Cherry Tree Hill Wines
12324 Hume Hwy, Sutton Forest, NSW
0414 366 000
Hungarian wines may not be well known in Australia, but Cherry Tree Hill Wines has its roots in the Central European nation.
Despite its history, the boutique winery now has its feet firmly planted in New South Wales, producing award-winning wines year after year. The Lorentz family has run Cherry Tree Hill since the 1980s, when the property was a cattle station.
Gabi Lorentz remembers growing up on a vineyard in regional Hungary where he would travel through the rows of vines on a horse and cart with his grandfather. In 2000, with the help of his son Dave, he reinvigorated his love for wine, planting the first vines at their Sutton Forest property.
Initially the pair planted cabernet sauvignon and riesling grapes before branching out with sauvignon blanc, merlot and chardonnay. Recently, they also grafted 4.5 hectares of pinot, with plans to make a consistently awarded wine.
Ian Evans started his journey working with the Murray Grey stud at Cherry Tree Hill but was particularly intrigued by the vines. With help from Gabi and Dave, Ian headed off to university where he achieved straight distinctions. Over time he has grown to become one of the most respected viticulturists in the region and has helped Cherry Tree Hill become famous for its single vineyard offerings.
When paying a visit to Cherry Tree Hill, the riesling is a must try. The flagship wine has taken out the award for Best Riesling in New South Wales twice in five years, and Dave believes its success is due to the wine’s ability to take on the characteristics of the region and climate, staying true to the vineyard’s terroir.
Another favourite is Cherry Tree Hill’s distinctive sauvignon blanc. This intriguing drop is partially barrel fermented, allowing it to take on some of the characteristics usually associated with a fume blanc, but in a lighter, more approachable style. Dave uses Hungarian barrels not only to pay homage to his heritage but also to add a slightly spicy flavour to the wine. Although cabernet is a hard grape to ripen in cool climates, when done correctly the results are delicious.
Ian crops the vines heavily and when required, drops fruit on the ground, producing a low, but high quality yield. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. As a cold-climate region, frost is a threat to the vines. Cherry Tree Hill and many of other vineyards in the region lost their entire 2007 vintage to frost when the temperature dropped well below freezing. They’ve grown from such experiences, and have since installed frost fans to protect their precious vines.
When you arrive at the Cellar Door, the first thing you’ll notice is the array of magnums, jeroboams and imposing six-litre Methuselah bottles stored, out of necessity, in custom-built wine racks. These bottles are available for sale and are a great way to preserve premium wine.
Admire the range from your seat at one of the tasting tables or on a sunny day, head outside and relax, taking in the view of the vineyard. Complete your picnic with a tasting plate full of local delights including cheese, salami from a local pig farm and chutney, made in the garage of a retired one-hat chef.