Wine is more than just a passion or a tradition for some people, it is in their blood, and that is certainly the case with well-known Hunter businessman, Peter Drayton.
While he has maintained a share in the Ironbark Hill vineyard on Hermitage Rd for the past 14 years, the majority of his time and energy has been spent growing and managing his successful construction company, Drayton Constructions. With the company now well established and in the safe hands of his experienced, long standing management team, Peter has decided to devote much more of his time and energy to growing his wine interests, with the announcement of major changes at Ironbark Hill.
It was inevitable Peter would return to his roots in the Valley. A 5th generation descendant of the famous Hunter Valley wine producing family, Peter is the 4th son of Caroline and Hunter Valley icon and legend Max Drayton. In 1989, when Max and his other 3 sons acquired Drayton Family Wines from extended family members, Peter opted not to join his brothers in the family wine business. A qualified engineer, he had set himself a goal to establish and run a successful building and construction company in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region. The company is now widely known and respected and has successfully completed numerous major projects across the country for some of Australia’s largest companies.
Peter has taken a controlling interest in the Ironbark Hill vineyard, and building on the success and popularity of the company’s premium range of wines, will rebrand the operation as Peter Drayton Wines. Plans are also underway for major improvements at the vineyard, including modifications to the Cellar door and barrel storage facilities.
The Ironbark Hill property comprises 40 hectares, with over 16 hectares under vine. The vineyard produces the traditional varieties for which the Hunter is so famous, Shiraz, Semillon and Chardonnay. It also has extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Verdelho, and more recently an exciting new red grape variety called Tyrian.
The Ironbark Hill site is unique, in that it is able to produce seven varieties of wine from the single individual vineyard. As well as delicately crafted premium dry wines, Peter Drayton Wines will also produce sparkling wines and a selection of Liqueur Fortified wines. The extent of the range is truly unique for a small, boutique producer.
Although most of the vines were planted in the mid eighties, the vineyard has been developed further with additional plantings of Chardonnay and Tyrian. In the formative years Trevor Drayton (Peter’s brother) was instrumental in advising on the growth and development of the wine brand
. Trevor was the winemaker for Ironbark Hill , up until the time when he was tragically killed in an explosion at the Drayton family winery in 2008. Since Trevor’s death, the Ironbark Hill range of wines has been made under contract by First Creek Wines and since 2011, some of the Reserve wines have been made by Keith Tulloch.
In 2011, with the vines by then well established, a decision was made to focus on lifting the overall quality and standard of the wines produced at Ironbark Hill and this commitment to establishing the vineyard as a benchmark for quality Hunter wine has certainly paid dividends. At that time it was decided to release a range of wines under the “Peter Drayton Premium Release” label. The range included only wines of outstanding quality aimed at establishing the brand with success at local Wine Shows.
The quality of the wines has been quickly recognised by the judges and wine experts alike, with the 2011 Shiraz, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2012 Chardonnay all achieving outstanding results and accolades. A soon to be publicly released Medal winning 2013 Semillon is also a worthy inclusion for the Premium Range. It is a remarkable feat to have four of the Hunter’s signature varieties (Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Semillon), all as Medal/Trophy winning wines and all from the same Individual Vineyard.
The success of the brand is not limited to the Hunter Valley as Ironbark Hill and Peter Drayton Wines also enjoy a successful presence in the busy China market and are well represented in southern China with its own warehouse and distribution facility. The Chinese certainly appreciate quality and the unique characteristics of Hunter wines and Peter continues to develop a network of loyal customers throughout China.
For more information about Peter Drayton Wines click here.