Dirt Candy Pop Up Cellar Door

Limited Time Tastings at This Unique Country Property

What I love about the Hunter Valley is there is so much to explore, you can always find something you haven’t seen before each time you visit. And the guys at Dirt Candy Wine have something new for you to explore too.

For a limited time, currently only through to the end of Easter, Dirt Candy Wine has set up a pop up cellar door. It’s rare to get a tasting of these wines unless you hunt them down at a market or a special event, so get yourself to this unique location in the Hunter Valley and grab a tasting of Dirt Candy Wine whilst you can.

If you haven’t come across Dirt Candy Wine before, let me give you a little snapshot. Winemaker Daniel Payne decided to experiment making some of his own wines for his wife and friends to drink on the weekends, and then given the stellar reviews received, he decided to keep the ball rolling. He went on to produce more wines selling them online and via markets. The great quality, quirky bottle artwork (designed by Daniel’s wife, Jenni) and this husband and wife team’s down to earth and friendly manner, set them up for success. They quickly developed a strong local following which was only cemented when Daniel took out the Young Gun of Wine award for Creative Wine Making in 2019.

dirt candy wine pop up cellar door hunter valley

There has always been a cry from their followers to have a cellar door, and with a lack of markets over the last 12 months this seemed like the perfect time to give the people what they want! So they were on the hunt for a place that was as unique as them and reflected their down to earth spirit.

And they found it! Hidden down a dirt track off Wine Country Drive at the accommodation venue Wine Country Retreat Hunter Valley.

We drove up the track and were greeted by the rescue animals at Wine Country Retreat. They literally ran along the fence line following us in the car. There were miniature horses, chickens, pigs and goats and they were all more than happy to come over for a pat.

Peeling ourselves away from the animals, we headed into the wooden cabin where the Dirt Candy pop up cellar door shares its temporary home with the Wine Country Retreat reception and bar.

The inside had a warm, homely country feel with timber lined walls and eclectic country décor. There were multiple options for seating for a wine tasting - enjoy a tasting inside on a wet rainy day - on a lounge, at a table or by the combustion fire.

But we were lucky enough to get a break in the rain, so we headed out to the balcony.

The balcony had great views overlooking the accommodation pool area and surrounding vast lawns. And with the two rescue miniature horses roaming around (who loved a pat), it is the perfect space for families with kids who can explore happily whilst you (also happily) enjoy a chilled out wine tasting.

Dan Briant was our lead for the tasting on the day. He had a cool relaxed approach and was very knowledgeable about the wines and Dirt Candy. We especially loved hearing about their Pét-Nat which is one of the oldest methods of making sparkling wine (pétillant naturel) and definitely becoming a trendy way to make wine, especially as it leans towards the more natural options of wine.

Dirt Candy currently has two Pét-Nats available for tasting, we tried the Pink Panther. Dan explained not to be put off by the sediment it just goes with the method of making it. It was such a different wine with a cloudy appearance and one I wanted to keep sipping on to try more of its unique flavour. There were hints of berries with a crisp taste.

Dirt Candy Wines Pét-Nat - The Pink Panther
Dirt Candy Wines Pét-Nat - The Pink Panther

Next up was The Fizz, a sparkling semillon. This wine was made from a single source vineyard in Pokolbin and was dryer in style but with a crisp apple taste that made it quite easy to drink. Why do I always have to drive to these tastings? I could’ve easily kicked my feet up and finished (I mean shared…) a bottle of this.

Dirt Candy Wine - The Fizz
Dirt Candy Wine - The Fizz

We also tried The Favourite, another fresh wine with some pear and citrus notes made from the vermentino white grape varietal. I quite enjoyed this one too, not overly dry but definitely not sweet.

Dirt Candy Wine - The Favourite
Dirt Candy Wine - The Favourite

If you’re a red drinker, Dirt Candy have you covered there too. The beauty of a tasting with this brand is they have a breadth of wines which means you get to taste a red, white, sparkling, rosé or one of the Pét-Nat varieties.

You can also enjoy a cheese platter whilst you are there and buy a bottle if you want to linger longer. Cheese platters are $35 for two to four people and can be booked in advance via phone or the online booking system. See booking details below.

Dirt Candy Wine - The Gamechanger Rose
Dirt Candy Wine - The Gamechanger Rose

I can really recommend a visit to this little pop up cellar door. The wines are fantastic, the location is unique and the venue is relaxed, embracing that country vibe. The whole thing just works for this brand...and for the people visiting. It’s a win win!

Tastings are $10 per person, which are redeemable on your Dirt Candy pop up cellar door purchases. Bookings are recommended so check out this limited time cellar door before you miss out.