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The Birth Of Hungerford Hill

by Johnnie Walker | June 15, 2015
The Birth Of Hungerford Hill

The Birth of Hungerford Hill, as Recounted by Johnnie Walker, the Famed Sydney Restaurateur

“The 1960’s was a boom time for the Australian economy, and Australians started to develop a taste for table wines. Lakes Folly was established in 1963 and was the first new vineyard in 40 years.

I was approached in the early sixties by John Parker, a Sydney chartered accountant, Greg Ross Jones, a successful Sydney solicitor, both now deceased and David Constable, a Sydney stockbroker.

The four of us had a meeting at Johnnie Walker’s Bistro in Angel Place. Apparently they had substantial income and cash flow from their cotton activities in north western NSW they wished to use for a vineyard development in the Hunter River region. They asked me who I thought would be capable of establishing the venture. …

I recommended …Norman Hanckel, who had just finished replanting for Wyndham Hill-Smith of Yalumba, their now renowned Riesling vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.

After the meeting at Johnnie Walker’s, John Parker flew up to the Pokolbin region to check out potential sites for the vineyard development, and saw a property for sale. This was owned by the Hungerford family, long-time residents of the Pokolbin area, and the property was called Hungerford Hill. Norman Henckle agreed that this would be a suitable site to establish a vineyard, and so the Hungerford Hill story began…

We introduced the label into our restaurants to acclaim and it always occupied a spot on our wine list from day one.”

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