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  • Liane Morris

Passion for Product and Service | Binnorie Dairy


If you’re visiting the Hunter Valley, chances are you're planning on enjoying some wine during your stay, and nothing is more complementary to wine than good cheese. Binnorie Dairy, conveniently located in Lovedale in the heart of wine country, serves up multi-award winning cheeses and is open seven days per week for complimentary tastings, cheese and charcuterie sales, platters, picnic essentials and light foods.

 

Binnorie Dairy was established by Simon and Sally Gough in April 2003. Originally located at Estate Tuscany on Hermitage Road until moving into purpose-built premises in 2018, it was the brainchild and passion of cheesemaker Simon, whose appetite for cheese began when he studied microbiology at Melbourne University. Simon fell into food and reinforced his skills by travelling overseas to cheese-making destinations like France and Syria, later spending some time working at Yarra Valley Dairy before realising that he could do it himself.


In October 2003, he met his life partner, Sally Gough, who had a background in hospitality in Sydney. Together they established the business of Binnorie Dairy.


“The Hunter Valley was the right place for our business,” said Sally.


“The tourism is robust and high-quality milk is easily accessible, and we’re not too far from major cities. We outgrew the space at Estate Tuscany within five years of setting up.


“Owning our own space with plenty of room for storage and manufacturing was essential for our growth. We’ve been able to develop, to broaden our range and our ability to supply.”


Sadly, Simon passed away in 2022, but his commitment to his staff and his vision for the future have ensured the business remains in good hands, with a dedicated and talented cheese-making team to continue his work. Binnorie Head Cheesemaker Joseph McVey has trained with Simon for over 13 years, working his way up from the packing room where he started. He is ably supported by fellow cheesemaker Alison Tinkler who has also been training for 12 years.


“We have an amazing crew,” said Sally.


“About 15 dedicated people work here, and we all share the passion for our product. Our customer service retail team is like a breath of fresh air, they love selling cheese, and we often get complimented on our service. I couldn’t be more thankful.”



Binnorie Dairy’s flagship, gold-medal, award-winning product is their marinated feta, closely followed by their swoon worthy triple cream brie and creamy labna. For those who love goat’s cheese, there is the Buche de Chèvre, a vine-ash goat cheese log; a spreadable chèvre with dill; or plain, unadorned chèvre that works just as beautifully in baked tarts as it does in a salad. There’s also a washed rind cheese, a soft surface-ripened white mould cheese that exhibits a characteristic orange rind, a chilli and garlic brie for the chilli lovers, and look out for the truffle brie around Christmas.


Visitors to the Dairy can watch the cheesemakers at work, enjoy complimentary cheese tastings and relax on the deck or your picnic rug with a tasty house-made treat such as Tiramisu, Lemonade Scones or Ricotta Cheesecake. Enjoy coffee, wine and, of course, all the delicious cheeses and charcuterie items. If you get carried away, there’s a Binnorie Dairy cooler bag to keep everything cool for the journey home, and if the weather isn’t great, there’s seating indoors too.


The future for Binnorie Dairy is bright, with Sally and the team looking to refresh the brand.


“We supply to local wineries and restaurants and distribute into Sydney restaurants and through Harris Farm. We must be doing something right. Our product is very high quality, and we want to ensure that our branding reflects that. We’re looking to evolve our label so that it matches the sophistication of our product.”


Sally is also keen to educate the market on the health benefits of cheese.


“So many people think it’s fattening or don’t understand what cheeses are. Lots of people who follow keto diets, for example, talk about Boursin, but it’s just a brand name for a herb fromage. Our cheeses are healthy and fresh. Labna is made from yoghurt, and our marinated feta is made the same way as Persian feta, so it can be used in the same recipes, but ours has a superior creamy flavour.”



Binnorie Dairy is open seven days per week from 10am to 5pm. Walkins are welcome.

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