The Wonnarua ‘people of the hills and plains’ were the first inhabitants of this Valley and their history dates around 30,000 years ago. The Baiame cave at the end of Milbrodale Rd has a 10,000-year-old cave painting of Baiame ‘the creator of all’. In respect to the First Nation people who were here before us, we see ourselves as custodians of this land and strive to look after it for future generations.
The Hunter Valley was established in the 1830’s when vineyards were first planted, qualifying it as Australia’s oldest (continuous) wine region. Vines were brought to Australia by new settlers including James Busby who collected cuttings from many of Europe’s finest vineyard regions on behalf of the new colony. They made their way to the Hunter with Semillon and Shiraz mostly planted. By 1840 there were around 500 acres planted and by the end of the century four families had established wine businesses being the Tyrrell, Tulloch, Wilkinson and Drayton’s as well as Dr Henry Lindeman. Broke Village was established in 1824 and vineyards in the area were planted soon afterwards. This wine region has some of the oldest vineyards in Australia and they are also pre-phylloxera as the Hunter has been blessed to not be wiped out by this insect as was the case in most of Europe and many wine regions in the world including some of Australia.
Today there are over 150 wineries in the Hunter and Margan is recognised as one of the leading wine producers.
The Hunter has several sub-regions and Broke Fordwich is one of them. It was designated, registered and protected as a GI (Geographic Indication) region in 1997, the second in Australia to do so. A GI is the Australian version of the European ‘appellation system’ which defines borders of wine regions and controls production and labelling rules. Unofficially, other sub-region’s in the Hunter include Mount View, Lovedale, Hermitage and Belford although these are not officially registered GI’s due to disagreements on the boundary lines.