Acclaimed winemaker PJ Charteris opens CHARTERIS Wine Room
In December 2021 the Hunter Valley welcomed the opening of a new cellar door by critically acclaimed winemaker PJ Charteris, who for the first time will be offering visitors the opportunity to experience his Trans-Tasman ventures from a single location right here in Pokolbin.
PJ’s connection to the Hunter Valley dates back more than twenty years. But it was in 2008 when PJ started his trans-tasman venture crafting wines from Central Otago in New Zealand, while heading up the winemaking team at Brokenwood, that was when the moment of clarity happened. He realised then he could have the best of both worlds. In 2011 it became his fulltime focus, whilst launching his wine consulting business based in the Hunter Valley and expanding the range of wines in Central Otago.
So what has enticed PJ and Chrissi to return their focus to the Hunter Valley and build their very own branded cellar door?
"It just made sense, we’ve been driving past some of the best vineyards in the world while making wine in another country, so we both decided it was time to shift our direction and make wine from some of those great sites.”
“I’ve had a lot of fun making wine for other people, and you get to know parts of the Valley that perhaps you might not see when you’re only looking after one stable. So, it gives you a really broad perspective of what the region can do in terms of quality, consistency, and style.”
The key varieties you’ll find on the Charteris Wine Room menu are PJ’s highly sought-after Pinot Noir and Riesling from Central Otago together with the very distinct Hunter wine styles of Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. PJ explains it is these varieties that have given the Hunter its definitive stamp which not a lot of regions can claim to have.
“The environmental influences are so strong here in the Hunter that the stylistic evolution of our wines has been driven through the vignerons reacting to the environment rather than forcing their hand upon it. The resulting wines have a distinction that is seriously compelling, these wines are made from the land, which has created a unique position of balance and harmony. When this equilibrium is complicated with too much winemaking hand, the balance is lost”.
Located within the gorgeous Peppers Creek Village, the building was part of the original winery at Peppers Creek, and now Charteris Wine Room continues the Hunter Valley winemaking legacy with the space previously home to winemaking legends David Hook and David Lowe.
“We feel like we’re following in the footsteps of royalty. David Hook was in here the other day and gave it the tip of the hat, and when we get through harvest we’ll sit down and properly celebrate.”
For guests, you can expect a merging of crisp, minimal interiors, stunning concrete polished floors which highlight the striking pitched roof of exposed hardwood beams and columns. The historic provincial-style sandstone building softens the edges as does the warm welcome you receive from the cellar door staff.
“We had some beautiful bones to work with, but what was really important to us was that the space reflected the personality of the brand. It’s quite clean and minimal but there is a warmth to it which makes visitors feel welcome.
“Whilst it’s been Chrissie’s vision, we have very strong connections in the community here and our friends have helped us refine the space to create something special. Like Joel from The Woodshed Hunter Valley who is a local timber craftsman, we gave him complete creative control to come up with the design for our tasting bar, which has now become a hero piece.”
When it comes to the wine tasting guests are invited to take a seat with a selection of three tasting experiences including – The Charteris Experience, The Trans-Tasman Experience and the Masterclass which will take you through a range of the Charteris super premium wine range together with a few special tastings from their museum wine range.
For those not familiar with Peppers Creek Village, you could easily soak up half a day here exploring the collective of specialty stores and cellar doors along with the very delicious Cafe Enzo, which makes for the perfect breakfast or lunch stop before you begin your Charteris Wine Room experience.
Photography credit: Anna Critchley.