Coolangatta Estate Winery – Berry NSW
Stepping back in time we arrive at Coolangatta Estate Vineyard on the South Coast of NSW. This historic site was first established by Alexander Berry in the 1800’s after he received a land grant from the crown. Whilst the town 10 minutes to the west bares his name, Coolangatta was the site of his homestead and village.
Fast forward 200 years and the Coolangatta cottages, servants quarters, convict shed etc have been restored as a unique and historic accommodation property.
Always on the lookout for somewhere a little different to explore I decided to book hubby and I into the estate for the night.
Upon arrival we were greeted by rolling green hills, many of which were under vines baring plump deep red grapes. The feeling is relaxing and tranquil. We were given a key to the coachman’s house which was to be our home for the evening.
Sensibly it was located across from the restored stables. It still fills me with wonder that not so long ago a horse and cart were a necessity to travel.
Walking around the estate my mind wandered to what it must have been like to live in the 1820’s. Berry had made a request to the governor for the land in 1822. The land was granted to Berry as he agreed to take 100 convicts off the governors hands. This represented a saving of 16000 pounds over 10 years to the new government. The new colony was short of food, money and resources so this was a favourable arrangement for the governor.
The convicts were put to work on the property, producing food, wood for ships, ship building and running cattle. Buildings on the property are a testament to how productive and self sufficient the property needed to be to sustain its occupants. Many of the convicts choose to stay with Berry long after their sentences were served.
Whilst the history of the property is very interesting, I was looking forward to trying some of the Coolangatta Estate wines.
Grape vines had featured on the original property and have been reinstated over the last 25 years. The property has produced 24 vintages, and the grapes used have been 100% from grapes grown on the estate. There are now 9 different grape varieties covering 10 of the 130 hectare property.
Andrew Spinaze of Tyrells Winery in the Hunter Valley has been the chief winemaker for Coolangatta estate since the vineyard began. Under his direction the Coolangatta Estate has emerged as the region’s most successful winery.
Coolangatta Estate has a cellar door and a licensed restaurant on the grounds. We made our way over to the cellar and met with our friendly host who was full of more historic information and a wealth of vineyard knowledge.
Coolangatta Estate Semillon 2013
Our tasting commenced with the Coolangatta Estate Semillon 2013, described as a vibrant Semillon on the tasting notes. The aroma of the wine was citrusy and fresh, and the colour a light straw. On tasting the initial flavour was crisp and grassy supported by more creamy full palate experience. I noticed the citrus notes which had been in the aroma again in the finish. This was my favourite wine on tasting at the estate.
Coolangatta Estate Savagnin 2012
The 2012 Savagnin was another favourite. In case you are wondering, the spelling isn’t a typo. The grape is unique and no relation to the Sauvignon Blanc variety.
The Spanish Savagnin grape was planted at Coolongatta Estate due to the similar climate experienced on the South Coast to it’s native Spanish home. On tasting the wine there were delicious peachy flavours and a crisp citrus finish.
We tried a few of the reds and I was pleased to see Chambourcin featured in the range. This is a grape that Port Macquarie winemaker John Cassegrain introduced to the area. In the Coffs Coast & Hastings River area it’s a popular grape for red wine. Coolangatta Estate acquired vines from Cassegrain Wines in 1993.
Returning to the Coachman’s House to prepare for dinner reminded me of visiting nanna’s. The decor is very much 1940’s. Pink painted walls, floral curtains, dark wood furniture and two fireplaces are the stand out features. Anywhere else the look might not have worked, here it added to the feeling of being immersed in history.
Nanna did include some modern comforts in the room. The room had a flat screen TV, comfy bed with gorgeous thick white linen, air-conditioning and free Wifi.
One last thing… did the name Coolangatta confuse you at all? The name is aboriginal for good view or good lookout and was given to the area by Berry in 1822. The Queensland namesake acquired the name Coolangatta after a ship which was wrecked off the coast of Queensland in 1846. The boat had been built in 1840 at Coolangatta NSW and given the name “Coolangatta”. Six years later it was wrecked off the Queensland coast. The remains of the wreck were found by sand miners in 1954.
Such an interesting history!
Are you fascinated by our Australian history as much as I am? It seems impossible that these times existed such a short time ago. It has been an incredible experience learning about the history of the area and staying in such a historic property.