Ok, so I do accept guest posts on my site. Honestly, it can be a bear. Most of the stuff that I get, is complete and utter garbage (if I am being honest). Our writer here Liam, reached out and then almost amazingly, wrote something custom based on the city in which he lives. So, I’m happy to bring this to you, about a custom crush and urban winery based in Australia. Given that I think these type of wineries are the future of the wine industry, it’s nice to see them starting in other parts of the world as well.
Once upon a time in 1989, an earthquake shook the Australian city of Newcastle. But now more than 30 years from that incident, this city is beginning to experience some rumbles and is being shaken by something entirely different from the earthquake. The landscape of the inner city of Newcastle is changing into a more cultural and social hub from the wasteland that it was over 30 years ago. Restaurants and cafes are beginning to take up different positions in the city hub, as the city continues its post-BP and post-mining era.
But one thing that is most symbolic of the dramatic change in the city and its evolution into a cultural and social hub, it’s the founding and subsequent growth of a winery in the inner city of Newcastle.
This winery was opened by Rob Wilce, a winemaker, and Janine, his partner, in what was formerly a car workshop backing a laneway that was known for prostitution and drugs. This winery has now grown in leaps and bounds from when it was first started in 2011 till now.
According to Rob, when they first started they were the only winemakers in the inner city in Australia. Rob and Jaime worked at the Hunter Valley wine industry at Pokolbin before moving from Sydney to Newcastle more than sixteen years ago. They started the winery after the migration, and that was something they always wanted to do for themselves according to the old. They would have started out at the inner city in Sydney but that would have cost them a lot more, so they decided to move into Newcastle to accomplish their dream of owning a winery.
It took them until 2014 before they were able to make their first vintage after they had taken some years to develop the concept, they had to find the most appropriate premise and get approval from the necessary councils.
Grapes used for the wine are gotten from a hunter valley nearby and also from other regions of New South Wales, Young, Orange, Tenterfield and New England. The winemaker will try out unusual varietals to produce a Gewurtztraminer, and a bouquet rich in pineapple and lychee, which accompanies spicy food.
This winery in the inner city of Newcastle is already receiving a lot of plaudits, and deservedly so. A Winestate magazine named its product, Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘best in its class’ at the back of a five stars award in 2015.
Wilce’s winemaking philosophy is that 95% of the wine is created in the vineyard, a winemaker just guides the final process through. According to him, they have an extremely rustic method in which the wines are pressed with the hands and during fermentation, the reds are also plunged with the hands.
The winery at Wickham has an artistic feel which is partly due to Janine, Wilce’s partner being an artist and partly due to the beautiful street work in Wickham. Every two months, the winery hosts exhibitions and also makes some street art wines, which features labels that the local talents created. This winery is also prominently involved in the street art festival that comes up every two years in Wickham.
The locals at Wickham have now completely embraced the winery and it’s also beginning to garner attention from other visitors as well, and rob while explains that he regularly source grapes from different regions. The diversity that he gets from these locations helps him to craft out the best wine collections, which ranges from whites to sparkling reds and the fortified variety.
The plan which he had for the winery initially was an on-site production of the wine. But that soon became impossible for Rob with the council taking as much as three years before they approved their business application. He figured they couldn’t wait for that long before he started to make wine. So, he moved out of the production of his wine off-site to Branxton where his friends also own a winery.
He made the decision to allow local artists to use the space when he saw the prospect for his business beyond just wine production and that decision has proven to be the right one. They have gallery openings every 5 or 6 weeks, and they also have wine tasting nights within an interval of 6-8 weeks. the little space only accommodates an average of 50 guests, but as word started to spread about the entertainment and food quality, Rob has made more successes along with some local artists. This has led to local artists booking the space out throughout the whole year. If you ever find yourself in Newcastle during one of these meetings, you should your way down to Rob’s winery. The hospitality and warmth that you are bound to receive are next to none.
Every person who has been to Rob’s winery at the inner city of Wickham in Newcastle has had something positive to say. The rave reviews are usually centered on the delicious taste of the wine, and the hospitality and friendliness of Rob, the winery owner. Something that also commonly fascinates the visitors, about Rob, when they go to the winery is the amount of knowledge that he has about wine and winemaking and his willingness to talk about it, share his knowledge and experience with other people. Of course, you’d expect a great deal of experience from someone that has been in this business for over 20 years. But when you realize that his main work in the wine companies he worked at formerly was marketing and sales, it hits you that the amount of knowledge and skill he now has is due to his diligence in learning the fundamentals of winemaking in all those years.
Today, Rob’s winery is your best bet for red, white, pink, vintage wines in Newcastle. His fame and acceptance among the locals have grown and he’s beginning to attract interest from external parties and visitors as well. Rob now has a wine club with hundreds of members already, and these are the people that help him with his marketing. You really can’t taste those wines and not want to help market them. That’s how good the wines are.
This popular winery is located at 28 Church Street, Wickham, NSW 2293 and has opening days and time. From Wednesday to Saturday, it’s open from 10 am to 5 pm. But on Sundays, it closes by 6 pm and opens by 10 am. While it isn’t open on Mondays and Tuesdays. The telephone number of (02) 49623545 and their website is www.innercitywinemakers.com.au.
It would have been hard to imagine what Newcastle would look like in the future back in 1989 after the earthquake. No one then would have been able to predict how much the city would recover or if it ever would. But 30 years from then, the disaster is already in the distant past, the city becoming a new cultural and social hub with a winery that has caught everyone by surprise.
Liam Catalan has been working as a self-employed copywriter for 5 years and has developed a reputation for great assignment writing services after previously working as an editor at the University of Melbourne newspaper. He is an expert in topics related to traveling, gaming, and writing.