well catered for with juice paddles so that they can join in the fun with mum and dad. They also serve Dusty Miner Craft Beers and Cider Tails – cocktails made with cider. If you get hungry there are cheese boards, ploughman’s

lunches and margherita or pepperoni pizzas. Of course, there’s also the famous Sabor Dessert Bar on the same site – a match made in ‘sweet spot’ heaven.


The outdoor deck is spectacular, overlooking the vines of Lambloch Estate with views across to the mountains. It’s a unique space with a distinct style made apparent by the artwork of Tanya Loviz.


“Tanya’s mixed-media artworks adorn our walls and all our cider labels. They’re colourful and quirky and suit our brand. We’ve just started running Sip ‘n’ Sparkle events, where participants can explore their artistic side by learning and applying Tanya’s secret embellishing techniques, socialising with friends, and enjoying lunch and a tasting. They can even have their photo taken in a giant wine glass and become one of Tanya’s living artworks! It’s loads of fun.”


In terms of what the future holds for the valley’s only cider house, Jacki has a few ideas.


“We get asked about non-alcoholic cider all the time. It’s a real trend at the moment. More equipment is required to de-alcoholise after fermentation, but I’d love to create one. We’d also like to get a commercial kitchen on-site so that we can offer more food options to our patrons, and I’d like to explore night-time events as an option. We do private functions regularly, and I’m keen to grow that side of the business.”


The Pokolbin Cider House is a unique character-filled option for anyone visiting the Hunter Valley. The cute and quirky cubby house set amongst the vines is eminently Instagrammable, as is the stunning mountain backdrop from the fabulous deck or the Tanya Loviz artworks. And, of course, there is the thirst-quenching and delicious range of ciders to tempt your taste buds for something a little different. We dare you to decide which is your favourite!


pokolbin cider house

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