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Sensational Sparklings Make Life Bubblier at Peterson House!


peterson house

Widely recognised as the gateway to the Hunter Valley, Peterson House is the only winery in the region dedicated to sparkling wine.

 

Located in prime position on the corner of Wine Country Drive and the popular Broke Road, this beautiful sandstone property is set amongst the vines and offers an impressive array of experiences for visitors. From the 30 different wines to choose from at the Cellar Door and the multi award-winning Restaurant Cuvee to the wrap-around deck with stunning views and the purpose-built chapel for weddings, there’s no wonder that well over 150,000 people visit each year, and it seems that they all agree with the Peterson House tagline: “life’s flat without bubbles!” Originally established by legendary vigneron Ian Peterson, who wanted to honour the birth of his granddaughter with a new sparkling wine, he discovered that no one in NSW was commercially producing sparkling wine in small volumes. He went about rectifying that in a big way.


Today, the range of sparkling wines is produced using two different methods—Charmat and Methode Traditionalle. The Charmat method produces popular products like the Pink Blush Rose in a timely fashion. The Methode Traditionalle takes more time, with harvesting, crafting, and aging before the sparkling process even begins. The business is considered to be related to the Peterson Family group (as the Peterson family are still shareholders and on the board of directors) but operates separately as a public company.


Often the first stop for most visitors to the valley on their winery tours, the property is also home to Hunter Valley Chocolates and the breakfast of choice for the Balloon Aloft experiences. It’s so incredibly popular that it hosts, on average, 200 weddings per year and consistently wins the coveted Wedding Industry and Brides Choice awards for the venue, the chapel and the restaurant.


Haylee Jonovski, the Marketing Manager at Peterson House, has been a part of the team for six years. She firmly believes that the unwavering passion and dedication of the 150 staff members are the driving force behind the winery's success. This commitment ensures that every visitor experiences the best of what Peterson House has to offer.


“We love our jobs,” says Haylee.


“We want people to have the best possible experience while they are here. I’ve had people hug me and thank me for their best day ever, and I just love that.”


Weddings are a very large part of the business, with a new chapel built in 2019 and upgrades to the marquee taking place this year. Plans are afoot to build accommodation for wedding parties on the property sometime in the near future.


“We don’t open the restaurant for evenings because we keep that time and space for our weddings. Last November, we did 16 weddings straight—one every day for 16 days. The chapel is a beautiful venue, built of sandstone with massive architectural beams. Our marquee is being upgraded this year with glass doors and panels to make even more of the stunning vineyard views,” said Haylee.


Restaurant Cuvee operates seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch to the general public. A destination in its own right, it provides the perfect foil for everything else that the property offers. It serves modern Australian cuisine with influences from around the globe, often determined by the staff's country of origin. The menu changes regularly and includes Italian, Thai, Philippine, Indian, and other Asian choices.


“Possibly one of our most well-known and popular offerings in the restaurant is our Bubbly Breakfast, which includes focaccia, poached eggs, spinach, candied beetroot, mushroom, tomatoes, hash brown, avocado and hummus, washed down with a glass of Pink Blush or Cuvee. Our Head Chef, Chad Pridue, works with his team to create the menus with a focus on fresh seasonal produce from as many local suppliers as possible - seafood from Port Stephens and honey from the head chef's own apiary, for example.”


But the star of this show is the sparkling wine, and bubbles are celebrated everywhere you look.


“We’ve worked hard to achieve a fun, funky vibe that reflects the bubbles of our product,” said Haylee.


“We produce a delicious drinking wine that comes at a great price point, and we celebrate that. When you walk into our cellar door, there are pink neon lights, bubbles drifting from the ceiling, sparkles and bling as well as a huge range of merchandise that people love. We’ve got artworks by Tanya Loviz, earrings, aprons, cooler bags, candles, produce, champagne stoppers, caps, bags, flutes and even a champagne chew toy for your pup!”


peterson house

Wine tastings should be booked, but walk-ins are expected and welcome. Seated tastings are $15pp and provide a choice of five sparkling wines. Add a cheese box for $25, come as a group of 8 to 16 for $30pp and receive a gift of a piccolo, piccolo sipper, a sparkly pen and a cupcake to enjoy with a sweet wine – ideal for hen’s parties or trips away with the girls. But perhaps the best tasting experience of all is the Gelato and Sparkling Wine Tasting. For $35pp, you can enjoy a range of gelato from the Smelly Cheese Shop, matched with sparkling wines. This unique experience is lots of interactive fun, with tasters being encouraged to guess the flavour of gelato.


There are two very different sides to the sparkling wines on offer, which is reflected in the wine club memberships. The Pink Club is for those who enjoy the easy drinking, sweeter style Pink Blush, and the Premium Club is for those who enjoy premium dryer traditional methode sparkling wine such as the famous Pinot Noir Chardonnay Meunier. Both memberships provide a raft of discounts and added extras, the highlight being the member events that are offered regularly throughout the year. Upcoming events include Italian cooking classes, an inaugural member’s golf day on 31 May, Christmas in July, an annual wine cruise and perhaps the most interesting of all, the Bubbleologist Experience, where you tour the production facility and craft your very own personalised bubbles.


bubbleologist
Image: Guy Dixon

Peterson House is nominated this year for the Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year, and it’s no wonder. With a huge range of wines to suit every palate and occasion, all set in stunning surroundings, Peterson House is a must-visit. If you can’t get to Peterson House to experience it for yourself, you can purchase everything online at www.petersonhouse.com.au.

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