Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Meet the Characters: Iain Riggs, Brokenwood Wines

“Make great wine and have fun” is the laidback mission statement of Brokenwood Wines, which Chief Winemaker and Managing Director Iain Riggs swears by.

Despite being a five-star winery in the Hunter Valley – Australia’s oldest wine region, situated about two hours’ drive north of Sydney – Brokenwood’s philosophy is far from straitlaced.

“While wine is our primary product here, we’re also in the business of selling good food and good times with good people,” says Iain.

Having grown up around the wine industry in South Australia, Iain studied winemaking before later joining Brokenwood in 1982, when it was still a small hobby winery.

Largely responsible for Brokenwood’s subsequent transformation – from small-scale operation to internationally lauded commercial business – it’s Iain’s handiwork you’ll taste, when you visit the estate. “Our wines showcase both locally grown grapes, as well as fruit sourced from other prominent regions, to add more diversity to the range,” he explains.

Among Brokenwood’s most highly awarded wines are the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz and Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, named after historic plans from the 1880s to establish a township close to where Brokenwood now stands.

“Many years ago, town planners were hoping to develop a local graveyard and a community playing field right where those particular vineyards were planted. Needless to say, no town eventuated,” says Iain.

Today you can sample Brokenwood’s excellent array of wines at the new multimillion-dollar cellar door, the largest complex in the Hunter. Boasting striking contemporary design, an expansive outdoor terrace, private tasting and dining rooms, and a wine museum, there’s also fine dining at The Wood Restaurant, where seafood takes centre stage. Look out for fresh wares on display from the iconic Sydney Fish Market – just add a Hunter Valley Semillon to complete the meal.