Tea Gardens Winemakers make a ‘good drop’

WINEMAKER: Muriel Dalli.
WINEMAKER: Muriel Dalli.

When you think about Australia’s winemaking regions, the Hunter, Barossa, even Mudgee may come to mind.

But think again. There are winemakers living in Tea Gardens where no grapes grow.

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Joe and Muriel Dalli are the creators of Hillview Estate.

Their wine label says it all: ‘To be served with food and to be enjoyed by family and friends.’

The Dalli’s passion for winemaking was born when they moved from suburban Sydney in 2004 and bought 55 hectares of land at The Branch on the outskirts of Karuah.

“We had fruit trees and grapevines,” Muriel told News Of The Area.

“I preserved fruit and made some plum wine and I put it into the Stroud Show and won first prize.”

“I actually got most of my information off the Internet and books, I didn’t go and do a winemaking course,” Muriel said.

By not even a move from The Branch to Tea Gardens a few years ago could stop this innovative couple.

“We now buy our grapes from the Sydney markets,” Joe said.

“They come in 20 kilo boxes.”

Joe and Muriel built a cellar in their garage to store the 150 litres of red and white they make each year.

“The locals reckon we make a pretty good drop.”

The Dalis also grow vegetables. Muriel bakes and preserves, while Joe paints landscapes and plays the saxophone in a local band.

‘‘We have a wonderful blended family – we have six children between us.”

The word retirement doesn’t belong in their vocabulary.

“I don’t know how we managed to fit in work.”

By Margie TIERNEY

WINE CELLAR: Joe and Muriel Dalli.
WINE CELLAR: Joe and Muriel Dalli.

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