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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Taste The Season at Tintilla Estate

When it comes to boutique vineyards, family is often the lifeblood of the operation. From growing the grapes and making the wine to serving in the cellar door to managing the books, it’s usually all hands-on-deck at a family-owned and run winery. For almost 30 years, this has undoubtedly been the case for one of the region’s best-kept secrets – Tintilla Estate – a picturesque 25-hectare estate located at the heart of Hunter Valley wine country on Hermitage Road, Pokolbin.


The vineyard, winery and olive grove were established by Sydney based vascular surgeon Robert Lusby in 1994 and have grown into an award-winning destination producing distinctive, individual, single vineyard wines and olive products.

Tintilla is an Old-World term for red wine used by Samuel Pepys interchangeably with claret for the red wine of Bordeaux. The winery cellar door has that wholesome family warmth that keeps people returning. Tintilla, The Dionysian dancer on their labels, draws on the Greek wine tradition of women, followers of the god of wine, joined in the communion of drinking the wine of the Gods with dancing.

A truly unique experience, at Tintilla you can take a seat across the table in their tasting room and sip from a large Riedel glass while eating a cheese platter with an assortment of Tintilla condiments, all whilst looking out over the magnificent rolling vineyards. Olives are also an important element of this grand estate, with over 500 olive trees planted in parts of the property that were not so suitable for grapes.

Interestingly the olives were planted in 1994 before the vines, with the picturesque site surrounded by native trees and lined by olive trees. The olive grove has been extended in stages over the years, with varieties including the initial Spanish varieties of Manzanillo and Sevillano, as well as Verdale, jumbo Kalamata, and the most popular olive, a small-berried Tuscan variety named Frantoio, which exhibits a delightful nutty flavour.

Sold exclusively from the Cellar Door, the olives are handpicked, debittered and fermented before bottling with various traditional herbs and spices.

At the Tintilla cellar door, the visitor will not only gain insight into an array of European olives but get an education on the Hunter region and its produce. From season to season, the produce will vary, with Tintilla producing its fine olives and luscious chilli tomato relish, fig jams and local hunter cheese platters.

Tintilla also produces caramelised vinegars and a vincotto, which incorporate unused tasting wines and the juice from pressings in their respective productions. The caramelised vinegar is aged in oak and then exposed to the variations in climate for over five years to concentrate the full, intense flavours before release.

Vincotto is an elixir made of grape must cooked with orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sweeter and thicker than vinegar, it has subtle overtones of spice and the richness of concentrated grape juice. As a condiment, small slurps are drizzled over roasts, and its versatility extends to dressing salads and fruits.

There is also an orchard from which seasonal jams and relishes are produced, and it is this variety of tastes and produce that result in Tintilla’s essence - a vineyard which has managed to find that perfect blend of food, wine and family.

Not surprisingly, though, Tintilla’s wines are the main attraction at the Estate and were also the inspiration for its name.

Tintilla Estate is for everyone with a love of food and wine, exquisitely reflecting the traditions of the old world with the tastes and flexibility of the new. One of the Hunter Valley’s best-kept secrets, this thoughtful family-run vineyard, winery and olive grove is a leader in the boutique cellar-door wine and food experience.

Tintilla Estate offers daily tastings of their wines and olives, seven days a week from 10.30am until 6pm for groups of less than eight. Booking is highly recommended and can be done online at Tasting experiences are available for groups of more than eight people upon request, via email



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