Bringing a unique wine making & tastings experience to the Hunter Valley
This January, M&J Becker wines at Pokolbin are pleased to be hosting an exciting exhibition by Award Wining artists Katerina Apale & Karen Bloomfield.
The exhibition, which runs from January 4-19 and held at the Cellar Door situated within the Roche Estate at 2144 Broke Road, Pokolbin.
Katerina Apale is an award winning Australian artist. Her talent is internationally recognised with her works hung in galleries in Australia, Austria, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
With 2 artworks in the collection of the Australian Embassy in Kabul, award winning Bloomfield is one of a select group of Australian artists chosen to represent Australian Art in International Embassies. Represented in several east coast galleries, Bloomfield has created a brand for herself through two distinctive mediums: Industrial oil paintings on canvas, and Australian Wildlife in charcoal & ink on plywood. Her recent melding of the styles has been termed ‘Reductionist Pop’.
Located within the iconic Roche Estate, Becker Wines feels right at home amongst its long-standing neighbours. The industrial style space has been softened by beautiful timber tables and lush leather lounges, providing visitors with a truly luxe wine tasting experience. Combined with their unique approach to winemaking, Becker Wines makes for a must stop on your next Hunter Valley visit.
Chatting with owners James and Meagan Becker, the ambitious couple launched their cellar door in April this year, managing to not only create a beautiful cellar door atmosphere but continue their winemaking passion which all started in the vineyards of California.
Your cellar door is absolutely beautiful James, how involved with the design were you?
We have had some help but Meagan and my cousin, who is an interior designer and was visiting from the UK at the time, designed the space. I’ll take credit for the neon light though, that was the only thing I really wanted [laughs]. It’s been a lot of work but we're really happy with how it’s all come together.
You’ve been living and making wine in California, what’s brought you to the Hunter Valley?
Meagan’s family are from the Hunter Valley so we decided to come back here to be closer to them. We’re still making wine in the US, in California, but we thought it was a good opportunity to bring to the Hunter Valley our unique approach to winemaking, and have the opportunity to show people what we do. So we took a leap of faith and signed a lease here at Roche Estate.
When you say unique approach to winemaking, how so?
We practice wild fermentation, we don’t use any cultured yeast or bacteria. Rather than adding a strain of yeast that’s been cultured in a lab from the other side of the world, we think it’s really important to use the indigenous species from this region or the region that we’re making the fruit in.
The idea is, that diversity of yeast, as well as the fact that they are indigenous to that region, gives our wines more of a local character.
The other thing is we don’t fine any of our wines, as in we don't add egg, milk, or fish products so all our wines are vegan-friendly, we’re trying to be as true to what the season, region and varietal are. Rather than trying to make something we want to kind of guide it.
How has the transition from California to the Hunter Valley been for you?
It’s been a lot of hard work, but I feel like we’re starting to get our head a bit above water now. In saying that it’s the same philosophy, just a different region with different varieties, but we're loving being here, the Hunter Valley is a great region and community to be in.
What styles of wine can we expect to taste at Becker Wines
We think our wine is a little bit different to a lot of the mainstream winemaking being offered in the Hunter Valley and we also offer some different varieties. Our focus in California is Pinot and Chardonnay whereas in the Hunter Valley our focus is predominately Shiraz and Chardonnay. We also do a few other varietals like Petillant Naturel, Prosecco, and Syrah.
What kind of wine tasting experience can we expect at Becker Wines?
With each of our tastings, we take you through each of our varieties and the tastings are complimentary with a wine purchase. We’ve set the cellar door up so we can accommodate different tasting experiences, from a casual standing at the bar tasting to a slightly more formal experience at one of the tables. We also have the lounges if you’re really wanting to get comfy, so there really is something for everyone.