M&J Becker Wines

A new cellar door for this innovative Hunter wine label

We first chatted with Meagan and James Becker about their eponymous wine label back in 2019, when the couple had not long relocated from California and opened their first cellar door in Pokolbin.

m&j becker wines hunter valley
Meagan and James Becker

Now, a pandemic and a certified organic vineyard later, M&J Becker Wines has become the newest tenant in Pokolbin Village, opening its brand new cellar door in March 2024.

It’s a chic, intimate space, bedecked with M&J Becker’s neon sign and signature timber slats (relocated from the original cellar door).

“We stripped it back, then incorporated our style of modern Australiana. Timber contrasted with concrete slabs – it’s a warm, inviting space,” Meagan said.

m&j becker wines hunter valley

With the move, Meagan and James have added a roster of simple yet sophisticated bar snacks to the menu. Think hefty cheese and charcuterie plates, paté courtesy of Harrison’s Food and Wine, and bread thanks to next door’s acclaimed EXP. Restaurant.

As a result, M&J Becker feels more like a wine bar than a typical cellar door, which was a deliberate decision by the duo.

“We wanted it to be more of a wine bar, a cool spot to come and hang out, and a way to set ourselves apart from 164 other people doing the same thing in the valley.”

m&j becker wines hunter valley

While the couple’s cellar door might have changed a lot since 2019, one thing that hasn’t changed is M&J Becker’s winemaking philosophy. 

“We really want to embrace seasonality, regionality. The microflora of the vineyard doing the fermentation really leads to a really sincere expression of the wine,” James said.

“There’s no additives, other than a small amount of preservative, and then everything is unfiltered. We’re trying to be as raw and natural as possible.”

m&j becker wines hunter valley

This approach certainly falls under the minimal intervention umbrella that’s been making waves in the wine world in recent years. For Meagan and James, the motivation for making low intervention wines is simple.

“Our experience is that we make the wine, so we taste it out of the barrel, and it’s literally grapes matured in a barrel. We pull a sample out and we’re like ‘Wow.’

m&j becker wines hunter valley

“When you go to adjust it and stabilise it and filter it, you look at that end product and feel like there’s something missing. There’s viscosity, mouthfeel, aromas, and flavours that are lost. One of the things when we started our own business was that we wanted to make sure we didn’t take anything away from the wine. It literally comes out of the barrel, goes into a tank, and gets bottled.”

m&j becker wines hunter valley

Meagan describes the resulting wines as “light, vibrant, balanced, and really easy drinking.” You’ll find typical Hunter varieties in M&J Becker’s lineup, but because they’re made with wild ferment, unfined, and unfiltered, they don’t taste like any chardonnay, shiraz, or Semillon you’ve ever tried.

Some of M&J Becker’s grapes are sourced from the Ablington vineyard, which Meagan and James took over management of two and a half years ago. Since then, they’ve transitioned the vineyard to become fully certified organic.

m&j becker wines hunter valley

“It’s been tough, organic farming, but I think we’re starting to turn the corner. We’re getting a better hang of it,” Meagan said.

m&j becker wines hunter valley

M&J Becker’s wines are some of the most unique drops coming out of the Hunter Valley. The brand is a top 50 finalist in this year’s Young Gun of Wine Awards, which celebrates the best emerging talent in Australian wine. A new cellar door and a nod from one of the country’s most notable wine awards? There’s no better time to visit M&J Becker Wines.