• Di von Essen

Much to Celebrate at Gartelmann Wines


Gartelmann Wines have much to celebrate and be proud of – having spent the past 19 years producing some of the Hunter Valleys finest and most awarded wines. Owner and winemaker Jorg Gartelmann was just two years old when his father, a German army officer, was killed on the Eastern Front. Jorg, his twin brother Dieter, sister Ruth and their mother were then taken in and cared for by their grandfather Diedrich and their uncle Wilhelm. Visitors to the Gartelmann cellar door will note that the highly regarded and much awarded Gartelmann Diedrich Shiraz and Wilhelm Shiraz wines are dedicated to the memory of these two men who played such an influential role in Jorg's early life.

"My wine philosophy is simple: I only produce wines that I would like to drink – and that means immediately approachable and with balance.” Jorg Gartelmann

In 1953 Jorg, his siblings, his mother and his stepfather migrated to Australia from Bremen, North Germany via the SS Anna Saleen and Jorg later carved out a successful career in the computer industry.

In 1996, after Jorg suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery, he and his wife Jan quit the computer business and Sydney to move to the Hunter Valley where they bought a rundown vineyard in the Lovedale area. The vineyard, planted in 1970 by renown Sydney restaurateur, Oliver Shaul and known as George Hunter Estate offered enormous potential and especially good soil and sub-soil in the Shiraz blocks.

With the aim to make only top quality wines from the 39 acres of vines, Jorg commenced making a limited amount of wine under the Gartelmann label in 1997 before moving into full production in 1998 - specialising in the classic Hunter Valley varieties of Semillon and Shiraz for which they have won multiple awards.

After ten years of hard work, some major improvements and winning numerous medals and trophies, Jorg and Jan were approached to sell the vineyard but retained the property on Lovedale Rd on which the cellar door is located.

With the sale of the vineyard, Jorg decided to adopt the ways of the French and become a ‘negociant’ - buying specially selected, high quality grapes to produce wine under his label.

Using his nineteen years of wine producing experience, Jorg now oversees everything from grape selection and production to when the wine is eventually bottled - ensuring the Gartelmann quality and style is retained in each and every bottle.

Gartelmann Wines now source their grapes from the Hunter Valley and other NSW regions, including the cool Rylstone area in Mudgee and export to the US, Germany, Singapore and China.

As well as the award winning varieties of Semillon and Shiraz, Gartelmann Wines also produce Verdelho, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet and a Liqueur Muscat. The Cellar Door also has 2 beers - an Australian Ale and an Irish Red Ale available from the Black Duck Brewery. Marketing and sales are left to Jan, who spent 25 years living in Europe and this European influence is very evident in the interesting cellar door with its fireplace, large deck overlooking a bird filled pond and private art collection sourced from Hunter Valley artists.

The small cellar door has the feeling of a country house and at this time of the year there is always a fire blazing in the fireplace inside. Being a true family owned and operated winery, Jan and Jorg can often be found in and around the Cellar Door talking with guests and answering questions.

A recent addition to the Cellar Door was the opening of the Deck Cafe - now a popular breakfast and lunch venue amongst both locals and tourists and owned by local restaurateur Matt Dillow.

It's easy to see why Gartelmann Wines has been rated by James Halliday as a 5 Star Winery - one of Australia’s best! With its award winning wines, great atmosphere and stylish restaurant-style cafe - a visit to the Gartelmann Cellar Door is a ''must do'' for any visitor to the Hunter Valley.

So look out for the magpie as you drive along Lovedale Road - and when you do, you will know that you have discovered a real gem of a producer with some outstanding wines. For more information visit www.gartelmann.com.au

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