"And yet, the man who could sit under the shade of his own vine, with his wife and children about him and the ripe clusters hanging within their reach, in such a climate as this and not feel the highest enjoyment, is incapable of happiness and does not know what the words mean." James Busby - A Treatise on the Culture of the Vine and the Art of Making Wine .
Amongst the many family-owned and managed wineries in the Hunter Valley are those that have moved to the Hunter Valley as part of a ‘’tree change’’ – a lifestyle change for themselves and their family. With them they bring an amazing work ethic and a gritty determination to make a name for themselves in the highly competitive wine and hospitality industry.
For many, it is a significant ivestment in their future and also those of their children and an opportunity to create a legacy to be handed down to future generations.Darren and Tracey Scott owners of RidgeView on Sweetwater Road in Pokolbin, fit thismould. This year they are celebrating 15 years in the Hunter Valley after purchasing their 40 hectare property on Sweetwater Road in Pokolbin in 2000.
Their maxim ‘’Our Passion, Your Reward'' is printed, on the label of all RidgeView wines and its clear to see why.It was during their fist trip to the Hunter Valley in the early 1990's that Darren, a Sydney-based dentist and wife Tracey fell in love with the natural beauty of the region and decided that this is where they wanted to base their future.
A few years later the dream became a reality when they purchased the property "Ironbark Estate" on Sweetwater Ridge which they named RidgeView due to the fact that it was located on one of the highest points on Sweetwater Ridge Estate and came with such magnificent viws.With the help of their four children and a bunch of close friends, Darren and Tracey set about the daunting task of transforming the 40 hectare timber property into a vineyard with 22 acres of selected vines, four self-contained cottages as well as a cellar door and restaurant.
The process of preparing the soil, planting, training and pruning vines brought home the reality that this dream was going to take a great deal of hard work. Never-the-less in 2001 RidgeView Cottages were completed and the 22 acre vineyard established.
In 2004, the fist grapes were hand- picked and their fist vintage wines bottled and labeled. After ten years of unwavering determination, Darren and Tracey’s ultimate dream was realised in 2010 with the opening of their state-of-the-art cellar door and outstanding 110 seat restaurant both of which are ideally positioned to make the most of the views of the vineyards.
Recommended by James Halliday as a 5 Star Winery for a second consecutive year, RidgeView Wines, produce a diverse selection of wines with varieties that include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Traminer.This family owned and operated vineyard has continued to earn industry distinction over the years – winning numerous awards at regional wine shows including the 2006 ‘’Generations’’ Reserve Shiraz being awarded Best Young Shiraz at the 2009 NSW Wine Awards.
More recently, the multiple gold winning 2011 “Impressions” Shiraz took out the trophy for Best pre-2012 Shiraz at the invitation only 2015 Winewise Championships. RidgeView Wines were also very successful at the recent Boutique Winemakers Show where they were awarded three trophies for their 2007 Shiraz, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Botrytis Semillon.
Backing this up, RidgeView then won trophy for Best Chardonnay 2013 and Older for the 2012 Impressions Chardonnay at the 2015 NSW Small Winemakers Show. With the multi-talented Executive Chef Donna Hollis at the helm, the family orientated restaurant is considered one of the best in the Hunter Valley and extremely popular amongst both locals and visitors with its emphasis on fresh seasonal local produce coupled with a strong Mediterranean influence and carefully seleced food and wine pairing options.
The restaurant is also a popular wedding venue – catering for up to 110 people. If you love your wine and food – make sure to include RidgeView on the top of your list of places to visit while in the Hunter Valley. As they say at RidgeView, "Kopiaste" – come, eat, enjoy!